Allan Ramsay's portrait of Martha, Countess of Elgin.
(1762. Oil on canvas. Earl of Elgin and Kincardine collection, Scotland)
Lord Elgin's mother was a royal governess; an educated woman she was able to exert influence at court. George III admired the way she was raising his own grand-daughter and wondered about her Elgin children - he made enquiries, and his attention helped Elgin's career.
Thanks to this influence, Elgin went to Istanbul, then on to Athens, where he was able to save the Pathenon sculptures from destruction.
Labels: Elgin Marbles