Lady Theresa Blount

JOSEPH HIGHMORE (1692-1780)

Dimensions

Height - 30.00inch (76.20cm)
Width - 25.00inch (63.50cm)
Framed Height - 37.00inch (93.98cm)
Framed Width - 32.25inch (81.91cm)

Description

Lady Theresa Blount
JOSEPH HIGHMORE

Period

1725

Literature

7866P

PORTRAIT OF LADY THERESA BLOUNT
WEARING A WHITE DRESS EDGE IN GOLD BRAID AND BLUE SHAWL

ATTRIBUTED TO JOSEPH HIGHMORE

1692 - 1780
Oil on canvas 30 x 25 inches
Framed size 37 x 32 ¼ inches

Highmore was born in London on 13 June 1692, son of Edward Highmore (a wood monger and retailer of firewood and coal) and Maria, daughter of Samuel Tull. Joseph was educated at Merchant Taylors’ School. He studied to become a lawyer but gave that up for painting and subscribed to St. Martins Lane Academy at it’s opening in 1720, paying the fee of 2 guineas. Highmore observed the landscape painter Nicholas or Hendrick Van der Straeten at work.
He went on to set up a highly successful portrait practice in 1715 and continued to study for 10 years in Kneller’s Academy and took over as Britain’s chief portrait painter along with William Hogarth. He lived for most of his career at Lincoln’s Inn Field (four doors from Jonathan Richardson and close to Sir Godfrey Kneller. He married Susanna Hiller from Surrey at Little Brookham Parish Church on 28 May 1716 and they had 2 children, a son and daughter.
His painting brought him great wealth, which he used for many philanthropic causes including the Foundling Hospital. He painted many of the most important nobility of Britain and produced a series of illustrations for his friend Samuel Richardson’s Pamela. Highmore exhibited his work, 3 at the Society of Artists, 2 at the Free Society of Artists 1760 –1. His wife died 18 November 1750. In 1761 he moved to Canterbury where he lived in Green Court with his daughter and son in law John Duncomb. While here, he proof-read and published The Practice of Perspective.
Highmore died in Canterbury on 3 March 1780 age 87 and was buried in Sheep’s wool (to comply with a 17th Century statue to encourage the wool trade) in the fifth bay of the south aisle of Canterbury Cathedral. George Vertue listed Highmore among nine portrait painters who were ‘to be distinguished in the first class – of those who make the best figure’. Simon writes ‘…. He helped to reveal a new vocabulary for British portraiture, and was capable of painting with the greatest refinement’.

Represented in many Museums throughout the world including the National Portrait Gallery; Tate; Yale; Stationers’ Hall London; Wolverhampton Art Gallery; Fitzwilliam; Manchester City Art Gallery; National Gallery Victoria, Melbourne; Leeds City Art Gallery; Walker Art Gallery Liverpool; Henry Huntington Library & Art Gallery California; Detroit Institute of Art; National Archives of Canada; Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; National Gallery Washington; Coram Foundation London.

Bibl: Portrait Painters in Britain – Brian Stewart & Mervyn Cutten


Theresa Blount

Theresa Blount was a celebrated English beauty and a friend and muse of many English literary figures, including Alexander Pope.
Blount was born on 1688 probably at the family seat, Mapledurham House at Mapledurham in Oxfordshire. She was educated first at Hammersmith in Middlesex, probably at the Roman Catholic convent there, and afterwards in the Rue Boulanger in Paris. Her father was Lister Blount and her family had long been of the highest position among Roman Catholic gentry.
Her family and Alexander Pope (1688-1744) the 18th Century English poet were in close friendship by 1710, the year which year her father and her maternal grandfather died, both on the same day.
From 1710 to 1715 Blount continued to live at Mapledurham with her widowed mother, her brother, Michael, and her sister, Martha. During this period she and her sister were prominent figures in the fashionable world. In 1712 Pope sent them his 'Rape of the Lock' and his ‘Miscellany’ (Carruthers, p. 79); in 1713 the sisters were corresponding with James Moore Smythe, author of the comedy The Rival Modes, he as Alexis, Teresa as Zephalinda, and Martha as Parthenissa.
In 1715 he had two fans painted for the sisters. John Gay called them "two lovely sisters" (Gay to Pope, Welcome from Greece), Pope spoke of their "endless smiles" (Epistle to Jervas, line 61).
In 1716 Theresa quarrelled with Pope for reasons unknown and they never revived the friendship. However Pope remained friends with her sister Martha until his death where upon he left a considerable legacy to her.
Neither Theresa or Martha ever married which seems most curious because they were both considered two of the most eligible women of their day.
In their portraits, still at Mapledurham, where they appear arm in arm, they both look very charming.
In 1715, Michael Blount, Theresa’s brother married Mary Agnes, eldest daughter and coheiress of Sir Henry Joseph Tichborne, 4th Baronet, so Theresa with her mother and sister, thenceforth had a country residence at Petersham, costing £20 a year and a town house, at one time in Bolton Street, at another in Welbeck Street (Pope to Caryll, 6 May 1733).

In 1716 Charles Jervas painted the sisters.

   
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