Isaac and Ede Antique Prints
Green Reynolds Rutland

Valentine Green after Sir Joshua Reynolds

Mary Isabella, Duchess of Rutland

19 x 29 inches

A full-length mezzotint portrait by Green after Reynolds; published in London in 1780.

This beguiling mezzotint portrait of the great C18th beauty and socialite Mary Elizabeth Manners (1756-1831) when the Duchess of Rutland is all the more significant and important because the original painting by Reynolds was destroyed by fire at Belvoir Castle. As such it illustrates how important a record prints can become when studying past genealogy. Lady Mary Isabella was the youngest of five daughters born to the 4th Duke of Beaufort. In December 1775 she married Charles, Marquess of Granby who later became the Duke of Rutland. Their marriage is a perfect example of how aristocratic families in the C18th forged a union with one another thereby securing and augmenting both political control and dynastic fortune. It was customary at the time to publicise births, marriages and military victories by the commissioning of a portrait and subsequent print run; how else would friends, family and foe be able to marvel at your good fortune?

Wraxall, a contemporary writer, described Lady Mary as "The most beautiful woman in the kingdom, of high rank...her features were noble, yet delicate". Unfortunately, he doesn't leave it there and goes on to say how the amenities given to her by nature were not matched with either a smiling countenance or intelligence and how she is not nearly as appealing as her social adversary the Duchess of Devonshire!


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