About this artwork

This is one of Gainsborough's finest full-length portraits in the tradition of Van Dyck. The costume and accessories deliberately echo seventeenth century fashion and enhance the elegant beauty of the Honourable Mrs Graham (1757-1792). She was born the Honourable Mary Cathcart, daughter of 9th Baron Cathcart, who was Ambassador to Catherine the Great. She married the Perthshire landowner Thomas Graham in 1774, and they bought Lynedoch House near Methven, Perthshire in 1787. The portrait was highly acclaimed when exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1777. Thomas Graham, devastated by his wife's premature death in 1792, passed the painting to her sister. It was bequeathed to the National Gallery by one of their descendants on condition that it never leaves Scotland.

Thomas Gainsborough

Thomas Gainsborough