Lady Sarah Bunbury Sacrificing to the Graces

Sir Joshua Reynolds (after), 1723 - 1792

Lady Sarah Bunbury Sacrificing to the Graces

Sir Joshua Reynolds (after) 1723 - 1792


Lady Sarah Bunbury is depicted in a Roman style gown surrounded by the art and artefacts of classical antiquity, She is cast in the role of devotee of the Three Graces, the mythical companions of Venus, the Roman goddess of love and beauty, to whom she is shown offering a sacrifice. Lady Bunbury was known to enjoy dressing up as classical figures, often performing in private theatre recitals with family and friends. She is assisted here by a servant kneeling behind her. Lady Sarah Bunbury (1745-1826) was the daughter of Charles Lennox, 2nd Duke of Richmond and Lady Sarah Cadogan. Charles' father was the illegitimate son of King Charles II and half-brother to King George II so the Lennox family had royal heritage and all the privileges which came with it. Charles and Sarah were Lord and Lady of the Bedchamber to George II and Queen Caroline between 1724 and 1737. Following the death of her parents in 1751 when she was only six years old, Lady Sarah was raised by her sister Emily in Ireland until she was old enough to marry (at the age of 15 in late 18th century society). Lady Sarah was the youngest of four aristocratic daughters often referred to as the Lennox Sisters, known for their beauty and intelligence They were the great granddaughters of King Charles II of England. When Lady Sarah was 15, she was formally presented at the royal court to her great-uncle George II. She was one of the bridesmaids to Queen Charlotte and, it was said, much admired by the future King George III. However she married Sir Thomas Charles Bunbury in 1762 instead. He was the wealthy heir to the Bunbury baronetcy and member of the House of Commons. The union was an unhappy one. She had an affair with Lord William Gordon and a daughter, Louisa Bunbury in 1768. She even left her husband for Lord Gordon in 1769 for a few months. In 1776 Bunbury divorced her and in 1781 she married the Hon. George Napier. Their daughter, Emily Napier, married Sir Henry Bunbury, 7th Baronet, in 1830. See the portrait 'Master Bunbury' 1920.359.

Object Name

Lady Sarah Bunbury Sacrificing to the Graces

Date Created


accession number


Place of creation







Dr David Lloyd Roberts bequest, 1920

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