ca. 1720 Henrietta Hobart, The Hon. Mrs Howard, later Countess of Suffolk, in a masquerade dress attributed to Thomas Gibson (Blickling Hall - Blickling, North Norfolk UK)

National Trust's Blickling Hall list has this narrative in their posted catalog:  "Henrietta was the daughter of the 4th Baronet (killed in a duel in 1698). Her brother was the 1st Earl of Buckinghamshire and she was the beloved aunt of John, 2nd Earl of Buckinghamshire. Between about 1720 and 1734, she was the English mistress of George, Prince of Wales (from 1727, George II). Centre of a wide circle of noble and literary friends including Pope, Gay and Swift. Marble Hill, Twickenham was built, partly to her designs, by Roger Morris, under the supervision of Lord Herbert, later 9th Earl of Pembroke, between 1724 and 1729, and she formed a fine collection of paintings there. Gibson was a leading portrait painter in London from at least 1711 to 1720 when he fell ill. He was an active member of the Academy founded by Kneller in 1711 and painted much in Kneller’s style, but with rather tamer execution. He was known for his modest prices which caused offence to his fellow artists. This picture used to be ascribed to Michael Dahl, but was reattributed to Gibson on the basis of a similar signed and dated portrait of the Hon. Mrs William Townsend of 1719."

This is a masquerade dress, allowing Henrietta's modiste to raise the hemline. The dress has an ornamental apron. Her bodice flares over her hips like a basque bodice of 100 years earlier, but ends in a point.

Keywords:  1720, Gibson, Henrietta Hobart, Hobart family, Howard family, Countess, British, mistress, George II, straight coiffure, floral headdress, hat, scoop décolletage, epaulettes, three quarter length tight sleeves, engageantes, bows, laced bodice, vee neckline, full skirt, maxi length skirt, apron, shoes, theatrical dress


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