Maria Walpole (1725?-1801) illegitimate daugher of Sir Robert Walpole, prime minister and his mistress Maria Skerrett; the daughter later became the wife of Colonel Charles Churchill. She is wearing ermine, an indication of noble status that she did not have until her father obtained for her a patent of precedence as the daughter of an earl in 1742. This portrait may have been made to mark this event. Title, date, and artist assigned by curator. Framed in antique carved wood. Formerly (and purchased as) a portrait of the Duchess of Gloucester, Edward Walpole's daughter Maria (1735-1807), who married the 2nd Earl Waldegrave before marrying the Duke of Gloucester. Mis-identified as such in the print version of Neil Jaffares's Dictionary of Pastellists before 1800. In 2008, re-attributed in the online edition: http://www.pastellists.com/Articles/Hoare.pdf. Purchased 14 June 1977, Christie's lot 197.
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