Mary Constance, ca. 1782-87
Oil on panel
12 x 9 1/2 in (30.5 x 24 cm)
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In 1782, William Beechey, who was then living in London, was invited to spend a month in Norwich. Upon his arrival he was inundated with commissions and decided to stay on. Over the next five years, he painted portraits of many local society figures. This small portrait undoubtedly dates from this time and shows Mary Constance, wife of a Norwich dignitary. She wears a gray dress and large plumed hat and stands before a landscape with a brooding sky. The small size of the picture, just twelve inches high, suggests that it may have been a sketch for a larger work, although its high degree of finish likely indicates a work of art in its own right.
The family of the sitter; with Leggat, London; with Dowdeswell & Dowdeswell, London; with Mortimer Brandt, New York; Christie's, New York, May 22, 1998, lot 129
Exhibited: The Lowe Art Museum, Coral Gables, Florida, Masterworks of the Nineteenth Century, April 26-June 3, 1979
See Artist Profile