Collection Online

Lady Rous née Charlotte Maria Whittaker, second wife of the 6th Baronet, later, Earl of Stradbroke

oil on canvas
236.7 × 146.5 cm irreg. (image) 237.8 × 146.8 cm (canvas)
Place/s of Execution
London, England
Accession Number
International Painting
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Gift of the Countess of Stradbroke through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program, 2010
This digital record has been made available on NGV Collection Online through the generous support of Digitisation Champion Ms Carol Grigor through Metal Manufactures Limited
Gallery location
19th Century European Paintings Gallery
Level 2, NGV International

In 1792, John Rous married the beautiful Charlotte Whittaker. Soon after their marriage, William Beechey was commissioned to create two life-size portraits of the couple. This corresponds with Beechey’s period of greatest success when he was appointed court portraitist to Queen Charlotte. Beechey was so pleased with this portrait of Lady Rous, that he sent it to the prestigious Royal Academy exhibition for 1796. Beechey here has created a sublimely romantic painting by theatrically posing the figure in a stage-like setting and has handled the drapery in a free and lively manner. The sitter’s elbow leans against the base of a stone urn, previously obscured in the painting by discoloured varnish.