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Miss Harriet Powell: P.15015-R

Object information

Current Location: In storage


Miss Harriet Powell
Harriet Powell in the character of Leonora from Charles Dibdin's comic opera, The Padlock (1768)


Printmaker: Houston, Richard
Publisher: Sayer, Robert
Painter: Reynolds, Joshua (After)




After the painting by Sir Joshua Reynolds (1769; Mannings, 1464; Private Collection [sold Christies, London, 8 June 2006, lot 7]). Harriet Powell, an actress, was the second wife of Kenneth Mackenzie, 1st Earl of Seaforth FRS (15 January 1744 - 27 August 1781). Three-quarter-length, standing, facing front, wearing an ermine-trimmed robe and tasselled belt, a necklace of pearls, pearls also in her hair. Her head cocked to the left but looking towards the right at a songbird which is perched on her left hand.

Legal notes

Bequeathed by Charles Brinsley Marlay, 1912

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bequeathed (1912) by Marlay, Charles Brinsley


18th Century#
Production date: before 1771-05-01 AD 1771


Mezzotint. Scratched letter proof before inscriptions and with uncleaned inscription space. Scratched at lower left: 'Sir Joshua Reynolds pinxt.' and at lower right: 'Rich.d Houston fecit.' Scratched in open roman letters at upper centre of the inscription space: 'R. Sayer Excudit'. Inscribed on the verso in graphite: 'CBM' [Charles Brinsley Marlay]; '15'; 'Miss Powell'; 'Harriet Powell'; 'S.100 I' [Chaloner Smith]. The finished print features two stanzes of engraved verse from Isaac Bickerstaffe's libretto for Charles Dibdin's comic opera, The Padlock (first performed, 1768). See BM 1902,1011.2697. The verse identifies the bird in this scene from the opera as a robin and colour reproductions of the original oil painting when it was sold at Christies in 2006 confirm that the colouring corresponds with that of a robin and not a goldfinch as has been cited elsewhere.

School or Style


Techniques used in production


Identification numbers

Accession number: P.15015-R
Primary reference Number: 240078
Chaloner Smith: 100.I (pp.682-3)
O'Donoghue: 5
Nagler (K√ľnstler-Lexicon): 6.59 (p.328)
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Thursday 9 January 2020 Updated: Wednesday 11 January 2023 Last processed: Thursday 7 December 2023

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Paintings, Drawings and Prints

Citation for print

This record can be cited in the Harvard Bibliographic style using the text below:

The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "Miss Harriet Powell" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-06-13 08:28:59

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{{cite web|url= |title=Miss Harriet Powell |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2024-06-13 08:28:59|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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