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Elizabeth Gunning, Duchess of Argyll
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Elizabeth Gunning, Duchess of Argyll

Catherine Read (1723 - 1779)

Width: 15.3 cm; Height: 26.9 cm;

Inscription, x
Inscription, No 114
Collector's mark, collector's mark of Sir Robert Witt (L.2228b)

Acquisition (source, method, date)
Witt, Robert Clermont (Sir); bequest; 1952

About this work
This is a preparatory drawing for an oval portrait in pastels. Like many drawing media, pastel was often considered more suitable for women artists than oil paint. Such attitudes considerably limited the practice of many women artists such as Catherine Read; as her mentor, the Abbe Grant, wrote to her brother in 1752: 'Was it not for the restrictions her sex obliges her to be under I dare safely say she would shine wonderfully in history painting too, but as it is impossible for her to attend public academies or even design or draw from nature, she is determined to confine herself to portraits.' (Permanent collection label)

Copyright: © The Samuel Courtauld Trust, The Courtauld Gallery, London

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