Sir Thomas Lawrence (British, 17691830)
Oil on canvas; 94 x 57 1/2 in. (238.8 x 146.1 cm)
Bequest of Edward S. Harkness, 1940 (50.135.5)
The Irish actress Elizabeth Farren made her London debut in 1777 as Kate Hardcastle in Oliver Goldsmith's She Stoops to Conquer. She was at the height of her career when this canvas was shown at the Royal Academy in 1790. Seven years later, she married the twelfth earl of Derby. This beautiful portrait helped to secure for Lawrence the role of successor to the elderly Sir Joshua Reynolds (17231792).