Portraits of real people as gods, goddesses or personifications of Seasons or Virtues were common in the 18th century. The French artist Jean-Marc Nattier painted this unknown woman as a River Goddess in around 1738. Thomas Gainsborough used characteristically brilliant brushwork in this portrait of Frances Browne, Mrs John Douglas, painted in 1783-1784 and included in his first private exhibition. Little is known about the sitter.
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