1742. Oil on canvas. The Frick Collection, New York, USA. Read Note.
Mary Edwards (1705-1743), the richest heiress of her day with full power over her own estate. In 1731 she, secretly married Lord Anne Hamilton, who owed his exceptional Christian name to his godmother Queen Ann. Shortly afterwards he assumed the name of Edwards. The family did not last long. Finding out that her husband's way of life could dissipate her fortune, Mary Edwards repudiated her marrige to protect her son's interests and her own. (See also the portrait of their baby son Gerald Anne Edwards) The separation was ratified by a deed returning property from Lord Anne to Mary. She was one of Hogarth’s loyallest patrons. It was at the request of Mary that Hogarth returned to satirical painting.
See: William Hogarth. Gerard Anne Edwards in His Cradle. Mary Edwards.