Henrietta Diana (1728–1761), Dowager Countess of Stafford

Image credit: Glasgow Life Museums

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Henrietta Cantillon was 31 years old and had just married her second husband, Robert Maxwell, Baron Farnham when Ramsay painted her portrait. The artist sensitively explores the character of this young lady who smiles rather shyly at us. We can see how Ramsay excelled at painting women, as he captured the details of the varying textures of her fine costume with great skill and employed a sensitive touch for her fashionably powdered face and hair. The delicacy of the colouring reflects the taste for pastel portraits which was sweeping Continental Europe at the time. In the mid 18th century Ramsay became the most successful portrait painter both in London and his native Edinburgh. Horace Walpole observed, when comparing Reynolds and Ramsay, that 'The former is bold, and has a kind of tempestuous colouring … the latter is all delicacy.

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum


Henrietta Diana (1728–1761), Dowager Countess of Stafford




oil on canvas


H 94.6 x W 73.7 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

presented by the Trustees of the Hamilton Bequest, 1955

Work type


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Argyle Street, Glasgow G3 8AG Scotland

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