Pastel on paper over canvas; held in original frame; entire 23 by 20 ins; 59 x 51cm
Provenance: Private Collection, England
Sophia was the daughter of Captain Silvester Barnewall, and married a cousin, Robert Barnewall (1740-1813) around the time that this portrait was created. Distinct details are obscure but reputedly the family descended from fifteenth century Irish chief justice Sir Nicholas Barnewall, with the baronies of Trimlestown and Kingsland being held by various members of the family.
Born in Dublin in 1740, Hugh Douglas Hamilton is acknowledged as one of the most accomplished portraitists of his generation. He quickly made a name for himself developing close links with many important families in Ireland. Having established himself as a leading portraitist in pastel, Hamilton moved to London around 1764 where the fashionable set flocked to have their likeness recorded by the gregarious young artist. Such was his influence that many artists proceeded to draw in a similar style this present portrait being a good example of this.