Jane, Countess of Harrington (1775) by Joshua Reynolds
One of the most beautiful female portraits by sir Joshua Reynolds :)
Jane Fleming was born in 1755, the eldest of five children of Sir John Fleming and his wife Jane Colman John Fleming’s death in 1763 brought Jane (as co-heir with her sisters) a staggering fortune of £100,000. On March 29, 1770, when she was about fifteen, her mother married Edwin Lascelles, a wealthy West Indian sugar grower, who was created 1st Baron Harewood in 1790. At the age of twenty-three, Jane became engaged to a glamorous war hero, Charles Stanhope, Viscount Petersham (1753-1829), a lieutenant colonel in the 3rd Foot Guards. He had been in America serving as General Burgoyne’s aide-de-camp since February 1776, and returned to England in late December 1777 to find himself the idol of the female population.
The new Countess of Harrington immediately garnered praise for her generosity in settling her husband’s debts and funding the re-purchase of Stable Yard House in St. James’s, London. Her money also enabled Lord Harrington to raise an infantry regiment, which she accompanied to Jamaica in 1780. On their return to England the following year, Lord Harrington was appointed aide-de-camp to the king, and Lady Harrington became prominent in fashionable circles. She was singled out (along with Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire) as one of “the best dressed ladies” at an all-night party hosted by the duchess in September 1782.
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