Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Two Great-Nieces of Lord Mansfield

Painted in the late 1770s by an unknown artist, the portrait shows two great-nieces of Lord Mansfield, who was Lord Chief Justice of England from 1756 to 1788. On the right is Lady Elizabeth Murray, daughter of Lord Mansfield’s nephew and heir, the seventh Viscount Stormont. Lady Elizabeth was born in 1760 and brought up by Lord Mansfield and his wife after her mother died when she was a young child. Dido Elizabeth Bell, on the left, was the illegitimate daughter of another of Lord Mansfield’s nephews, Captain John Lindsay, and a probably enslaved black woman, Maria Bell. Dido was born in 1761 and was also brought up by Lord and Lady Mansfield from a young age. The girls are shown in the grounds of Lord Mansfield’s house, Kenwood, in Hampstead, North London, and there is a representation of Kenwood’s famous view of St. Paul’s Cathedral in the bottom left-hand corner. The painting is now kept in Scone Palace, Perth, Scotland, but it was displayed at Kenwood in 2007 in an exhibition marking the two-hundredth anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade in Britain (“Slavery and Justice”). (continue reading here Jane Austin Society)

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