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Print made by Edward Fisher, 1722–1785
after Sir Joshua Reynolds RA, 1723–1792

Elizabeth Keppel, Countess of Albermarle

Part Of:

Collective Title: Iconographie Anglaise par Reynolds et Autres

Mezzotint on medium, slightly textured, cream laid paper
Sheet: 23 7/8 × 15 1/16 inches (60.6 × 38.3 cm), Plate: 23 5/16 × 14 7/16 inches (59.2 × 36.7 cm)

Inscribed in graphite, lower center: "Elizabeth Keppel Countess of Albermarle"; inscribed in graphite, lower right: "P.g Vol.1"


Lettered, lower left: "Sold by E. Fifsher at the Golden head the South Side of Leicester Square. Price 15s"; lettered, lower center,"J Reynolds pinx."; lettered, lower right, "Cinge Tempora Foribus [...] | Elizabetha Keppel Comitis Albemarliae Filia | Regiis Nuptiis Adsuit 1761"; lettered, lower right: "E. Fisher sculp."

Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
Prints and Drawings
Subject Terms:
portrait | servant
Associated People:
Keppel, Lady Elizabeth, Marchioness of Tavistock (1739–1768), bridesmaid to Queen Charlotte
Hymen (god of marriage)
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Reynolds’s "sitter-book" records eight appointments with Lady Keppel. The woman who accompanies her had two independent morning sittings in December 1762 (both after Keppel had been painted). We do not know her name, in place of which Reynolds entered a single word—"negro"—in his notebook. This terse archival trace confirms that she, like Lady Keppel, was painted from life.

She is shown handing Keppel a garland of flowers with which to deck a statue of Hymen, the god of marriage. This detail alludes to Keppel’s recent role as a bridesmaid at the wedding of George III and Queen Charlotte. The dress worn by the servant may either be of glazed cotton, British silk, or possibly painted Chinese silk. If the woman was indeed Keppel’s servant, her dress may be a hand-me-down from her mistress, as was common in this period.

The portrait was paid for by Lady Keppel’s brother, the third Earl of Albemarle (1724–1772). Later the same year he commanded British forces at the Battle of Havana, which resulted in Spain’s surrender of Cuba. This key victory of the Seven Years’ War reshaped the balance of power in the Atlantic.

Gallery label for Figures of Empire: Slavery and Portraiture in Eighteenth-Century Atlantic Britain (Yale Center for British Art, 2014-10-02 - 2014-12-14)

Figures of Empire : Slavery and Portraiture in Eighteenth-Century Atlantic Britain, , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, 2014, pp. 25-26, 43, fig. 9, V 2556 (YCBA) Also available online: chrome-extension://efaidnbmnnnibpcajpcglclefindmkaj/https://britishart.yale.edu/sites/default/files/inline/Figures%20of%20Empire_book [YCBA]

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