Isaac and Ede Antique Prints
Cosway Caroline Spencer

W. Whiston Barney after Richard Cosway.

To the Marquis and Marchioness of Blandford, This plate of their daughter, Lady Caroline Spencer, is with permission respectfully dedicated.

15½ x 20½ inches

The youngest sitter to grace our collection, Lady Caroline Spencer (1798-1824), is shown at just nine years of age adopting a classical yet mischievous pose. With an elaborate coiffeur that belies her years, she nestles upon a bed of cloud whilst performing the almost impossible task of playing a triangle. The portrait is, of course, full of iconography and symbolises the optimism of youth and the hope of happiness to come. The angel wings attached to Lady Caroline's back give her a divinity of status and suggest purity, goodness and protection. The inclusion of the triangle is less clear but alludes to either the protection and guidance given by the Holy Trinity or her future fertility: or perhaps both! Either way this is a most endearing portrait and it reminds us of the potency of the mezzotint as both a private means of recording one's family and projecting an image to the world.


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