Thomas Watson after Sir Joshua Reynolds.
Elizabeth Lamb, Viscountess Melbourne with her son, Peniston.
15 x 24½ inches
Look at this image of maternal devotion and we see a young woman besotted with her infant son. Elizabeth, Viscountess Melbourne plays with her first-born son Peniston and looks confidently towards us with a self-assurance that will take her to the very top of Georgian society and political influence. Through ambition, tenacity and birth she was relentless in her objectives and would soon include Georgiana, the Duchess of Devonshire and George, the Prince of Wales amongst her close acquaintance. Such was her social standing that Melbourne House in Piccadilly became pivotal to London society. Her infidelity in marriage meant that Peniston was the only one of her surviving six children whose paternity within wedlock could be guaranteed. Her 4th son George was, by all accounts, the result of a fling with the Prince Regent but with her husband appointed Gentleman of the Bedchamber and the Prince of Wales made godfather society continued to turn a blind eye.£1450