AMHERST, Elizabeth (c 1735-1776) nee Patterson. Portrait miniature in pencil and light colour wash (discoloured in field) on card or paper of a lady wearing an indoor bonnet, mounted in a contemporary black wood frame (115 x 130 mm) with a gilt brass oval surround, the reverse with an integral hanging loop and bearing a card with an old ink inscription reading “Mrs Amherst. The Lady of Lieu: Genl. William Amherst. Brother to the Right Honble Lord Amherst. O:H:fct. 1770”.
The sitter Mrs Elizabeth Amherst, was born Elizabeth Patterson in about1735, the daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth Patterson. In 1766 Elizabeth, "a celebrated London beauty", married Lieutenant General William Amherst (1732–1781), who during the Seven Years' War led British forces that defeated a French expedition to Newfoundland at the Battle of Signal Hill. Elizabeth inherited land at Ryde on the Isle of Wight, where in 1769 her husband William Amherst built a fine house named St John’s after his victory in Newfoundland. In the period 1768 to 1774 William was MP for Launceston, and was appointed Adjutant-General to the Forces in 1778. Elizabeth died in 1776, and with William’s death in 1781, their children William Pitt Amherst (later Earl Amherst, of Aracan) and his two sisters moved to Kent under the care of their uncle Jeffrey Amherst, first Baron Amherst (1717–1797). A portrait in oils of Elizabeth Amherst by Allan Ramsey is in the collection of the Mead Art Museum at Amherst College.