A Miniature of Hannah Sophia, Countess of Exeter, née Chambers (1702-1765), by Christian Friedrich Zincke, (1685-1767).

Enamel, oval, in a gold frame, the reverse engraved with cypher below an earl’s coronet, 4.5cm.

Hannah Sophia was the daughter and co-heiress of Thomas Chambers, a wealthy iron founder of Derby.

The miniature was painted in 1725, a year after her marriage to Brownlow, 8th Earl of Exeter (1701-1754); perhaps to celebrate the birth of a son and heir that year.

The marriage restored the family fortunes, so depleted by the extravagant collecting of his grandparents, the 5th Earl (1648-1700), and his wife Anne (1649-1703), during the course of four Grand Tours.

Records show that Hannah Sophia led an unusually independent life, given the times in which she lived.

Zincke, who was born in Germany, moved to England as a young man to work in the studio of the Swedish enamellist Charles Boit (1662-1727).

When Boit moved to France some years later, Zincke inherited his many fashionable clients and in due course, became the most successful enamellist of his time.


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