Henry Loftus, 1st Earl of Ely (1709-1783) and his wife Frances Monroe, Countess of Ely (d.1821)
Sir Joshua Reynolds PRA (Plympton 1723 - London 1792)
The Earl of Ely, created as such in 1771, is here shown with his second wife, Anne, whom he married in 1775. This is the date inscribed on the picture, and the occasion of the Earl’s marriage would have been a suitable occasion for a commission such as this. Sadly Reynolds’s sitters’ book for 1775 has not been preserved. The sitters are both shown wearing court dress. Later the Countess was to become Lady of the Bedchamber to the Princesses. A portrait by Angelica Kauffman of the Earl with his first wife, Frances Munroe, dated 1771, is in the National Gallery of Ireland.
Oil painting on canvas, The Earl and Countess of Ely, Sir Joshua Reynolds PRA (Plympton 1723 - London 1792), inscribed - Henry Earl of Ely Anne Countess of Ely circa 1775. A full-length portrait, walking to the right before a pair of columns surmounting a plinth decorated with a relief; he wears a grey coat and waistcoat embroidered with silver braid, white stock and hose; his wife, who holds his right arm, is wearing a pink dress with white scarf and lace frills, her hair piled high and adorned with red, white and blue ostrich feathers.
By family descent to John Henry Loftus, 5th Marquess of Ely (1851 - 1925); his sale, Christie's, 25 July 1891, lot 72: bought by Lesser; sold by Lesser to Jules Porges sometime after 1892; Alexandre Zygomalas sale, Christie's 2 July 1920, lot 44: bought by Davis on behalf of 1st Lord Bearsted; given with Upton House to the National Trust by Walter Samuel, 2nd Viscount Bearsted (1882 – 1948) shortly before his death, in 1948
Upton House, The Bearsted Collection (National Trust)
Marks and inscriptions
Henry Earl of Ely Anne Countess of Ely 1775
Makers and roles
Sir Joshua Reynolds PRA (Plympton 1723 - London 1792), artist