This information is ©
The Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery, University of Glasgow 2018
"Maria Countess of Coventry" 15/05/1771
CRE FINLAYSON, John; (English; 1730-1776) AFTER READ, Catherine; (Scottish; 1723-1779)
printed in black on laid paper
49.6 x 35.3
60.0 x 42.0 (sheet)
"C.Read pinx:t J:Finlayson fec:t Maria Countess of Coventry, Humbly dedicated to her Grace the Dutchess of Argyll. Publish'd May 15th 1771 & sold by Mr Finlayson, Orange St, Leicester Fields"
4 SMITH, John Chaloner 1880 British Mezzotinto Portraits, London, Henry Sotheran and Co. 1878-1883, 4 vols
Maria Countess of Coventry was a celebrated beauty, the elder of the two famous Gunning sisters, who were reputed to have been the most beautiful women of their age. Born in Ireland, they were the daughters of Colonel John Gunning, Co. Roscommon, and their arrival in London society in the early 1750s caused much excitement. Both succeeded in making illustrious matches. We know from a letter to Hunter that Maria, Countess of Coventry (1732-1760) was Hunter's patient by 1758, and she kept notes for him of the course of the illness leading to her death in 1760. Maria is reputed to have been less sensible than her sister Elizabeth, and apparently told George II that she could imagine nothing she would rather see than a coronation. She has an invented costume, with ermine to signify her status. Maria was married in 1752 to George William, 6th Earl of Coventry, with whom she had five children; she died tragically young of tuberculosis. More than ten years after her death, her portrait was still in demand, and needed to complete the pair with Elizabeth, to whom Finlayson's plate was dedicated.
PORTRAIT : BEAUTIFUL GUNNINGS : CELEBRATED BEAUTY : HUNTER 2007 : JACOBITE PAINTER :