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  • Cosway used his signature method of sticking closely to the tone of the ivory support in this portrait of the Countess of Hopetoun (1750–93). He limited his palette to blue, gray, white, and black, with pink highlights on the cheeks and lips, and the colors were made as transparent as possible before application. They seem to float on the ivory background, which is visible in sections of the countess's gown that are untouched by watercolor or gouache. Although the face is rendered with delicate strokes of paint, Cosway freely applied his signature blue in the background. Both the Countess and the Earl of Hopetoun (1741–1816) were acquainted with the Cosways at least three years before these portrait miniatures were painted. In 1786 their daughter Eliza recorded having seen an “excessively handsome” miniature of the Prince of Wales at the Cosways’ home and studio (“Troubled Life”, 2000, p. 7). What prompted the Hopes to sit for Cosway in 1789, particularly in the somewhat unusual format of a pair of pendant miniature portraits, is not known. By this date Eliza had died, after a long and painful illness, and it is likely that the black ribbon pinned to the countess's gown is a memorial to her daughter. In letters to her husband during Eliza’s last days, the countess lamented “those repeated bleedings” that had been advised by the doctors, imploring “May the Almighty forgive me for allowing her to be reduced in that manner” (“Troubled Life”, 2000, p. 8). Cosway executed one of his pencil and watercolor portraits of the countess with two of her other daughters (ca. 1790; National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh). One of the girls gestures to an angel in the sky, no doubt meant to represent either Eliza or her sister Jamima, who had died at age three.
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  • Cosway used his signature method of sticking closely to the tone of the ivory support in this portrait of the Countess of Hopetoun (1750–93). He limited his palette to blue, gray, white, and black, with pink highlights on the cheeks and lips, and the colors were made as transparent as possible before application. They seem to float on the ivory background, which is visible in sections of the countess's gown that are untouched by watercolor or gouache. Although the face is rendered with delicate strokes of paint, Cosway freely applied his signature blue in the background. Both the Countess and the Earl of Hopetoun (1741–1816) were acquainted with the Cosways at least three years before these portrait miniatures were painted. In 1786 their daughter Eliza recorded having seen an “excessively handsome” miniature of the Prince of Wales at the Cosways’ home and studio (“Troubled Life”, 2000, p. 7). What prompted the Hopes to sit for Cosway in 1789, particularly in the somewhat unusual format of a pair of pendant miniature portraits, is not known. By this date Eliza had died, after a long and painful illness, and it is likely that the black ribbon pinned to the countess's gown is a memorial to her daughter. In letters to her husband during Eliza’s last days, the countess lamented “those repeated bleedings” that had been advised by the doctors, imploring “May the Almighty forgive me for allowing her to be reduced in that manner” (“Troubled Life”, 2000, p. 8). Cosway executed one of his pencil and watercolor portraits of the countess with two of her other daughters (ca. 1790; National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh). One of the girls gestures to an angel in the sky, no doubt meant to represent either Eliza or her sister Jamima, who had died at age three.
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  • Alternate title :: Elizabeth, Countess of Hopetoun (1750-1793)
  • Bibliograpic reference ::
  • Dimension depth :: .6cm
  • Dimension height :: 7.6cm
  • Dimension height :: 9.2cm
  • Dimension width :: 6.0cm
  • Dimension width :: 6.7cm
  • Exhibition :: An American's Passion for British Art - Paul Mellon's Legacy
  • Exhibition :: English Portrait Drawings & Miniatures
  • Exhibition :: Paul Mellon's Legacy : A Passion for British Art
  • Exhibition :: Richard and Maria Cosway - Regency Artists of Taste and Fashion
  • Exhibition :: The Line of Beauty : British Drawings and Watercolors of the Eighteenth Century
  • Located in :: Not on view
  • Located in :: YCBA, 317, Octavo, C1, Sh-7
  • Located in :: Yale Center for British Art
  • Object type :: miniature
  • Object type :: watercolor
  • Subject Concept :: female
  • Subject Concept :: portrait
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  • ...
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  • Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
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  • Elizabeth, Countess of Hopetown
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