About this artwork

This portrait shows Elizabeth Murray the Duchess of Lauderdale, at the zenith of her political and cultural influence. From a Scottish family which rose to prominence at the court of Charles I, Elizabeth received an intellectual education unusual for a woman. Following the death of her first husband, Sir Lionel Tollemache, Elizabeth married John Maitland the 2nd Earl of Lauderdale in 1672. Known for their extravagance and extensive patronage, this portrait, painted in the grand manner of the European Baroque, emphasises the duchess’s status. Gennari has depicted her sitting in a high backed chair with a parrot perched on her hand; both signifiers of wealth and social standing.

Benedetto Gennari

Benedetto Gennari