Maria Verelst, Elizabeth, Viscountess Townshend (1681–1711)

Photo courtesy of Tom St Aubyn (All rights reserved)


Country House
Raynham Hall
Elizabeth, Viscountess Townshend (1681–1711)
The Belisarius Room
Medium and support
Oil on canvas
Overall height: 125 cm, Overall width: 100 cm
Maria Verelst (1680-1744)
Catalogue Number


Elizabeth Pelham was the first wife of Charles, 2nd Viscount Townshend (1675–1738). She was the daughter of Thomas Pelham, 1st Baron Pelham of Laughton by Elizabeth, his first wife, daughter and heir of Sir William Jones. Her half-brother, by her father’s second wife, was Thomas Pelham-Holles, who in 1715 was created 1st Duke of Newcastle and became a close political associate of her husband, serving in the Whig cabinet of the 1720s. She married Charles Townshend on 3 July 1698 and bore him nine children, of whom four survived to adulthood, a daughter and three sons. Theirs was a close and affectionate marriage and they were rarely separated. She died in May 1711 soon after giving birth to a baby daughter, Mary, who also died.

 Maria Verelst, the artist responsible for the present portrait, used a similar pose and composition, including details of the hair and folds of the dress, in her portrait of an unidentified lady (traditionally identified as Mary Chetham) at Turton Tower, Blackburn Museum & Art Gallery (2009.133.1).

by Amy Lim


Prince Frederick Duleep Singh, Portraits in Norfolk Houses, ed. Rev. Edmund Farrer, vol. 2, Norwich : Jarrold and Sons, 1928, vol. 2, p. 228, no. 22 (‘ELIZABETH, VISCOUNTESS TOWNSHEND’)

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