Dorothy Boyle, Countess of Burlington (Biographical details)

Dorothy Boyle, Countess of Burlington (painter/draughtsman; British; Female; 1699 - 1758)

Also known as

Boyle, Dorothy; Burlington; Savile, Dorothy


Dorothy Boyle, Countess of Burlington; amateur painter and draughtswoman; elder daughter and co-heiress with her sister of William Saville, 2nd Marquess of Halifax, m. Richard Boyle, 3rd Earl of Burlington, the 'Architect Earl' and privy councillor,(1694-1753) bringing considerable wealth to the marriage; their time divided between Burlington House, Piccadilly, Chiswick House and Londesborough, East Riding of Yorkshire. She had three daughters, Dorothy, Juliana (died in infancy) and Charlotte-Elizabeth (later Duchess of Devonshire); appointed Lady of the Bedchamber to Queen Caroline; taught drawing and painting by the artist, designer and landscape gardener William Kent, who had trained as a painter in Rome and who lived with the couple for thirty years, and of whom she executed a portrait which Vertue considered to be 'much more like than that done by Aikman'; Kent's drawings of Lady Burlington at her easel indicate that they painted together and he gave her advice; the King's portrait painter, Charles Jervas may also have taught her. Horace Walpole summarises her talents: 'She had no less attachment to the arts than her lord. She drew in crayons, and succeeded admirably in likenesses; but working with too much rapidity did not do justice to her genius. She had an uncommon talent too for caricatura'. Patroness of the opera and of Handel; also friendship and patronage for David Garrick; friend of Alexander Pope (sketched Pope playing cards); many of her works still at Chatsworth, four portraits in oils, including one of the Princess Amelia, and three of her own daughters; eleven other portraits in oils of unknown female sitters; red and black chalk studies of Ladies Dorothy and Charlotte Boyle as children, in frames designed by Kent; appears herself holding palette of oil colours, in large family group with Lord Burlington and their two daughters by J B van Loo, seen by Vertue in c.1739, still in the Devonshire Coll. at Lismore Castle. Daughter Charlotte married William Cavendish marquess of Hartington, later 4th Duke of Devonshire and died in 1754 leaving four children; it is through that marriage that drawings and correspondence is at Chatsworth.
Lady Burlington died at Chiswick House 21 September 1758.


E. Croft-Murray, unpublished notes in the Dept. Prints & Drawings, BM;
Witt Library; information communicated by Thomas Wragg;
Angelo, I, pp. 316, 407;
S. Jenkins, 'Lady Burlington at Court', Lord Burlington: the man and his politics,, ed. E Corp (1998), 149-79;
M. de Novelis, Pallas Unveil'd, The Life and Art of Lady Dorothy Savile, countess of Burlington (1699-1758), 1999 exhibition catalogue, Orleans House Gallery, Twickenham;
J. Harris, William Kent, 1685-1748: a poet on paper (1998), exhibition catalogue, Sir John Soane's Museum, London 30 Octo - 19 Dec 1998;
J.D. Hunt, William Kent: landscape garden designer (1987) illlustr. catalogue of Kent's landscape and related drawings, pp. 109-71
Archives at Chatsworth House, Derbyshire