A Portrait of Hannah Sophia Chambers, wife of Brownlow, 8th Earl of Exeter, by Maria Verelst (1680-1744).

Oil on canvas, 124.5cm by 99cm.

Hannah Sophia (1702-1765), who married Brownlow, 8th Earl of Exeter (1701-1754) in 1724, was the daughter and co-heiress of the Derby foundry owner Thomas Chambers.

Her substantial inheritance revived the family fortunes which had been depleted by the acquisitions on four Grand Tours of John, 5th Earl of Exeter, her husband’s grandfather.

The 1738 Burghley Inventory records: ‘This Lord by Richardson…..His Lady, by Mr Varett.’

The 1763 Burghley Inventory records: ‘The brown dining room …Hannah Sophia, his wife, daughter to Thomas Chambers Esqre. by Mrs Verelst.’

The artist, who arrived in England with her family as a small child, was the daughter of the Dutch painter Herman Verelst (1641-1702).

He taught his daughter and her two brothers to paint from a young age and they all became successful artists.

Maria became not only a talented portraitist and miniaturist, but also a gifted linguist.


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