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Mary Linwood (1755-1845)

Embroidery c. 1798

Silk, wood and glass | 93.6 x 76.5 cm (whole object) | RCIN 11902

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  • A rectangular needlework picture of a bearded Christ consecrating the bread and wine; wearing blue and white robes, a halo about his head, His eyes raised to heaven and His elbows resting on cloth-covered table; glazed gilt wood frame. Mrs Philip Lybbe Powys mentions this embroidery in her diary of 1798: 'We stayed in town all the next day, as we wished to see Mrs Linwood's worsted work, then exhibiting at Hanover Square Concert rooms, and tho' we had heard so much in its praise, it fully answered every expectation; indeed it is beyond description. They are chiefly taken from the most celebrated artists, as Raphael, Guido, Rubens, Sir Joshua Reynolds, Stubbs, Opie... In the inner apartment is a fine whole-length Salvator Mundi by Carlo Dolci (she refused 2000 guineas and bequeathed it to the Queen). We observed several Catholic gentlemen take off their hats as they stood admiring this fine portrait!' From Passages from the Diaries of Mrs Philip Lybbe Powys of Hardwick House, A.D. 1756-1808 ed. Emily J. Climenson, London 1899, pp.300-1

    Although traditionally believed to have been bequeathed to Queen Charlotte by the artist herself, the work continued to be exhibited at Linwood's Leicester Square gallery until at least 1840. It did not, however, appear in the posthumous sale of her possessions in 1846. It seems likely, therefore, that the piece first entered the Royal Collection during the reign of Queen Victoria.

    This is confirmed by a catalogue entry for an exhibition held at Leicester museum in March 1945 to commemorate the centenary of Linwood's death, which notes:

    Salvator Mundi after Carlo Dolci
    (Bequeathed by Miss Linwood to H.M. Queen Victoria. From the Collections at Windsor Castle, lent by gracious permission of H.M. The King)

    This provenance was reiterated 6 years later, in 1951, at another exhibition held in Linwood's home town of Leicester


    Hanover Square Concert Rooms (second room): 1797, 1798, 1800, 1802 (possibly) and 1809-10

    Leicester Square Gallery (variously in the third room and scripture room): 1810 (possibly), 1812, 1813, 1817, 1819, 1820, 1822, 1830, 1835 and 1840

  • Medium and techniques

    Silk, wood and glass


    93.6 x 76.5 cm (whole object)