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Humphrey worked initially as a portrait-miniaturist (see cabinet 2: The Portrait Miniature in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries) but, following his return to England from a visit to Italy in 1777, he transferred some of his energies to oil painting. The aristocratic sitter here, who was an amateur playwright of some repute, abandoned her husband in 1783 to go travelling through Italy, eastern Europe and the near east. She later settled back in England with a German prince, the Margrave of Anspach.

September 2004