A171: Mrs Frances Holburne, née Ball
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© The Holburne Museum of Art, Bath
|Title||Mrs Frances Holburne, née Ball|
|Additional titles||Frances Ball
Mrs Francis Holburne
|Object type||In category: Pictures » Painting|
School of Reynolds, (Sir) Joshua (English painter, writer, and collector, 1723-1792) - Painter(s)
English school (known) - Painter(s)
|Place of origin||Europe » Northern Europe » British Isles » Great Britain » Great Britain|
76.2 cm height approximate sight
63.5 cm width approximate sight
|Materials & techniques||
Pictures: Medium » Paint » Oil paint
Pictures: Support » Canvas
Portrait of a lady, half-length, leaning on a windowsill. Face turned quarter-profile to left, direct gaze and slight smile. Hair dressed moderately high with pearls; dove grey night-gown with pearls at sleeve and ermine facings, simple white shift with cross-over bodice.
In a carved and gilded frame with oak leaf and acorn outer moulding and floral crest.
Frances Holburne (1719-1761) was the grandmother of Sir Thomas William Holburne.
Born Frances Ball, the sitter's family originated in Richmond, Surrey, but Frances was raised in Barbados where her father, Guy, owned plantations. She was first married in 1732 to Edward Lascelles (1702-1747) of Harewood House, Yorkshire, Collector of Customs. It is through Frances that the Holburne family became connected with the Lascelles family. Of the six children she had by her first husband, only three survived. The eldest son, Edward (1739-1820), was created 1st Earl of Harewood in 1812.
Widowed in 1747, Frances met and married Francis (later Admiral) Holburne in 1749 in Barbados. They had three children, Jean (later Mrs Ralph Sheldon), Francis (4th Baronet), and Catherine (later Mrs Thomas Cussans). Mrs Holburne died in Bristol aged only 42. She was buried in the family church in Richmond (St. Mary Magdalene) where a marble monument, commissioned by her husband, can still be seen on the south wall (see monument).
The portrait was cleaned in 1992; old discoloured varnish was removed, together with a rosebud which had been added to the sitter's décolletage at some point. X-ray and infra-red imaging showed that other major changes had been made in the composition at some stage: the sitter's right shoulder and elbow had moved away from the body, and the position of the left arm had been changed; the face and hair were heavily overpainted and the ermine was probably a later addition. Some of the overpainting was removed.
No documentation relating to a commission for this portrait has survived but in the 1867 catalogue of Sir William's collection it is described as 'partly done by Sir Joshua Reynolds'. The informal costume with its cross-over bodice and ermine facings, and the bold pose relate closely to many of Reynolds's portraits of c.1760. Reynolds had painted Frances's husband and son in 1756, and he later painted her son the Earl of Harewood, his wife and daughter in 1762-4. However, the quality of this work suggests that it is mostly the work of another hand.
Buttery, 1906: 'poor impossible to say – time of Hudson'.
The likeness to other portraits of Frances Ball has been confirmed by members of the Fellowes family, descendants of her daughter Jean Shelburne, nee Holburne.
The Holburne of Menstrie Museum Catalogue: Part I: Pictures, Bath, 1936, no. 28, p. 13
|Muse theme||The Art of Collecting
The History of the Holburne Collection » Sir William Holburne and his Collection » The Founder: Sir William Holburne of Menstrie (1793-1874)
Oil paintings in the Holburne Museum
|Method of acquisition||Bequest|
|Provenance||Sir T. W. Holburne (1793-1874); by whom bequeathed to Mary Anne Barbara Holburne (1802-1882); by whom bequeathed to the Museum|