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The daughter of Thomas Coutts (1735–1822) of the London banking firm Coutts & Co. by his first wife Susan Starkie. She married Sir Francis Burdett in 1793. This portrait depicts Lady Burdett in a woodland setting, apparently resting on a stile after collecting flowers, one of which she has tucked into the folds of her gown. She wears a low plain hairstyle and carries a straw milkmaid or bergère hat with a ribbon tie. Such hats were popular in the 1750s and '60s and their use was continued only by working country women in later years. Lady Burdett's deliberate adoption of this old-fashioned, pastoral style aims to lend her a simple charm, though it is at odds with her spotless white dress, dainty pointed slipper-shoes and the fashionable detailing of her accessories.
Sophia, Lady Burdett
oil on canvas
H 237.5 x W 143.5 cm
Bequeathed by the Rt Hon. William Ashmead Bartlett Burdett-Coutts, 1952. On long-term loan to Bodelwyddan Castle, North Wales