Description The silver-pierced frame-like rim of this miniature, set with brilliants, likely post-dates the portrait, which is a copy of a miniature portrait depicting Mrs. Elizabeth Brinsley Sheridan, née Linley, ( 1754-1792) by the famed miniaturist Richard Cosway. Before marrying Richard Brinsley Sheridan (1751-1816), Elizabeth was a well-known singer, celebrated for her extraordinary beauty and singing “of indescribable sweetness.” Several English portraitists, including Thomas Gainsborough, Joshua Reynolds, and Richard Samuel, captured her beauty in paint and made her image identifiable across England. In 1772, Elizabeth fled to France, escaping the unwanted sexual attention of several older men and eloped with Sheridan, who eventually fought two duels to defend his and Elizabeth’s honor. When Elizabeth married, she retired from public singing and began a new career, writing and managing her husband’s theater company, Theater Royal of Drury Lane. The back of the miniature contains a piece of hair and a monogram in seed pearl, "H.S." or possibly "H.C.S.." The Holburne Museum in Bath, England has a similar miniature in their collection (see Catalogue of Miniatures in the Holburne Museum and Crafts Study Centre, Bath, p. 21).
Provenance William T. or, more likely, Henry Walters, Baltimore, before 1901 [mode of acquisition unknown]; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Inscriptions [Initials] On back: H.S. or possibly H.C.S.
Credit Acquired by William T. or, more likely, Henry Walters, before 1901
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