ca. 1675 Jane Needham, Mrs. Myddleton by Henri Gascar (Philip Mould)

Jane Needham wears a casual looking top over a real full skirt in this Gascar work from about 1675. Philip Mould's notes about this image can be found here; including these paragraphs, "Jane Needham was the eldest daughter of Sir Robert Needham (d. 1661), and his second wife, Jane (1619–1666), daughter and heir of Sir William Cockayne of Clapham, and widow of John Worfield of Barking. The Needhams were Welsh gentry, Sir Robert's father being Thomas Needham, esquire of Clocaenog, Denbighshire, the brother of Robert Needham, first Viscount Kilmorey in the peerage of Ireland. Jane Myddelton was probably born in the Lambeth house of her paternal grandmother Eleanor, Lady Salisbery, and was brought up in Lambeth and Clapham, one of a numerous family. She was married at the age of fourteen, on 18 October 1660 at St Mary''s, Lambeth, as his second wife, to a man some ten years older than herself, Charles Myddelton (1635–1690/91), sixth son of Sir Thomas Myddleton of Chirk Castle and Cefn-y-wern, Ruabon, Denbighshire.

At Court her striking beauty was the only necessary qualification for advancement, where she had numerous admirers. When only eighteen years old she had been chosen by the Duke of York for inclusion in Sir Peter Lely’s paintings of the Court beauties that hung in his apartments at Windsor. Two years later she was again painted by Lely for inclusion in the portraits of beauties commissioned by Robert Spencer 2nd Earl of Sunderland for Althorp. Portraits of her were clearly prized; one was owned by Cosimo III Grand Duke of Tuscany, as well as by Colonel William Russell and by a ‘Lord Astley’ identified by MacLeod5 with Jacob 3rd Lord Astley of Reading. Despite her marriage in 1660 to Charles Myddleton of Ruabon, her known lovers at Court included Ralph Montagu later created Duke of Montagu and Laurence Hyde later created Earl of Rochester. She never became the lover of the King, but in the summer of 1678 she made a concerted attempt to replace Louise de Kerouaille, the King’s unpopular French mistress, with her daughter Jenny (1661 – 1740). The plan failed, although the daughter’s beauty – preserved in a mezzotint by Gascars after his portrait of her – was scarcely less striking than the mother’s."

This is her brief article in "Jane Needham was born in 1646. She married Charles Middleton on 18 June 1660. She died in 1692. She and Laurence Hyde, 1st Earl of Rochester were associated. She and Ralph Montagu, 1st Duke of Montagu were associated. She was the daughter of Sir Robert Needham and Jane Cockayne. From 18 June 1660, her married name became Middleton."

Keywords:  1675, Gascar, Jane Needham, long straight coiffure, hair jewelry, trapezoidal neckline, scarf, elbow length puffed sleeves, engageantes, lace, vee neckline, full skirt, under-skirt, necklace, earrings, clasp, jeweled bodice ornament, wrap

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