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Mrs Robinson (1758–1800) became the first mistress of the Prince of Wales (later George IV) in 1779. She earned the nickname ‘Perdita’ from her memorable performance in 'The Winter’s Tale' at the Drury Lane Theatre where she attracted the attention of the seventeen year old prince. She was painted by the leading portraitists of the day: Reynolds (Reynolds P45), Gainsborough (Gainsborough P42) and Romney. Romney’s portrait of Mrs Robinson became sufficiently well-known for it to be used in a caricature of the sitter in 1783. It remained in the possession of the artist until his death and was bought for 20 guineas at his sale by the 2nd Marquess of Hertford who had been a friend of the sitter and already owned Gainsborough’s portrait of Mrs Robinson (P42).

The Wallace Collection



Mrs Mary Robinson




oil on canvas


H 75.7 x W 63.2 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

acquired by Francis Ingram Seymour-Conway, 2nd Marquess of Hertford, 1810; bequeathed to the nation by Lady Wallace, 1897

Work type



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The Wallace Collection

Hertford House, Manchester Square, London, Greater London W1U 3BN England

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