Name: Maria SKERRITT
Given Name: Maria
Death: Jun 1738
Change Date: 5 Apr 2006 at 17:47
FILE: C:\Documents and Settings\David\My Documents\My Pictures\Family Tree Pictures\maria skerret.jpg
Nearly 26 years his junior, Maria Skerett was witty and beautiful. She died after having a miscarriage in 1738, a bitter blow to Walpole.
This reduced version of a full-length copmposition records a lost original portrait by Charles Jervas, and may have been painted in his studio to satisfy a public appetite for portraits of the more famous and notorious women of Georgian society.
Although no portrait of Maria Skerret by Jervas is now known, she would undoubtedly have sat to him during his extensive patronage by Robert Walpole. The Walpoles of Houghton and their allies and relatives the Townshends of Raynham Hall formed the most distinguished part of Jervas’s patronage after the Royal family, and the association was certainly the most lucrative for him. Vertue records these trends of patronage as late as 1737, though Walpole had favoured Jervas for almost three decades: '...other Noblemen do patronize painters also as Ld. Pembroke now Mr Ellis. Sr. Robt. Walpole Mr. Jervis…’
Jervas had painted Walpole c.1708 when he was Secretary for War to Queen Anne, and it was at the urging of Walpole, Charles Townshend and the Duke of Newcastle –all sitters to Jervas- that King George I was persuaded to appoint Jervas to be his Principal Painter. The opportunity the painter was able to exploit later via the chain of Walpole’s influence was considerable, enjoying the favour of the Prime Minister, and through his influence that of Queen Caroline, and by her efforts, that of King George II.
Walpole was famous for the dislike he had for his wife Catherine Shorter, and Maria Skerret lived with him very much as his wife. When Catherine Shorter died of dropsy in August 1737 Walpole was free to marry his mistress, which he did in March the next year. Sadly Maria Skerret did not live to see her husband created Earl of Orford but Walpole used his influence with the King to obtain the precedence of an Earl’s daughter for their illegitimate daughter Maria.
Robert WALPOLE b: 26 Aug 1676 in Houghton Hall, Norfolk
3 Mar 1738
- Change Date:
5 Apr 2006
- Maria WALPOLE