Object Highlight #6 – Portrait of an Unknown Lady

Our next Object Highlight comes to you from our Museum Manager, Hannah and she has selected a very mysterious portrait of an unknown lady.


‘This portrait has such intrigue around it that it had to make its way on to my list of favourite objects. It is a chalk and pencil drawing and though the exact date for the painting is unknown, we can estimate that it was painted somewhere in the mid 19th century. I love that she has a mystery all of her own. In the painting the lady has a knowing look, as if she’s trying to say something, and yet we don’t know and can’t ever know what. There is something of the Mona Lisa about her that really catches your gaze.

portait of a young white lady leaning on a fireplace with a mysterious smile on her face

There are lots of different theories about who she might be, and who the artist may have been. Several years ago we put a call out on social media to see if anyone out there recognised her face or the style of the artist but none of the responses that we got quite fit with the time period suggested by the clothes and style of the portrait. Perhaps one day someone will come in to the Museum and recognise her from somewhere but I like the fact that we will probably never know who she was and just what it was she was smiling about.’

Object Highlight
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