after George Romney, Maria Hawkins

Photo courtesy of Dave Penman (All rights reserved)


Country House
Maria Hawkins
after 1785
Medium and support
Oil on canvas
Overall height: 73 cm, Overall width: 62 cm
after George Romney (1734-1802)
Catalogue Number


Maria Hawkins (1762–1852) was the daughter of Thomas Hawkins of Trewithen, MP, and his wife Anne née Heywood, and sister to Sir Christopher Hawkins MP. She married on 1 July 1786 Colonel Charles Trelawny (? 1757–1820), a commissioned officer in the Coldstream Guards. According to their younger son, Trelawney had married Maria for her money, yet ‘found the lady’s fortune a great deal less, and the lady a great deal worse than he had anticipated, went to town irritated and disappointed with the consciousness of having merited his fate: sunk part of his fortune in idle parade to satisfy his wife, and his affairs being embarrassed by the lady’s extravagance, he was, at length, compelled to sell out of the army, and retire to economize in the country’.1 In 1798, Trelawny inherited Shotwick Park, Cheshire from his cousin, Owen Salusbury Brereton, and took on the additional surname Brereton. He sat in Parliament on two occasions in the ‘rotten’ borough of Mitchell, controlled by his brother-in-law, Sir Christopher Hawkins. Although their marriage was fractious, Charles Trelawny and Maria Hawkins had six children, including Edward John Trelawny, the adventurer and close friend of Shelley and Byron.

George Romney, along with Reynolds and Gainsborough, was among the leading British society portrait painters of the later eighteenth century. Romney painted the original portrait of Maria Hawkins, on which the present copy is based, in 1785, as revealed in the artist’s Receipt Book, where a payment of twenty guineas is recorded. As Alex Kidson has observed, the payment equates to Romney’s price for a standard three-quarter-length portrait, although the canvas, which is oval, is somewhat smaller (Kidson, 2015). It is presently untraced. This copy is a standard head-and-shoulders size, measuring 30 by 25 inches. Another untraced version catalogued by Kidson is the same size and possibly autograph.

by Martin Postle


Alex Kidson, George Romney: A Complete Catalogue of his Paintings, 3 vols., New Haven and London : Yale University Press, 2015, p. 293, no. 629b


  1. The History of Parliament: British Political, Social & Local History, (accessed 14 October 2017).


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