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The seventeen-year-old Prince of Wales (later George IV) became infatuated with Mrs Robinson (1758–1800) in 1779 on seeing her as Perdita in 'The Winter’s Tale' at the Drury Lane Theatre. ‘Perdita’, as she was thereafter nicknamed, became his first mistress. Towards the end of 1780, the Prince abandoned her for a rival, and she spent the following eight months struggling to persuade him to honour his obligations. Following a financial settlement, relations between the former lovers again became cordial and the Prince commissioned the present portrait. Gainsborough’s bravura handling and the marriage of pose and landscape impart a characteristic poetic dimension to the picture.

The Wallace Collection



Mrs Mary Robinson (Perdita)




oil on canvas


H 233.7 x W 153 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

presented to Francis Ingram Seymour-Conway, 2nd Marquess of Hertford by the Prince Regent, 1818; bequeathed to the nation by Lady Wallace, 1897

Work type



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The Wallace Collection

Hertford House, Manchester Square, London, Greater London W1U 3BN England

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