Lady Catherine Bligh, Lady Charles Stewart (1774-1812) as Saint Cecilia and her Son, Frederick William Robert Stewart, later 4th Marquess of Londonderry (1805-1872)
Sir Thomas Lawrence, PRA (Bristol 1769 – London 1830)
Art / Oil paintings
1805 - 1812
Oil on canvas
2337 x 1473 mm (92 x 58 in)
Place of origin
EnglandOrder this image
Mount Stewart, County Down (Accredited Museum)
On show at
Lady Catherine Bligh (1774-1812) – the youngest daughter of the 3rd Earl of Darnley - was the first wife of Lord Charles Stewart (1774-1812) whom she married in 1804. Their son, Frederick William Robert Stewart (1805-1872) succeeded as 4th Marquess of Londonderry in 1854. He is seen here as an infant putto, or amoretto, with a helmet, perhaps alluding to the mythological God Mars who was conquered by love. Catherine is portrayed alongside an organ, apparently as Saint Cecilia, the patron saint of music. However, it seems likely there is a conflation of references. Erato, the muse of lyric and love poetry, and Euterpe, the muse of music, are subtly being hinted at.
Oil painting on canvas, Lady Catherine Bligh, Lady Charles Stewart (1774-1812) as Saint Cecilia and her Son, Frederick William Robert Stewart, later Viscount Castlereagh and 4th Marquess of Londonderry (1805-1872) by Sir Thomas Lawrence, PRA (Bristol 1769 – London 1830), circa 1807. Identifying inscription, lower left. A full-length portrait of the first wife of Sir Charles Stewart, later 3rd Marquess of Londonderry, with her son, the Hon. Frederick Stewart. She is sitting on the edge of a parapet in a white dress, leaning towards a musical organ on the left with a naked boy sitting behind her on the right leaning on a helmet, to his left.
The Coutts list records a portrait for 'Lady Catherine Bligh (now Lady Stewart)' at a price of £147; by family descent; accepted in lieu of inheritance tax by HM Government and allocated to the National Trust for Mount Stewart, 2015.
Makers and roles
Sir Thomas Lawrence, PRA (Bristol 1769 – London 1830), artist of original
Garlick 1989 Kenneth Garlick, Sir Thomas Lawrence. A complete catalogue of the oil paintings, Oxford, 1989, 743 Armstrong 1913 Sir Walter Armstrong, Lawrence, London, 1913, p. 164