Lowell Libson & Jonny Yarker Ltd

  • Pastel
  • 30 × 25 inches · 762 × 635 mm
  • Inscribed with the sitters’ names on the dog’s collar
    Drawn c. 1771
    In the original carved frame
  • £25,000

Collections

  • Presumably commissioned by Cecil de Cardonnel, 2nd Baroness Dynevor and her husband George Rice, c.1771;
  • George Talbot Rice, 3rd Baron Dynevor (1765-1852);
  • George Rice-Trevor, 4th Baron Dynevor (1795-1869), son of the above;
  • Francis Rice, 5th Baron Dynevor, cousin of the above, d.1878;
  • Arthur Rice, 6th Baron Dynevor, son of the above, d.1911;
  • Walter FiztUryan Rice, 7th Baron Dynevor, son of the above, d.1956;
  • Charles Rhys, 8th Baron Dynevor, son of the above, d. 1962;
  • Richard Rhys, 9th Baron Dynevor, son of the above, to 1976;
  • Dynevor sale, Sotheby’s, 18 November 1976, lot 149 (as by Russell);
  • Anonymous sale, Christie’s 16 November 1982, lot 73 (as by Read);
  • Private collection, UK, to 2016

Literature

  • Francis Steegman, Portraits in Welsh Houses, Cardiff, 1962, vol.II, p.60;
  • Neil Jeffares, Dictionary of Pastellists before 1800¸ online edition, J.612.236. 

This unusually ambitious double portrait by Katherine Read was made in 1771 and depicts the two eldest sons of George Rice and his wife, Cecil de Cardonnel, 2nd Baroness Dynevor. 

Read was one of the most celebrated pastellists of the mid-eighteenth century. Following training in Paris and a period spent working in Rome, she established a fashionable and productive studio in London. Read was one of the few professional female painters who made a commercial success in London in the period, becoming an active member of the Society of Artists and a regular participant at London’s new annual exhibitions. Although her association with the medium of pastel and her largely female clientele prevented her from breaking into the exclusive world of the Royal Academy. Read’s use of this medium has meant that she has been largely ignored by recent scholars, only receiving scant critical attention.

George Talbot Rice obtained the county seat in Carmarthenshire in 1790 in an unopposed election. Rice eschewed, however, the Blue colours of the Whigs grouped around the Philipps family at nearby Cwmgwili and sported those of the ‘Gray Coats Independent’: moreover, he accepted the assistance of the Red deputy recorder of Carmarthen, Herbert Lloyd: these acts were symptomatic of the transference of the house of Dynevor from the Whigs to the Tories. Having succeeded to his mother’s barony in 1793, he became the leader of the Reds in the county, marrying the daughter of the influential politician, Thomas Townshend, 1st Viscount Sydney. His son, George Rice-Trevor, was responsible for remodelling Newton House on the Dinefwr estate.