A Miniature of Hannah Sophia, Countess of Exeter (1702-1765), School of Christian Friedrich Zincke, 18th Century.

Enamel, oval, in a gold frame, the reverse engraved with a cipher against a brick-work ground, 4.7cm.

Hannah Sophia, depicted here it is thought, as Mary, Queen of Scots, was the daughter and co-heiress of Thomas Chambers, a wealthy iron founder of Derby.

This 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, Brownlow, the future 9th Earl.

The marriage restored the family fortunes, so depleted by the extravagant collecting of the earl’s grandparents, the 5th Earl and Countess, in 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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