portrait of mrs. richard sheridan

Portrait of Miss Elizabeth Linley [Mrs. Richard Brinsley Sheridan] (c.1775). Thomas Gainsborough (British, 1727-1788). Oil on canvas. Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Singer Eliza, age twenty-one, was newly married and at the height of her fame and beauty. Her sophistication is mingled with innocence, and even slightly with insipidity–perhaps unavoidable in a girl so young and so pretty. There is steady, cool light enveloping and revealing Eliza while keeping her slightly removed from contact with the viewer.