Lady Elizabeth Cavendish, c.1799
John Hoppner RA (1758 - 1810)
RA Collection: Art
Lord George and Elizabeth Cavendish were married in February 1782 and shortly after moved into Burlington House, their first marital home. However they did not own the house and in 1785 much to Elizabeth's disappointment they had to move round the corner to a house in Savile Row.
In 1815 circumstances changed when Lord George inherited a vast fortune from a distant relative, the brilliant but eccentric scientist, Henry Cavendish, and he was able to buy the house. He immediately started on a complete renovation programme which lasted three years. He employed the Regency architect Samuel Ware to remodel the grandly decorated Fine Rooms in a way that he thought the 3rd Earl of Burlington intended. Ware created symmetry in the layout of these rooms and established the grand enfilade.
The successful portraitist John Hoppner commissioned to paint a pair of portraits of George and Elizabeth. They are quite intimate in feel and Elizabeth is portrayed in a simple dress and coral necklace. She was 40 years old at this time and had given birth to nine of her eleven children.
George Cavendish was the third son of the 4th Duke of Devonshire and an exceptionally long-serving Whig Member of Parliament. In 1831 he was created the 1st Earl of Burlington, a revival of his grandfather's title.
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