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Painting Title James Butler, Duke of Ormonde
Collection York Art Gallery
Artist Studio ofLely, Peter (Dutch painter and draftsman, 1618-1680, active in England)
Date Earliest about 1670
Date Latest about 1688
Description

A three-quarter length portrait facing half right, in black armour, with full-length wig. The sitter holds a baton in his right hand, his left hand is on his hip, and his plumed helmet on the left and the base of a classical pillar are shown in the background. James FitzThomas Butler (1610-1688) was 1st Duke of Ormonde, 12th Earl of Ormond, 5th Earl of Ossory, 1st Marquess of Ormonde, and 1st Earl of Brecknock. There are many portraits of the 1st Duke - the most famous one (copied several times) is by Peter Lely, depicting the Duke full-length in robes of the Order of the Garter, to which he was appointed in 1661, (a version from 1678 is in Kedleston Hall, Derbyshire, National Trust Collection). The Duke was also painted in armour in several versions: there is a painting by William Wissing (dated 1680-85, kept in the National Portrait Gallery in London), and one by Kneller ('... an engraving by White, after a picture by Kneller' reproduced in The Story Of Ireland by Emily Lawless, 1885, p. 25).

The inscription 'James Duke of Ormont / Grandfr to the / Honble Elizth Wentworth', is likely to be a later addition.

Current Accession Number YORAG : 472
Inscription front lr 'James Duke of Ormont / Grandfr to the / Honble Elizth Wentworth'
Subject portrait (James Butler, Duke of Ormond)
Measurements 146 x 99 cm (estimate)
Material oil on canvas
Acquisition Details Given by J.B. Morrel 1949.
Provenance Cholmley family, Howsham; by descent to Hon. Mrs. Strickland of Howsham Hall; Strickland sale, Howsham Hall, 3 November 1948, lot 664, purchased by J. B. Morrel.
Publications Morris, F.O., The county seats of the noblemen and gentlemen of Great Britain and Ireland, vol. V, 1866, p. 12 as by Lely; Lord Hawkesbury , ‘East Riding portraits', The Transactions of the East Riding Antiquarian Society, Vol. 10, 1903, p. 43, no. 19 as by Lely, 1680; York Art Gallery Catalogue - Catalogue of Paintings vol. II: English School 1500-1850, City of York Art Gallery, York, 1963, pp. 60-61, pl. 7 as by studio of Lely; PREVIEW. City of York Art Gallery Quarterly, 74, April 1966, vol. XX, pp. 693-694; Oil Paintings in Public Ownership. North Yorkshire, London, 2006, p. 304.
Notes

The painting has a stock mark on the back '198CG' of Christie, Manson & Woods, London; it was sent to them in 1914 but returned to the owners without appearing in a sale.

The sitter's daughter, Mary Butler, married William Cavendish, Duke of Devonshire; their daughter, Elizabeth Cavendish, born in 1671, married Sir John Wentworth of Elmsal, the 1st Baronet, in 1708. He died in 1720. They had one son, Sir Butler Cavendish Wentworth, but he died childless in 1741, only 4 months after Elizabeth's death. Then the title became extinct and the estate passed to his step-sister, Catherine Wentworth, who married Hugh Cholmley of Whitby Abbey. The painting was mentioned in the Howsham collection in the 19th century; interestingly, the inscription was then read as if Duke of Ormond was not a grandfather but a godfather of Elizabeth Wentworth. Apparently later generations of the Cholmley family were not aware of Elizabeth's position as they assumed that the Duke of Ormond was her godfather instead of an actual ancestor. Or perhaps there was a family tradition that the portrait was a christening gift for Elizabeth - that would mean it could be dated 1671, which is very probable.

John Bowes Morrell (1873-1963) was a member of York City Council, and twice Lord Mayor; as Chairman of the Art Gallery Committee he played a major role in the establishment of the Castle Museum. He campaigned for the foundation of the University of York. He gave his collection of various paintings, drawings and prints to the Art Gallery in York.

Rights Owner York Museums Trust (York Art Gallery)
Author Dr Magdalena Łanuszka
 

 

 

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