Sir Thomas Lawrence P.R.A. F.R.S. 1769-1830 and studio

Sir Thomas Lawrence   P.R.A.  F.R.S.  1769-1830 and studio
Sir Thomas Lawrence   P.R.A.  F.R.S.  1769-1830 and studio Sir Thomas Lawrence   P.R.A.  F.R.S.  1769-1830 and studio
Offered by: Strachan Fine Art Ltd.
Dealer reference: S00235


The singer Mary Ann Paton 1802 (Edinburgh)-1864 (Chapelthorpe)
later known as Mrs. Wood
Oil on canvas 20 x 16 ins, 51 x 40.6 cms.

This informal portrait of Mary Paton was for many years in the United States although the date it was taken there is uncertain. While there is no portrait of Mary Paton recorded in Kenneth Garlick’s catalogue raisonné, there is known to have been a drawing of her by Lawrence which was burnt in a fire at his studio. Its historic acceptance as a work by Lawrence has recently been confirmed. This portrait must therefore have been painted before Lawrence’s death in January 1830 and therefore before her divorce and remarriage in 1831.

The singer Mary Ann Paton was born in Edinburgh in October 1802, the eldest daughter of George Paton, a writing-master and amateur violinist, and his wife, née Crawford, of Cameron Bank, also an amateur musician. As a child she studied the harp, the violin, and the piano, and made her first appearances in 1810 as a singer, also playing the harp and piano, and reciting. The family settled in London in 1811 and she sang at the Noblemen's Subscription Concerts but then withdrew on health grounds. She continued to study, taking harp and piano lessons with Samuel Webbe the younger and resumed her career as a singer in Bath in 1820 and in Huntingdon the following year.

In 1822 Paton joined the Haymarket company, where her performances included Susanna in The Marriage of Figaro (3 August), the Countess in the same opera, Rosina in The Barber of Seville, Lydia in George Frederick Perry's Morning, Noon, and Night, and Polly in The Beggar's Opera. Among her roles at Covent Garden were Mandane in Arne's Artaxerxes and Clara in Linley's The Duenna. The critics of the day warned her against exaggerated ornamentation, but her success was undoubted.

At her father's insistence Paton broke off her engagement to a young doctor named Blood, who acted for a short time under the name of Davis. Afterwards she became, on 7 May 1824, the wife of Lord William Pitt Lennox (1799–1881). Her reputation was greatly enhanced when she sang Agathe in the first English version (by William Hawes) of Weber's
Der Freischütz at the Lyceum on 22 July 1824. A still greater triumph followed with her creation of Reiza in the première of his Oberon, which he conducted on 12 April 1826.

In 1831 Paton divorced her husband in the Scottish court of session, and in the same year she married the tenor Joseph Wood (1801–1890), with whom she had a son. In the same year she was engaged at the King's Theatre, where she sang in Rossini's La Cenerentola and other Italian operas. She then returned to Drury Lane, where she sang Alice in Henry Bishop's version of Meyerbeer's Robert le diable.
She and her husband moved to Woolley Moor, Yorkshire, in 1833, though she later made three successful tours of America, making her debut at the Park Theatre, New York in 1833. She retired to a convent for a year, but reappeared at the Princess's Theatre and at concerts, in which her husband was also engaged. The couple finally settled at Bulcliffe Hall, near Chapelthorpe. She died there on 21 July 1864.
(from the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography)

Newhouse Galleries, New York stock #15407.
Laurence S. Barringer and Louise D. Barringer, Airy Hall Plantation, Fenwick, Colleton County, South Carolina
Estate of Beaumont Barringer Palmer Cathcart

Columbia Museum of Art (B-4, #4)

Height: 20.00inch (50.80 cm)
Width: 16.00inch (40.64 cm)


Very good

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