Portrait of Lady Emilia Maria Margaret Fitzgerald (1751-1818)
Circle of Hugh Douglas Hamilton (1739-1808)
“Lady Emilia Maria Margaret Fitzgerald was the daughter of Lt.-Gen James Fitzgerald, 1stDuke of Leinster and Lady Emilia Mary Lennox.”
Pastel on paper, oval
11 ½ x 9 ½ inches, 29.2cm x 24.2 cm
London, Christies, 1stAugust 1885, lot.78;
Bought from above sale by ‘Vuillamy’ for £6.0 (one of a number of works);
Sir Bruce Ingram;
Thence by descent
Lady Emilia Maria Margaret Fitzgerald was the daughter of Lt.-Gen James Fitzgerald, 1stDuke of Leinster and Lady Emilia Mary Lennox.
Hugh Douglas Hamilton was trained at the Dublin Society's Schools between 1750 and 1756 by Robert West, and was frequently a winner of prizes. The earlier part of Hamilton's career was devoted to portraits drawn in pastel, which enabled him to build up a large clientele without competing with his more established, oil-painting contemporaries such as Nathaniel Hone. By the 1770s when the artist had moved to London his practice was described as 'extensive and fashionable'.
As with so many painters, it was not until he visited Italy in 1779 that he began to explore the true potential of his talent. Italy afforded him the opportunity to meet other artists as well as to make the acquaintance of cultivated patrons, such as the Earl Bishop of Derry. He remained in Italy until 1792, becoming the close friend of other artists such as Antonio Canova. When Hamilton returned to Dublin he had been away in Rome for nearly thirteen years, during which time he had portrayed the exiled Prince Charles Edward Stuart and his daughter the Duchess of Albany, and notable British and Irish Grand Tourists - including Lord Boyle and the Earl Spencer. He had also gained good experience of the effects and practice of oil painting, which he set about in Dublin on his return.
We know that Hamilton was familiar with the Fitzgerald family having painted Lady Fitzgerald’s numerous relatives and siblings formally in the collection of the Duke of Leinster.
W.G. Strickland, ‘Hugh Douglas Hamilton, Portrait Painter, The Walpole Society, 1912-1914, London.