Maria Cosway [née Hadfield], Baroness Cosway was born in Florence to nobility of the Austrian empire. She studied painting under Violante Cerroti and Johann Zoffany in Florence, and Pompeo Batoni in Rome. She participated in Royal Academy exhibitions in London from 1781, concentrating on mythological scenes. In 1781, she married miniaturist Richard Cosway. While living in Paris (1801-03) she was employed to copy Old Master paintings in the Louvre, for publication as etchings in England. In August 1786 she was introduced to Thomas Jefferson (then the American Minister to France), with whom it is thought she had a romance. In 1809 she moved to Italy to start a convent school for girls at Lodi, in the Lombardy region, where she died in 1838.
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