caption

attributed to Benjamin Wilson, Anne Hussey Delaval, Lady Stanhope

Photo courtesy of Dave Penman (All rights reserved)

Details

Country House
Doddington Hall
Title(s)
Anne Hussey Delaval, Lady Stanhope
Date
by 1767
Location
Long Gallery
Medium and support
Oil on canvas
Dimensions
Overall height: 201 cm, Overall width: 140 cm
Artist
attributed to Benjamin Wilson (1721-1788)
Catalogue Number
DN91
Inscription
  • Lettered bottom right 'ANNE HUSSEY DELAVAL'

Description

Anne Hussey Delaval, Lady Stanhope (1737–1812), was the daughter of Captain Francis Blake Delaval (d. 1752) and Rhoda Apreece (d. 1759). She married the Hon. William Stanhope (1702–1772), son of Philip Stanhope, third Earl of Chesterfield. The sitter is dressed in theatrical robes, reprising her role as Calista in Nicholas Rowe’s The Fair Penitent, a popular play in the Delavals’ amateur dramatics repertoire, and one they performed at a private theatre in James Street, Westminster, erected by the Duke of York and run by Sir Francis Delaval. On 23 April 1767 John, fourth Duke of Bedford noted a performance in his private journal:

‘I was in the evening at the play of the Fair Penitent, in which the Duke of York acted the part of Lothario; the other principal parts by Lady Stanhope and Lady Mexborough, Sir F. and Sir John Delaval, and Captain Wrottesley. The parts were well performed, and I was well pleased with the entertainment’.1

As Cole noted, a 1766 edition of the play, then at Ford Castle, contained a letter from David Garrick to Sir John Delaval in which he observed, ‘a fixed attention to the business of the scene, which Lady Stanhope has to the greatest perfection, is the sine quâ non of acting’.2

Despite the portrait having an air of an earlier generation portrait, it is attributed here to Benjamin Wilson, although it appears to have been heavily repainted. Wilson, who had been introduced to the Delaval family by his close friend Edward Delaval, was actively involved in their theatrical productions, acting as manager at their private theatre. In the late nineteenth century, as noted by Cole, the portrait was located in the Long Gallery, where it hangs today.

In addition to the portrait of Anne Hussey Delaval performing in The Fair Penitent with her brother John Hussey Delaval (DN52), Benjamin Wilson painted at least two portraits of Anne Hussey Delaval, Lady Stanhope in the role, which is known only through the engraving by James Basire published in 1772 (fig. 1).

Wilson was also responsible for the related head-and-shoulders portrait of Anne, in the role of Calista, now at Seaton Delaval, (fig. 2) and which has been attributed erroneously to her sister, Rhoda Delaval.

1772. Engraving, 53.1 x 37.4 cm. National Portrait Gallery, London (NPG D41862).

Figure 1.
James Basire after Benjamin Wilson, Anne Hussey Delaval, Lady Stanhope as Calista in Rowe's 'Fair Penitent', 1772. Engraving, 53.1 x 37.4 cm. National Portrait Gallery, London (NPG D41862).


Digital image courtesy of National Portrait Gallery, London. (All rights reserved)

c. 1660. Oil on canvas, 76 x 63.5 cm. National Trust, Seaon Delaval Hall (1276891).

Figure 2.
Benjamin Wilson, Anne Hussey Delaval, Lady Stanhope, c. 1660. Oil on canvas, 76 x 63.5 cm. National Trust, Seaon Delaval Hall (1276891).


Digital image courtesy of National Trust Images. (All rights reserved)

by Martin Postle

Bibliography

Footnotes

  1. J. Wright, Sir Henry Cavendish’s Debates of the House of Commons, vol. 1, London, 1841, p. 602.

    1
  2. Cole, 1897, p. 145

    2

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    Anne Hussey Delaval, Lady Stanhope

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