Mrs. William Man Godschall (Sarah Godschall, 1730–1795)
John Russell (British, Guildford 1745–1806 Hull)
Pastel on paper, laid down on canvas
23 3/4 x 17 3/4 in. (60.3 x 45.1 cm)
Pastels & Oil Sketches on Paper
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Wiesenberger, 1961
Not on view
Russell was England's leading pastellist in the later eighteenth century. He studied under Francois Cotes and from 1769 to 1806 exhibited annually at the Royal Academy, of which he was a member. This portrait and a companion piece showing the sitter's husband were executed to celebrate the couple's fortieth anniversary.
Sarah Man Godschall offers a rather more imposing presence than her husband (61.182.1). She is recorded on the family memorial in the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul in Albury as the heiress of both Nicholas Godschall, Esquire, her father, and Sir Robert Godschall, Knight, her uncle. A woman of property, she is depicted here on the her fortieth wedding anniversary in an elaborate white cap and fichu, with a large posy of flowers pinned to her gown. Sarah Man Godschall takes up a larger proportion of the picture surface than her husband, perhaps an indication of her important social standing. Both paintings were hung in the dining room of the family home, Weston House.
Russell often depicts his sitters against this type of blended blue background. Unusually, he has left visible here the many different-colored chalks (blue, beige, black, and brown) with which he has described Sarah Man Godschall's hair. Russell must have known the Man Godschalls for almost a quarter of a century prior to the commission of these pastel portraits. An entry in his diary for March 28, 1768 records an appointment "to see paintings at Mr. Mann Godschall's."
[Francesca Whitlum-Cooper 2010]
Mr. and Mrs. William Man Godschall, Weston House, Albury, near Guildford, Surrey (1791–her d. 1795); William Man Godschall, Weston House (1795–d. 1802); Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Man Godschall, Weston House (1802–his d. 1821); Mrs. Samuel Man Godschall, Weston House (1821–d. 1823; bequeathed to Palmerston); Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston, Broadlands, Romsey, Hampshire (1823–d. 1865); his stepson, William Francis Cowper, later Baron Mount Temple, Broadlands (1865–d. 1888); his nephew, Hon. Evelyn Melbourne Ashley, Broadlands (1888–d. 1908); his son, Wilfrid William Ashley, later Baron Mount Temple, Broadlands (1908–d. 1939; cat., 1939); his daughter, Edwina, Countess Mountbatten of Burma, Broadlands (1939–d. 1960; sale, Christie's, London, March 15, 1960, no. 83 [this portrait and its pendant], withdrawn and sold privately for $600 to Wiesenberger); Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Wiesenberger, New York (1960–61)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Pastel Portraits: Images of 18th-Century Europe," May 17–August 14, 2011, no. 42.
George C. Williamson. John Russell, R.A. London, 1894, pp. 15, 135, ill. p. 51, dates the pastels 1791, noting that they belong to the Honourable Evelyn Ashley of Broadlands, Romsey, and that the sitters were aunt and uncle to the late Lord Palmerston; lists another portrait believed to represent W. Mann [sic] Godschall in a purple velvet coat and embroidered waistcoat, in the collection of W. G. Cole of North Street, Guildford.
Katharine Baetjer. British Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1575–1875. New York, 2009, pp. 146–48, no. 67, ill. (color).
Katharine Baetjer and Marjorie Shelley. "Pastel Portraits: Images of 18th-Century Europe." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 68 (Spring 2011), pp. 16, 52, no. 42, ill. (color).
A large paper label, perhaps contemporary and inscribed in black ink, was removed from the backing and is in the archives: SARAH MAN GODSCHALL / Æt. Suæ 61 / and 40th; of her Marrriage [sic] / with WILLIAM her present Husband / drawn by J Russell / Anno 1791