George Romney (British, 17341802)
Oil on canvas; 50 x 40 in. (127 x 101.6 cm)
The Jules Bache Collection, 1949 (49.7.57)
This gracious and engaging society portrait was painted between November 27, 1776, and May 4, 1778, during which time Lady Derby sat twelve times for Romney. The young countess was unhappily married and would shortly leave her husband and children: her pose and expression suggest a tranquility of mind that she is unlikely to have possessed. Typically, as here, Romney omits attributes of rank. Most of his sitters are in white and few, if any, wear jewelry, which must have been his preference as well as theirs.