Unknown Child

Louisa Anne Beresford (née Stuart), Marchioness of Waterford (1818-1891)


(?) Ink and sepia

4 7/8 in. x 3 1/2 in. (125 mm x 88 mm)

© National Portrait Gallery, London (NPG D23146[75])

Given by Anne Horatia (née Richmond), Lady Piper, 1994

Courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery, London

Beresford was especially good at evoking childhood innocence, escaping sentimentality by her keen observation of the individual and her skill at figure-drawing. Taken from a sketchbook of 1887-88, this looks like the portrait of a child singing, or rather waiting for her turn to sing, in a choir. Some tendrils of her somewhat unruly hair fall forward, the heaviness of it giving weight and solemnity to the intent little face. She holds the large book carefully, apparently keeping her place in the words and music.