Mary Lepel, Lady Hervey (1700 -1768) in Old Age
Johann Zoffany, RA (Frankfurt am Main 1733 - Kew 1810)
This picture seems undeniably associated with the set of four other pictures at Ickworth of John, Lord Hervey’s and Molly Lepel’s daughters, but it is little more than half their size, and freer in handling. This could be because it was a ‘modello’ for another picture in the set that was never executed. The sitter is also clearly of an earlier generation. It therefore seems most likely that it represents Lady Hervey herself. It is true that there is not much resemblance to the plump, cheerful sitter in the Ramsay, but this picture must date from a decade later, by which time she may have become more gaunt. Ramsay also had a great ability to convey female beauty and charm. Zoffany – or whoever the artist of this picture is – was more of a realist.
Oil painting on canvas, Mary Lepel, Lady Hervey (1700 -1768) in Old Age by Johann Zoffany, RA (Frankfurt am Main 1733 - Kew 1810), circa 1765 (?) A three-quarter-length portrait, of a woman sitting on a red upholstered chair, wearing pink dress trimmed with fur. Her left elbow leans on a table, and her right hand is in a fur muff.
By descent to the 4th Marquess of Bristol (1863-1951), on whose death valued for probate; not transferred to the National Trust, but inherited by Victor, 6th Marquess of Bristol (1915-1985), and then by his son, John, 7th Marquess (b.1954), in whose sale attributed to Zoffany, as probably of Lady Mary Fitzgerald, daughter of John Hervey, Baron Hervey of Ickworth (1696-1743) and of his wife Mary Lepell (1770-1768). She married George Fitzgerald and died on 9th April 1815 and purchased at the East Wing sale, Ickworth, Sotheby's, 11-12 June 1996, lot 449, by the National Trust.
Ickworth, The Bristol Collection (acquired through the National Land Fund and transferred to The National Trust in 1956)
Makers and roles
Johann Zoffany, RA (Frankfurt am Main 1733 - Kew 1810), artist
Willoughby 1906 L .Willoughby, ‘The Marquess of Bristol’s Collection at Ickworth: Part III’, The Connoisseur, June 1906, p.89 Manners & Williamson 1920 Lady Victoria Manners & G.C. Williamson, Zoffany, 1920, p. 184