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“Lady Agnew of Lochnaw” by John Singer Sargent

Portrait of Lady Agnew of Lochnaw by John Singer Sargent

“Portrait of Lady Agnew of Lochnaw” by John Singer Sargent

“Portrait of Lady Agnew of Lochnaw” by John Singer Sargent depicts Gertrude Agnew, the wife of Sir Andrew Agnew, 9th Baronet. Lady Agnew is seated in an 18th-century French chair with a back that is curving to create a space for a distinctive elegance.

She is shown in a three-quarter length pose, dressed in a white gown with a silk mauve sash around her waist. The wall behind her is draped with Chinese silk of a blue color.

Lady Agnew looks directly at the viewer. Her intimate expression is both challenging and quizzical half-smiling.

Gertrude Vernon was born in 1865, the granddaughter of the 1st Baron Lyveden. She married Sir Andrew Agnew, 9th Baronet of Lochnaw Castle, in 1889.

Agnew (1850 – 1928) was a British Liberal Unionist Member of Parliament, and a few years after their marriage, he commissioned John Singer Sargent to paint her portrait.

The public success of the painting endowed her with additional prestige. Lady Agnew had no children and died in London in1932 after suffering ill health for a long time.

The painting still hangs in its original antique French rococo frame. Sargent described it in an 1893 letter to Sir Andrew:

“Today I saw an old frame which I think might suit the picture… It is expensive, I think £20”.

An article in The Times dated 29 April 1893, stated that the portrait was:

“not only a triumph of technique but the finest example of portraiture, in the literal sense of the word…
While Mr. Sargent has abandoned none of his subtlety,
he has abandoned his mannerisms,
and has been content to make a beautiful picture of a charming subject,
under conditions of repose.”

John Singer Sargent

John Singer Sargent is considered one of the leading portrait painters and is known for his evocations of his era’s luxury.

He created over 900 oil paintings and more than 2,000 watercolors, and many sketches and drawings. He also traveled extensively across Europe, the Middle East, and the United States. 

Many of John Singer Sargent portraits, which can be found in museums across the world, depict society’s leading lights and the opulence of their time.

“Portrait of Lady Agnew of Lochnaw” by John Singer Sargent

  • Title:                 Portrait of Lady Agnew of Lochnaw
  • Artist:               John Singer Sargent
  • Year:                 1892
  • Medium:          Oil on canvas
  • Dimensions:     Height: 127 cm (50 ″); Width: 101 cm (39.7 ″)
  • Museum:          Scottish National Gallery

‘Lady Agnew of Lochnaw’ by John Singer Sargent

John Singer Sargent

John Singer Sargent’s ‘Lady Agnew of Lochnaw’

Virtual Tour of the Scottish National Gallery

Sargent’s Lady Agnew of Lochnaw


“You can’t do sketches enough. Sketch everything and keep your curiosity fresh.”
– John Singer Sargent


Photo Credit: John Singer Sargent [Public domain]

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