In the Pink
In the 1780s John Steele, an Edinburgh hairdresser, advertised for sale “a great variety of the most fashionable coloured hair powders”. The colours included marechalle (reddish brown), royal flaxen (violet), Princess Royal (orange), pink, common brown and the intriguingly named “Miss in her Teens”. In addition to being coloured, hair powders were usually scented; this was needed to mask the smell of the bear’s grease pomade used to add shine and to hold curls in place.
This portrait of Lady Mary Drummond shows that she was happy to embrace the fashion for coloured hair having chosen pale pink to compliment the bandeau in her hair and the ribbon trim on her dress.
Lady Mary (c1756-1839) was the daughter of John, Earl of Egmont. She married Andrew Berkley Drummond, part of the Drummonds Bank dynasty still operating today. George Engleheart painted several portrait of Drummond family members including Andrew Drummond in 1781, and a Mrs Drummond in 1794. Lady Egmont also sat for him in 1793.
The portrait is in fine condition and is set in a gilt metal frame that is engraved on the reverse. There is slight damage to the rim of the frame at 1 o’clock and 7 o’clock possibly caused by a previous owner’s attempt to open the frame. This has not compromised the miniature though and the glass remains firmly in place.
Item Ref. JH007
Size: 46 x 41mm