Mrs. Henrietta Hawkins Browne (1753 – 1802), 1793
Painted for the sitter’s husband, Isaac Hawkins Browne (1745 – 1818); and by descent to
The Hon. C. Hay.
Agnew’s, London, acquired from the above in May 1889.
- Lockett Agnew, acquired from the above in March 1892.
Mrs. Agnew’s Sale; Christie’s, London, 15 June 1923, lot 52 (£787 10s).
Tooth [presumably Arthur Tooth, London], acquired at the above sale.
Anon. Sale; Christie’s, New York. 12 January 1978, lot 140.
Private Collection, acquired at the above sale.
H. Maxwell, George Romney, London, 1902, p. 171, no. 40.
H. Ward & W. Roberts, Romney, A Biographical and Critical Essay with a Catalogue Raisonné of his Works, London & New York, NY, 1904, vol. II, pp. 19-20.
A. Kidson, George Romney, A complete catalogue of his paintings, New Haven, CT & London, 2015, vol I, p. 99, no. 165 (illus.; as ‘untraced’).
Birmingham, Museum and Art Gallery, Loan Collection of Portraits, 1900, no. 13.
The sitter was the eldest daughter of the Hon. Edward Hay, fourth son of the 8th Earl of Kinnoull, and his wife Mary, nee Flower. In May 1788 she married Isaac Hawkins Browne of Badger, Salop., who served as MP for Bridgenorth from 1784 – 1812. The couple had no children. In his catalogue raisonné of Romney’s work, Alex Kidson notes nine sittings by Mrs. Hawkins Browne between 28 January and 20 April 1793, with two further ones cancelled. Her husband paid Romney half his fee of 60 gns. At the first sitting and the remainder, along with the costs of packing and shipping, in March 1794. It was framed by Saunders (£5 18s) and sent on 24 July 1793. On 4 August, Mr. Hawkins Browne wrote to Romney thanking him for ‘the very fine picture of Mrs. Hawkins Browne’, which had recently arrived. He continued: ‘I shall always set a high value upon it for her sake and for yours,’ and stated that on his next trip to London he would ‘take the first opportunity of returning you my best thanks in person’ (Pierpont Morgan Library, New York, NY). According to Kidson, ‘the portrait is one of the earliest in a sequence of female half-lengths which – arguably in response to the works of Laewrence and Raeburn – took the effects of loose brushwork and informality to new levels in Romney’s portraiture’.