Hugh Douglas Hamilton, Charlotte Ellerker (d. 1802)

Photo courtesy of Matthew Hollow (All rights reserved)


Country House
Raynham Hall
Charlotte Ellerker (d. 1802)
The Music Room
Medium and support
Pastel on paper
Hugh Douglas Hamilton (1740-1808)
Catalogue Number
  • Inscribed: ‘H D Hamilton Delt 1770’


The portrait depicts Charlotte Ellerker (d. 1802), daughter of Eaton Mainwaring Elleker (1712–1771) and Barbara Dixon (1722–1804) of Risby Park, Yorkshire. She married George Townshend, 2nd Marquess Townshend on 24 December 1777 with whom she had five children.

Charlotte was about sixteen when this portrait was executed by Hugh Douglas Hamilton (1740–1808) in 1770. Born in Dublin, Hamilton (1740–1808) entered the Dublin Society School of Drawing and studied under Robert West and James Mannin. He then began a successful career as a portrait painter in pastels, eventually moving to London in 1764. During his first year in London, he was awarded 18 guineas for a painting of a classical subject and continued to win further awards for history paintings. He soon began to specialise, however, in small oval pastel portraits such as the present work for which he charged nine guineas. The year before he painted RN32, he made similar pastel portraits of George III and four of his sons (Royal Collection Trust, RCIN 913883, 913887, 452405, 452409, 452412) and in 1771 Queen Charlotte sat to the artist, wearing a lace cap much like the one worn by young Charlotte in the present portrait (RCIN 452400). RN32 exhibits Hamilton’s technique of combining pastels with graphite strokes to bring out surface details.

A few years after completing this portrait, Hamilton travelled to Italy with his wife and daughter where they stayed for about thirteen years. He began to favour small-scale full-length portraits, which were much more highly finished than his oval head-and-shoulder portraits. He came back to London and then in 1792 returned to Dublin where he set up a studio. He seems to have preferred working in oil until his retirement in 1803 at which point he turned his attention to a new interest in science. He died at home in Dublin in 1808.

by Emily Knight

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