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Louisa, Lady Clarges (1760–1809)

Photo credit: Victoria Art Gallery

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Gainsborough spent 15 years in Bath, building his reputation as a portrait painter before moving to London, where this work was painted. He became one of the most famous artists of his day. Gainsborough played the harp himself and always took care to paint musical instruments accurately.

'The sportive, heedless, happy, and when she chose it, captivating Lady Clarges', is Fanny Burney’s description of the sitter. Lady Clarges was an accomplished singer and harpist. She owned several harps and made regular trips to Italy to pursue her musical interests. She and her husband, Sir Thomas, promoted outstanding foreign musicians in England.

Victoria Art Gallery



Louisa, Lady Clarges (1760–1809)


oil on canvas


H 126 x W 100.5 cm

Accession number

BATVG : P : 1988.2

Acquisition method

purchased with the assistance of the National Art Collections Fund and the National Heritage Memorial Fund, 1988; on loan to The Holburne Museum of Art

Work type



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Victoria Art Gallery

Bridge Street, Bath, Somerset BA2 4AT England

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