Isaac and Ede Antique Prints
Spillsbury Reynolds Leslie

Jonathan Spilsbury after Sir Joshua Reynolds

Lady Mary Leslie

14 x 19.5 inches

A scarce, early impression of this very charming print that depicts the young Lady Mary kneeling, directed to the left and surrounded by lambs. She holds one lamb in her embrace whilst two others nestle at her feet giving the portrait a wonderfully evocative and romanticised rural feel. Lady Mary was born in 1753 thus making her thirteen years of age when this portrait was painted. She was the youngest daughter of John, the 8th Earl of Rothes. At the age of eighteen she married William Charles who, on the death of his father, became the Earl of Portmore, thereby uniting two illustrious aristocratic families.

There is a great deal of artistic iconography in this picture that suggests the innocence of youth. The presence of lambs, with reference to the Pascal Lamb, is a traditional way in which to indicate innocence, free from corruption. Lady Mary's pose, kneeling at the foot of a rustic altar in a devotional manner, also alludes to her unblemished youth. Such portraits were often commissioned by way of promoting the marital eligibility of one's daughters and in this case the charming Lady Mary succeeded in successfully catching the eye of the future Earl of Portmore. The original painting is now a part of the magnificent Iveagh Bequest and hangs at Kenwood House on Hampstead Heath, north London.


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