Portrait of Lady Alicia Wedderburn, née Dundas (1754-1831), half-length
oil on canvas
3018 x 2518 in. (76.6 x 64 cm.)
The sitter, and by descent to,
Sir William Wedderburn, 4th Baronet (1838-1918), Meredith, Glouchester, by 1900, and by descent, from whom acquired by the following,
with Knoedler, London, and P. & D. Colnaghi and Obach, London, from June 1918 until October 1919, when acquired by the following,
with Scott & Fowles, New York.
Mahmoud Abul Sath.
[Private Collection, New York]; Parke-Bernet, New York, 24 October 1946, lot 34.
Mishriki; Parke-Bernet, New York, 3 November 1967, lot 72, where acquired by,
Private collection, Texas, and by whom sold,
[Property from a Distinguished Texas Estate]; Christie's, New York, 1 May 2019, lot 283, where acquired by the present owner.
G. Paston, George Romney, London, 1903, p. 199, as dating to 1771.
T. H. Ward and W. Roberts, Romney a Biographical and Critical Essay with a Catalogue Raisonné of his works, II, New York, 1904, P. 168.
M. Morgan, 'Katherine Read: A Woman Painter in Romney's London', Transactions of the Romney Society, IV, 1999, p. 15.
A. Kidson, George Romney: A Complete Catalogue of His Paintings, II, New Haven and London, 2015, p. 622, no. 1391, illustrated.
Edinburg, Scottish National Gallery, Loan Exhibition of Old Masters and Scottish National Portraits, 1886, no. 1387.
London, Grafton Galleries, Romney, Spring 1900, no. 36.
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Lot Essay

Alicia, Lady Wedderburn, was the second daughter of James Dundas of Dundas (1721-1780) and his wife, Jean Maria (after 1720-1774). In December 1780, she married John Wedderburn of Balindean (1729-1803), who styled himself as Sir John Wedderburn, 6th Baronet, although his father, personal guard to Bonnie Prince Charlie, had been stripped of the baronetcy. Just a month after her marriage, Lady Wedderburn sat for George Romney six times between 31 January and 22 February 1781. By this time, his portraits were ‘in great vogue’, according to Horace Walpole, and he had become the third most important portrait painter in London after Reynolds and Gainsborough (H. Gatty, 'Notes by Horace Walpole', Walpole Society, XXVII, 1938-1939, pp. 76-77). His canvases from this period display a marked sensitivity to the surface qualities of skin, hair and fabric and an interest in capturing youth and beauty in paint.

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