A Miniature of Lady Elizabeth Chaplin, née Cecil (1729-1813), by Gervase Spencer (1715-1763).

Enamel, oval, in a gold frame, the reverse engraved with the sitter’s name and biographical details, 4.3cm. Signed with initials and dated, ‘GS 1758.

Lady Elizabeth was the eldest daughter of the 8th Earl and Countess of Exeter and a favourite sister of Brownlow, the 9th Earl (1725-1793).

He always entrusted her to ‘keep an eye’ on things at Burghley whilst he was absent, particularly on his two Grand Tours of 1763 and 1768, leaving her with extensive instructions for all possible eventualities during his absence!

Spencer, who was originally a servant, first taught himself the art of painting in watercolour on ivory, before attempting the complex art of enamelling, which was currently in vogue.

He was extremely successful as a miniaturist in both media.


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