The sitter is Hedvig Elisabeth Charlotta, duchess of Södermanland and later queen of Sweden. I was thrilled to see this portrait, because you always get the same two portraits of her in books et al:
Usually this (by Roslin, where she's wearing her wedding gown, which is currently at display at the Versailles exhibition)
Hedvig Elisabet Charlotta was married to Carl, duke of Södermanland and brother of king Gustaf III, in 1774 when she was but 15 years old.
Carl wasn't exactly thrilled about the marriage but the king and his queen Sofia Magdalena had failed to produce any offspring at all so it was crucial that someone in the royal family carried on with the business.
Ironically, Charlotta's and Carl's marriage was fruitless until 1797 when Charlotta bore a stillborn daughter. One year later she gave birth to a son who died after only a week.
Carl wasn't quite the most faithful of husbands, which his wife knew well enough (as did everyone...) but she would stoically tolerate and/or ignore his affairs (and would at a time dryly confess that his temper was more agreeable when he was happy with one of his mistresses).
Hedvig Charlotta has made herself immortal by her journals which she wrote during the greater part of her life. They are written in the form of monthly bulletins and contain inside information on most important events that took place in the circles of the court and thereabout, as well as the fair dose of lighter gossip.
The 'diaries', as they're usually depicted, were written in French (and a very poor such, or so I've heard...) but were translated into Swedish and published in the early 1900's and is a veritable goldmine for historians and dilettants alike!
Hedvig Elisabeth Charlotta died in 1818, only months after her husband, and had stated in her will that the journals were not to be read until 50 years after her passing.
Anyway, if you find the above portrait to expensive for a gift for little me, there are lots of other yummy 18th c portraits up for auction at Uppsala Auktionskammare next month. Any of them will do, really!
Thanks in advance!