‘The Misses Wyndham’ (1727) shows Catherine and Elizabeth, the daughters of Tory leader Sir William Wyndham (1687-1840), in their early to mid-teens. They are painted with a doll-like woodenness, perhaps an indication that the figures were completed from a wooden mannequin.
While Catherine died just seven years after this work was completed, her younger sister, Elizabeth, married George Grenville (1712-1770), who served as Prime Minister from 1763 to 1765. The couple had seven children, including George Nugent-Temple-Grenville, first Marquess of Buckingham, who inherited the estate of Stowe in Buckinghamshire (where this portrait once hung), and Prime Minister William Wyndham Grenville (1759-1834). Their granddaughter, Catherine Glynne (1812-1900), was the wife of Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone.
Charles Jervas, portrait painter, was born in Dublin. He moved to London in the mid 1690s, where he studied under Sir Godfrey Kneller. In 1698, he travelled to Paris to study in the Louvre and then on to Rome, where he copied antique statuary and paintings by the Italian Masters. He also purchased art on behalf of English collectors. Jervas returned to London in 1709 and established a successful career painting portraits. In 1723 he succeeded Kneller as Principal Painter to King George I and later to George II. Jervas had literary ambitions and published translations of ‘Novella di Belfagor’ by Machiavelli in 1719 and Cervantes’ ‘Don Quixote’ in 1742.
bl: MISS KATHERINE WYNDHAM / MISS ELIZABETH WYNDHAM. / 1727
Collection of the Duke of Buckingham and Chandos of Stowe House, Buckinghamshire, and by 1838 on display in 'The Wyndham Dressing Room' at Stowe; by whom sold through Christie's at Stowe, Buckingham, 'Contents of Stowe House' sale, on 13 September 1848 (Lot 188), as 'Katherine and Elizabeth Wyndham', for £12.12.0; from which sale purchased by 'Morant'; with Appleby Bros.; from whom purchased by the Ministry of Works in May 1951, as by Joseph Highmore
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