LADY ROBERT CLIVE OF INDIA
19 x 7¾ ins. glazed in a gilt mount, a contemporary inscription on the reverse reads "Margaret Lady Clive Daughter of Edmund Maskelyne married Robt. Lord Clive sister of Nevil Maskelyne Astronomer Royal",
The Collection at Powis Castle has the well known Nathaniel Dance portrait of Lady Margaret Clive in formal dress, and another miniature of her as a young woman. There is one other image comparable to this portrait of her in older age, a miniature attributed to George Englehart, in the Clive Collection displayed in the Ball Room at Powis Castle. Margaret Maskelyne, sister of Nevil Maskelyne later Astronomer Royal, was brought up in a family with close East India Company connections. Her brother Edmund was stationed in Madras and was a close friend of Robert Clive, Commander in Chief of British India who established the military and political supremacy of the East India Company in Bengal. Legend has it that Clive was shown a miniature portrait of Margaret and was captivated by it. When she arrived in India in 1751 there followed a six month courtship and she married Clive in Madras on the 18th February 1753 four months after her 18th birthday. There were two further periods of service for Clive in India. From 1755-1760 when he was consolidating the British position both Military and Political in Bengal he was accompanied by his wife. The Clives returned to Britain in 1760 fabulously wealthy and much envied. Lady Margaret had 9 children of whom 5 who died at birth or very young. Her eldest son Edward, later the First Earl Powis, was born in 1754 and outlived his mother. The other 3 all died before their mother. After the first period in India from 1755-60, she remained in Britain playing an active role in supervising her husband's political and financial affairs. She attended Court in 1765, and in that year she gave a remarkable soiree at the Clive home in Berkley Square, where the young Mozart appeared with the Italian catrato Manzuoli. After Clive's death in 1774, she retired to Okley Park in Shropshire, following her interests surrounded by an extensive collection of telescopes, globes, and cats.
Her Anglo-Indian interests were revived in 1797 when her son Edward Clive the first Earl of Powis, was appointed Governor of Madras.
Stock ref: 14320