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Portrait miniature - Portrait of Margaret Cocks, mourning her sister's remains; formerly called Mary Russell mourning her mother's remains.
  • Portrait of Margaret Cocks, mourning her sister's remains
    Cosway, Richard RA, born 1742 - died 1821
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Portrait of Margaret Cocks, mourning her sister's remains; formerly called Mary Russell mourning her mother's remains.

  • Object:

    Portrait miniature

  • Place of origin:

    England (probably, painted)

  • Date:

    1787 (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Cosway, Richard RA, born 1742 - died 1821 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Watercolour on ivory

  • Museum number:

    P.51-1984

  • Gallery location:

    Portrait Miniatures, Room 90a, The International Music and Art Foundation Gallery, case 10

When the V&A acquired this miniature the subject was believed to be Miss Mary Russell mourning her mother's remains. However, Miss Mary Russell was born in 1783. She was therefore only three when her mother, Mrs Mary Russell, died in 1786, and only four when this miniature was painted in 1787. This is therefore almost certainly a portrait of Margaret Cocks (1773-1847), the sister of Mrs Mary Russell.

Richard Cosway R.A. (1742-1821) was one of the most fashionable miniature painters of the day. Around 1786 he had the honour of being made Miniature Painter to the Prince of Wales, the future Prince Regent. He also painted oil paintings.

Physical description

Portrait miniature on ivory depicting Margaret Cocks holding aloft an urn, and mourning her sister's remains. Dated by the artist.

Place of Origin

England (probably, painted)

Date

1787 (painted)

Artist/maker

Cosway, Richard RA, born 1742 - died 1821 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Watercolour on ivory

Marks and inscriptions

Margaret Cocks was the second daughter of Joseph Cocks of London (1732-75), and married Joseph Smith. Her sister was Mary (1748-1786), who married William Russell of Powick Court (1750-1812). Her niece, Mary Russell, was born in 1783 and died in 1806.

Dimensions

Height: 72 mm, Width: 57 mm

Object history note

When it was acquired by the V&A this miniature was believed to be of Miss Mary Russell mourning her mother's remains. But Miss Mary Russell was born in 1783 and was only three when her mother died in 1786, and only four when this miniature was painted in 1787. This is almost certainly a portrait of the sister of Mrs Mary Russell; Margaret Cocks (1773-1847). See Robyn Asleson, "British Paintings at the Huntington" (2001), catalogue number 10, for a related painting in oil by Richard Cosway of Margaret Cocks, holding a portrait miniature by John Smart of her sister, Mary Russell. See also Julius Bryant, "Kenwood : The Paintings in the Iveagh Bequest" (2003), catalogue number 89, for a portrait of Miss Margaret Cocks and her niece Miss Mary Russell, by Joshua Reynolds painted in 1789/90.

Descriptive line

Portrait miniature, originally thought to be of Miss Mary Russell, mourning her mother's remains; Mrs Mary Russell, nee Cocks (1748-1786) but now known to be of Margaret Cocks (b. 1773), sister of Mrs Mary Russell, painted on ivory, by Richard Cosway. Great Britain, 1787.

Materials

Water-colour; Ivory

Techniques

Painting

Subjects depicted

Cremation; Urns; Funerary; Portrait

Categories

Portraits; Death; Paintings

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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