Description: Sir Francis Bernard Dicksee, P.R.A. (1853-1928)
Portrait of the Hon. Mrs Ernest Guinness, standing, full-length, wearing an emerald dress and feather
signed and dated 'FRANK DICKSEE 1912' (lower left)
oil on canvas
92 x 58 in. (233.7 x 147.3 cm.)
Exhibited: London, Royal Academy, 1912, no. 180.
Provenance: The sitter, and by descent.
Notes: Mrs Guinness is perhaps now best remembered as the mother of the aptly named 'Golden Guinness Girls', the brightest of the 'Bright Young Things' of the 1920s. Aileen married Brinsley Plunket and lived at Luttrelstown Castle in Ireland, a house bought for her by her father. Maureen, married Basil Sheridan, 4th Marchioness of Dufferin and Ava, and Oonagh married the 4th Lord Oranmore and Browne.
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Born Marie Clothilde Russell, Mrs Guinness was the daughter of Sir George Russell, 4th Baronet. She married the Hon. Arthur Ernest Guinness, the second son of the first Earl of Iveagh. Dressed in the emerald green of her husband's native Ireland, she sat to the leading portraitist of the day: Frank Dicksee was later knighted and became President of the Royal Academy.
Few portraits better capture the confidence and opulence of the Edwardian era. Painted on a magnificent scale, and presented in its original swept and gilded frame, it was justly celebrated when exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1912.