Leveson-Gower, Elizabeth (1765 -1839)

This stamp was difficult to identify, but Anthony Pincott of the Bookplate Society has suggested with some authority that it belonged to Elizabeth Countess of Gower before she was became Marchioness of Stafford in 1803, and subsequently Duchess of Sutherland in 1833.

Elizabeth was born in 1765 to William Sutherland, 18th Earl of Sutherland and his wife Mary, daughter and coheir of William Maxwell.  Both parents died of “putrid fever” in 1766, and being the only surviving child, Elizabeth succeeded to her father's estates and titles.

In 1785 she married George Granville Leveson-Gower, Viscount Trentham, and bore 4 children. From 1786 to 1803 he was elevated to Earl Gower, and from 1803 to 1832 – just 6 months before his death – he became Duke of Sutherland. Elizabeth lived a further 7 years after her husband’s death.

She is remembered today for her leading and infamous role in the Highland Clearances which caused so much distress in the north of Scotland. In 1790 she accompanied her husband as Ambassador to France, and was witness to the first few years of the French Revolution.  In 1792 they returned to Britain.  Lady Sutherland's other interests included correspondence with Sir Walter Scott.   She was also a competent artist and left several watercolours of the Sutherland coast and Dunrobin Castle, the family home. She also painted in oils; a series of landscapes of the Orkney Islands were published between 1805 and 1807.

Seat / Residence(s): Dunrobin Castle Sutherland
Library Auction Details: Sotheby, Wilkinson & Hodge (10 March 1892.)