About this artwork

George Romney painted the portraits of Mary Carmichael Smyth, née Holyland (1760-1806), and her husband, James Carmichael Smyth (1742-1821) between November 1788 and March 1789. The couple married in 1775, the same year in which Smyth was appointed physician at Middlesex Hospital in London. Marriage laws in England had tightened: weddings had to take place in a church and with parental consent for those under the age of twenty-one. As Smyth was thirty-three years old and Mary fifteen, they eloped and were among the first rush of couples to be married at Gretna Green, just over the Scottish border, where couples could marry at a younger age and without church or state involvement. James and Mary had ten children. Their eldest son, Major-General Sir James Carmichael Smyth (1779-1838) was the abolitionist governor of the Bahamas and later of British Guiana.

Updated before 2020

  • artist:
    George RomneyEnglish (1734 - 1802)
  • title:
    Mrs James Carmichael Smyth, died 1806
  • date created:
    1788 - 1789
  • materials:
    Oil on canvas
  • measurements:
    74.00 x 61.00 cm (framed: 94.60 x 81.30 x 6.50 cm)
  • object type:
  • credit line:
    Bequest from the estate of Miss Sara Colville 2013
  • accession number:
    PG 3712
  • gallery:
  • depicted:
  • photographer:
    Antonia Reeve
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George Romney

George Romney