FINLAYSON, J[ohn] (c. 1730-c. 1776) after F[rancis] COTES (1726-1770)
Maria Lady Broughton
Published by Finlayson, Orange Street, Leicester Fields, May 29, 1772. Mezzotint. State ii/ii, with the engraved inscription, the artist' names and publication line re-engraved in closed thick & thin letters and the title in closed thick & thin letters, slightly strengthened to right. In excellent condition with the exception of some light soiling in the margins. Image size: 17 11/16 x 13 13/16 inches. Sheet size: 20 3/4 x15 1/4 inches. Plate mark: 19 3/4 x 14 inches.
A lovely impression of this charming portrait of Lady Broughton painted as the classical ideal.
In this captivating image by the accomplished engraver Finlayson, Lady Broughton is shown in antique dress. Her figure is draped in loose silky fabric which is adorned with a large ornamental pearl hanging from her right shoulder, and her long tresses are partly covered by a scarf. Antique dress was often used in eighteenth century portraits of women to convey a classical theme, which would remind the viewer of Renaissance paintings. Finlayson's image of Lady Broughton is a wonderful example of the classical tradition in English portraiture, the antique costume and pose of the sitter is used to remind the viewer of the concept of ideal beauty expounded though centuries of art. The inclusion of an antique theme immediately compares Lady Broughton with images of goddesses from classical art, here Lady Broughton is transformed into the classical ideal, she has become the image of Venus or the face of Persephone.
Chaloner Smith, British Mezzotinto Portraits 2,ii/ii; O'Donoghue, Catalogue of Engraved British Portraits... in the British Museum 1; Lennox-Boyd & Stogdon, state ii/ii.