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Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Anonymous donor saves painting for Wimpole Hall


An 18th Century portrait has been returned to Wimpole Hall in Cambridgeshire, days before it was due to be sold at auction.

The Thomas Hudson painting, thought to depict Lady Elizabeth Yorke as a shepherdess, had been on loan to Wimpole for many years.

The National Trust was approached about selling it, but they were unable to raise the necessary funds.

However, thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor, the painting has been rehung at Wimpole.

The painting was rehung on Tuesday

The portrait was commissioned in the late 1740s, when Hudson was at the peak of his success, painting aristocrats and celebrities in his London studio, according to John Chu, senior curator for the National Trust, which owns Wimpole.

Lady Elizabeth lived at Wimpole Hall from the time she was 15 years old until her marriage to Admiral George Anson in 1748. According to the National Trust, she was a writer who was active in politics.

“Thomas Hudson was on everyone’s lips in high society at the time, a ‘go-to’ artist capable of meeting the needs of the wealthy and influential in need of a quality likeness,” Mr Chu said.

“This portrait exemplifies why he was so popular in 18th-century high society.”

“I’m so glad this piece is returning to Wimpole so that our visitors can enjoy its paradoxes and sheer quality for the rest of their lives.”

The National Trust said Lady Elizabeth Yorke was heavily involved in contemporary politics
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