2426BP Anne Clive.jpg
A head and shoulders portrait of Anne Clive, the Honourable Mrs George Sempill (image © National Trust).

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Art UK, a charity that runs a website showcasing artworks that are in public collections across the UK, has digitised the images of more than 230,000 artworks and a further 100,000 sculptures will be recorded by December 2020.

Its Art Detective forum works with specialists and members of the public to help fill in gaps in its knowledge of public art including missing attributions and other lost information.

The Art Detective site has 35,000 registered users but the site needs further help to uncover more clues about particular works.

Here, in the latest of an occasional series, is one such picture that is awaiting further information. Perhaps ATG’s readers know the answer?

Portrait of Anne Clive

Art UK charity is seeking help to identify the artist and date of a portrait of Anne Clive, the honourable Mrs George Sempill.

This portrait of Anne is in the collection of the National Trust at Powis Castle. Anne, who was the sister of Clive of India, married George Sempill in 1766, when she was 26.

In this picture she wears a blue dress with a lace bodice embroidered with bows, a motif repeated on the sleeves. Her neck appears elegantly elongated by dint of a five-tiered pearl choker above a double ruff of lace. A sprig of myrtle, a symbol of love in art since the Renaissance, is attached to her bodice.

The National Trust record dates the picture from between 1766-99, ie from the date of their marriage until her husband’s death. However, it has been suggested that her dates are 1740-66 or 1775.

The picture became publicly owned when it was accepted by HM Treasury in March 1963 in lieu of tax. It was conveyed to the National Trust on November 29, 1963.

Art UK would welcome further information on the sitter and her dates as well as information on the artist.

Can you provide any further suggestions? Maybe you have the definite attribution.

If you can, visit the page on Art UK via this link https://bit.ly/2E3pE1a and post your comments or write to us via editorial@antiquestradegazette.com (or by letter to our usual address if you prefer).

To date there are more than 480 discussions on the Art Detective website about works that need more information. Visit artuk.org/artdetective/ to see if you can contribute to other unknown artworks.

Art Detective was designed with guidance from Tate, the National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery and funded by Arts Council England, with later funding from the National Gallery Trust. The network is run by Art Detective manager Marion Richards, who works with 22 subject specialist group leaders (working pro bono).