Eleanor Vere Boyle (née Gordon)

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

3 3/8 in. x 5 7/8 in. (87 mm x 150 mm)

Watercolour and pencil

21 July 1888

© National Portrait Gallery, London (NPG D23146[50])

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

Courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery, London

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Louisa and Eleanor were good friends. Both were in the highest social rank, and were talented artists who had been noticed by Ruskin and the Pre-Raphaelites. Eleanor was especially known for her illustrations of fairytales and other children's books, but now she was devoting herself to books about gardening — which were also very popular. Louisa had invited her to her home at Highcliffe Castle that summer, and found her "very charming and imaginative" (Hare 457), and that is exactly what comes out in this lively little sketch. Eleanor holds what seems to be an elaborate floral display, and the scene has clearly caught Louisa's eye.