Going Riding

Sampson Towgood Roche


During the Georgian era the most energetic sport, apart from dancing, that a young lady could legitimately participate in was horse riding. But with the fashions of the day being too cumbersome and voluminous, specially designed riding habits became the popular choice of attire.

The style of this young lady’s riding attire originated during the late eighteenth century and comprises a coat with a close-fitting buttoned bodice with a double cape-collar in the style of a coachman’s coat worn over a frilled chemise. She would likely also be wearing a buttoned skirt and she has stylishly added a flamboyant hat with a blue band topped with brown ostrich feathers.

Although unsigned, this striking portrait has been attributed to the hand of Irish artist, Sampson Towgood Roche. It is set in a gold frame, the reverse glazed to reveal plaited brown hair.

Roch(e) (1757-1847) was the eldest son of William and Mary Roch of Youghal, Co. Cork. Despite being born deaf and dumb, he showed an early talent for drawing. He worked first in Dublin and Cork before moving for a time to Bath to join the many successful artists who worked there at the height of its popularity as a spa resort. Roch was held to be one of the most talented and sensitive miniaturists of his day. A distinguishing feature of his work is the incipient smile that he gives many of his sitters.

Item Ref. JH6

Size: framed, 83 x 64mm