PORTRAIT OF JANE, COUNTESS OF HARRINGTON WITH HER SON’S,LORD PETERSHAM AND THE HON LINCOLN STANHOPE
BY JOHN WATSON NICHOL AFTER SIR JOSHUA REYNOLDS 1856 -1926
Oil on canvas 56 ½ x 44 inches Framed size 63 ¼ x 51 ¼ inches Indistinctly signed & label verso
The very good quality copy of this famous Reynolds subject dates.The original Reynolds painting took some 5 years to complete according to his account records.He painted Jane Stanhope and the family on a number of occasions. John Watson Nichol was born in 1856 and was the son of the artist Erskine Nichol.He became a portrait painter and exhibited his work, 31 paintings at the Royal Academy and 19 at the Royal Scottish Academy. He also exhibited at the Royal Institute of Oil Painters from 1876 to 1924 and was elected a member in 1888.In 1903 Nichol exhibited a portrait of ‘HIM the German Emperor’ commissioned by the United Service Club.Nichol died on 31 May 1926. Nicol went to a great deal of trouble to replicate this subject, even using the same type of canvas favoured by Reynolds. This work was almost certainly commissioned by a member of the sitter’s family. The artist has been very truthful as the painting is signed and noted as being after the Reynolds.However, at some stage this inscription was covered over at which presumably, to sell it as a Reynolds Studio replica which would have still commanded a very high price. Sometime after that it was handled by the great New York art dealers, Knoedler but then the provenance is sketchy.
In the recent cleaning, the full inscription was revealed in the bottom right hand corner. The original work now hangs in the Yale University Art Gallery USA.
Works Represented: Sheffield Museum
Bibl: Portrait Painters - Brian Stewart & Mervyn Cutten
PORTRAIT OF JANE, COUNTESS OF HARRINGTON WITH HER SONS, LORD PETERSHAM 1780-1851 AND THE HON LINCOLN STANHOPE 1781-1840
Jane Stanhope, Countess of Harrington (née Fleming); was born in 1755, and was a society hostess and heiress who served as a Lady of the Bedchamber to the British Queen Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz.
Jane Fleming was the eldest of five children of Sir John Fleming, 1st Baronet and his wife Jane (née Coleman), as well as the elder sister of the scandalous Seymour Dorothy Fleming. The death of her father in 1763 left her and her sisters co-heiresses to an enormous fortune of £100,000. At the age of 23, Jane Fleming became engaged to the two years older Charles Stanhope, Viscount Petersham, a war hero who had recently returned from North America to England. His father, the 2nd Earl of Harrington, was deeply indebted, however, and the legal negotiations between the two families led to the postponement of the marriage. By October 1778, rumours began circulating that the match would never actually take place. Lord Petersham became Earl of Harrington on his father's death the following April, and the marriage took place in at St. Marylebone in London on 23 May.
Lord and Lady Harrington had eleven children:
Charles Stanhope, 4th Earl of Harrington (8 April 1780 – 3 March 1851). Styled Viscount Petersham until 1829. He was an English peer and man of fashion. He was married to Maria Foote, daughter of Samuel Foote. Maj-Gen. Hon. Lincoln Edwin Robert Stanhope (26 November 1781 – 29 February 1840).He was invested as a Companion, Order of the Bath (C.B.). Anna Maria Stanhope, Duchess of Bedford (3 September 1783 – 3 July 1857). She was married to Francis Russell, 7th Duke of Bedford. Leicester FitzGerald Charles Stanhope, 5th Earl of Harrington (2 September 1784 – 7 September 1862). He married Elizabeth Green, daughter of William Green and Ann Rose Hall. His parents-in-law were residents of Jamaica. Rev. Hon. FitzRoy Henry Richard Stanhope (24 April 1787 – 11 April 1864). [Anglican] Dean of St Buryan, Cornwall and Anglican Rector of Catton and of Wressle in Yorkshire. He married Caroline Wyndham, illegitimate daughter of the Hon. Charles Wyndham. They were parents of Charles Wyndham Stanhope, 7th Earl of Harrington, his younger brother Percy Stanhope and of several other children. Maj. Hon. Sir Francis Charles Stanhope (29 September 1788 – 9 October 1862). He had three children by Hannah Wilson, daughter of James Wilson of Parsonstown Manor, County Meath. Rev. Hon. Henry William Stanhope (2 August 1790 – 21 June 1872). Anglican Rector of Gawsworth. Lady Caroline Anne Stanhope (20 November 1791 – 25 November 1853). She was married to Edward Ayshford Sanford. Lady Charlotte Augusta Stanhope (15 February 1793 – 15 February 1859). She was married to Augustus Frederick FitzGerald, 3rd Duke of Leinster. They were parents to Charles William FitzGerald, 4th Duke of Leinster and another three children. Hon. Augustus Henry Edward Stanhope (25 March 1794 – 8 December 1831). On 8 May 1813, he married Jane Baldwin in the Parish Church of St John, Hampstead, under the name "Edward Stanhope" and disguised as a groom or labourer. The marriage was annulled in 1822 by reason of undue publication of banns (26 Geo. 2 c.33).
The new Countess of Harrington was soon praised for generosity, as she immediately settled the debts her husband had inherited from her father-in-law and funded the re-purchase of Stable Yard House in St. James's. The money she brought into the marriage also enabled Lord Harrington to raise an infantry regiment, with which the couple departed for Jamaica in 1780. When they returned the next year, Lady Harrington became noted for her fashion sense and physical attractiveness; she and Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire, were singled out as "the best dressed ladies" at an all-night party held by the Duchess in September 1782.
Although she became a gambler like many of her class, Lady Harrington was "blessed with domestic happiness, a lovely progeny, and every endearment that can make life desirable." Surrounded by aristocracy of generally loose morals, she was considered an epitome of virtue, while her younger sister scandalised the society by reportedly cheating on her husband with 27 men. A somewhat talented painter, Lady Harrington helped establish John Glover's career as art instructor in the early 1790s, and may have taken lessons from him. She was well acquainted with Sir Joshua Reynolds, who painted two famous portraits of her, as well as portraits of her mother, sister and brother-in-law Sir Richard Worsley. In 1794, she became a lady of the Bedchamber to Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, wife of King George III. Much favoured by Queen Charlotte, Lady Harrington served as lady of the Bedchamber until the Queen's death in 1818.
Lord and Lady Harrington maintained their popularity into their old age. "Their sempiternal occupation of tea-drinking" was noted by one of their contemporaries, who found that "neither in Nankin, Pekin, nor Canton was the teapot more assiduously and constantly replenished" than in their home.
Lady Harrington predeceased her husband, dying at St. James's Palace on 3 February 1824 and was buried at Westminster Abbey on 12 February 1824.