Thos. Lawrence's Countess of Wilton Fetches £1,777,250

In light of the recent posts on this blog by Jo Manning and others regarding Sir Thomas Lawrence, we thought we’d let you know that Lawrence’s portrait of Mary, Countess of Wilton (1801-1858), above, recently sold for £1,777,250 at Christie’s in London.

Of special note is the fact that the Countess of Wilton was the daughter of Edward Stanley, 12th Earl of Derby, and his second wife, the celebrated Irish beauty and actress Elizabeth Farren (1759-1829), whom Lawrence painted early in his career and whose full length portrait won Lawrence name recognition and kudos when it was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1790. You can read my prior post about the Farren portrait and the Regency Power and Brilliance Exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in London here.

Elizabeth Farren, later Countess of Derby

Elizabeth (the daughter) married Thomas Egerton, 2nd Earl of Wilton, the second son of Robert Grosvenor, 1st Marquess of Westminster. The Countess of Wilton sat for her portrait in 1829, the year before Lawrence’s death. On the Countess’s death, we have the following:

“At Egerton-lodge. Melton Mowbray, the Countess of Wilton. The deceased lady had been for some time a little indisposed, but fatal results were not anticipated until shortly before her death. The late Countess was very highly esteemed at Melton, both in aristic circles and among the poor, to whom she was endeared by her active charity. The deceased lady was the youngest (and onlv survivor) of the three children of Edward, 12th Earl of Derby, by his second countess (Miss Eliza Farren, the celebrated actress). Her Ladyship was born on the 23rd of March, 1801, so that she was in the 58th year of her age. She was married to the Earl of Wilton on the 29th of November, 1821, and her ladyship leaves two sons and three daughters. The present Earl of Derby (the 14th Earl) stands in the relation of half-nephew to her ladyship, and (being born on the 29th of March, 1799) is two years older than his half-aunt.” —Manchester Guardian.

For full notes and provenance on the Countess’s portrait, visit the Christie’s site here.

4 thoughts on “Thos. Lawrence's Countess of Wilton Fetches £1,777,250”

  1. I hope it was someone who intends to keep it in the country. Heard today they have placed some sort of hold on the exportation of some of the china purchased at the Althorp sale? I happen to agree. These sorts of things should stay in England.

  2. So few Lawrence portraits go up for auction. I think that's part of the incredible price!!! (And I know someone who has another gorgeous one in his home! No wonder he has a state-of-the-art security system in place.)

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