Mabel Lee Hankey (1867-1943)

As Mabel Hobson, she was one of the most successful British portrait miniaturists of late nineteenth century. She exhibited at the Royal Miniature Society, the Royal Society of British Artists, the Society of Women Artists and over seventy at the Royal Academy. She married the marine painter William Lee Hankey in 1889 and began exhibiting professionally under her married name. Her clientele were drawn from the great British aristocratic houses, but her most important commission came in 1905 from the Countess of Strathmore and Kinghorne. She was to paint her daughter, Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, later Queen Elizabeth and then the Queen Mother. The result was exhibited at the Royal Academy and is now in the Royal Collection. Subsequently Mabel returned time and again to paint various family members. In 1923 the Countess commissioned a miniature portrait of Lady Elizabeth in evening dress, it was set in an elaborate, jewelled frame and presented to Prince Albert, Duke of York on their marriage. The painting was kept on the writing desk of the late Queen Elizabeth II in her private sitting room at Windsor Castle. In 1942 Queen Elizabeth commissioned portraits of the Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret, and another portrait of herself.
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