Magnificent large Rococo portrait shows Mary, Duchess of Ancaster, née Panton.
Mary Panton was born as an illegitimate child of Priscilla (?) and “a disreputable horse jockey” (Walpole). She married General Peregrine Bertie, 3rd Duke of Ancaster and Kesteven, son of Peregrine Bertie, 2nd Duke of Ancaster and Kestevenand Jane Brownlow. She died on October 19th 1793 in Naples, Italy.
The portrait, printed in a mezzotint technique, was made by James McArdell (1728-1765) and based on a painted portrait by a British portrait painter Thomas Hudson (1701-1779).
This is probably the second state with erased year 1757 in the title.
Mezzotint (meaning “middle colour”) was invented in 1642 by Ludwig von Siegen. It became popular especially between portrait engravers in Britain in the 17th and 18th centuries. With this demanding technique, which is a version of copper engraving, the artist has to stipple the surface of the copper plate and then smoothen the parts that later appear dark on the imprint. The result is a print without thick lines, typical for the copper engravings. The main characteristics of a mezzotint are soft lines, shadows with dark contrasts and tiny spots as a result of stippling.