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Title Lady Elizabeth Russell, Second Wife of William, Third Earl of Essex
Collection Watford Museum
Artist Attributed to Soldi, Andrea (Italian painter, ca. 1703-1771, active in Great Britain)
Previously attributed to Kneller, Godfrey (English painter, 1646-1723)
Date Earliest about 1730
Date Latest about 1740
Description Lady Elizabeth Russell is presented against a dark, neutral background in this three-quarter-length portrait. Her wealth is displayed through the rich variety of fabrics in her dress. The artist used colour effectively to draw the eye across the picture and to unify and enliven the portrait, in particular with the blue and white of the sitter's clothing. The blue of the velvet mantle both envelopes and frames the sitter, and the same colour is used for the bows which decorate her dress.
Current Accession Number WATMC:2004.569
Subject portrait (Lady Elizabeth Russell)
Measurements 75.2 x 62.5 cm cm (estimate)
Material oil on canvas
Acquisition Details Bequeathed by Nona Isobel, Countess of Essex, 1997.
Provenance By descent through the Earls of Essex; Essex sale, Knight, Frank and Rutley, 1922, lot 713, as by Godfrey Kneller, bought by Russel, 120 guineas; by descent to the Countess of Essex.
Publications Harwood, L. B., Portraits of the Earls of Essex, their Wives and Children in the Watford Museum, Watford, 2001, cat. no. 11, pp. 39-42.

Inscriptions on reverse: 'Countess of Essex 2nd wife to W.yl earl Essex, daughter to W.yl Duke of Bedford';
'mother to the Perfect Earl in 17[...]1'.

For eighteenth-century costume, see: Boucher, F., A History of Costume in the West, trans. J. Ross, London, 2004, pp. 251, 291-314, ill. nos. 709-10.

Rights Owner Watford Museum
Author Bryony Bartlett-Rawlings



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