Portrait of Colonel Francis Russell c. 1690; Attributed to John Riley.
By Roy Precious From United Kingdom
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Oil on canvas in carved and giltwood period frame, bears the inscription "Francis Russell, Son of the Hon. Edwd Russell".
The sitter wears a fashionable and costly wig and an even more expensive cravat of Venetian 'gros-point' lace. In 1685 Charles II ordered three cravats of such lace at a total cost of £94....equivalent to over £16000 today!
Colonel FRANCIS RUSSELL was the son of the Hon. Edward Russell and Penelope Brooke, widow of Sir William Brooke KB, of Sterborough Castle, Surrey, and Cowling Castle, Kent, and daughter of Sir Moyses Hill, of Hillsborough, County Down.
Francis was the grandson of Francis Russell, 2nd Baron Russell of Thornhaugh later 4th Earl of Bedford, PC.
The sitter's uncle was the Hon. William Russell, later 5th Earl of Bedford, later 1st Duke of Bedford.
Colonel Francis Russell married on the 30th April 1691 the Hon. Catherine North, widow of
(1) Sir Edward Moseley, 2nd Bt. MP, of Hough, co. Lancaster, and Rolleston, co. Stafford, and
(2) Charles [North], 1st Baron Grey of Rolleston and 5th Baron North), 2nd daughter of William [Grey], 1st Baron Grey of Warke, by his wife Cecilia Wentworth, daughter of Sir John Wentworth, of Gosfield, Essex.
Russell held the office of Governor of Barbados between 1694 and 1696. He died in October 1696.
JOHN RILEY, or Ryley, (1646– March 1691) was an English portrait painter. He painted portraits of Charles II and James II, and was Court Painter to William III and Mary II. One of his pupils was Jonathan Richardson.
Riley was born in London, one of the sons of William Riley or Ryley, Lancaster herald and keeper of the records in the Tower of London, who was created Norroy king-at-arms under the Commonwealth, but reverted to his herald's office at the Restoration.
Riley studied painting under Isaac Fuller and Gerard Soest, and from the latter learnt a forcible, straightforward style of portraiture which rendered his portraits noteworthy.
Riley did not attain much eminence until the death of Sir Peter Lely, when courtier and royal official Thomas Chiffinch sat for him, and was so much pleased with his portrait that he showed it to the king. Charles II gave Riley some commissions, and eventually himself sat for him. During one sitting he is said to have remarked to Riley, "Is this like me? Then oddsfish I'm an ugly fellow". Riley also painted James II and his queen, and, on the accession of William and Mary, he was appointed Court Painter.
Riley was said to be a quiet, modest man, very diffident of his own art, but his portraits are truthful and lifelike. With more self-confidence he might have attained to the position of Lely or Kneller. He was assisted in painting his draperies and accessories by John Closterman, who finished several of Riley's pictures after his death.
Riley, who suffered very much from gout, died in March 1691, and was buried in the church of St. Botolph, Bishopsgate.
SIZE: 31 x 26 inches inc. frame.
PROVENANCE: Collection of a Titled Family, Yorkshire Dales. (The same collection as the Portrait of a Lady by Thomas Murray also on this website, also the portrait of Henrietta Maria).
Verso: old inventory number '58'.
We specialise in portraits from the 16th to the early 20th century, we also stock some 17th and 18th century ship paintings, furniture of the 17th and 18th centuries, and other artefacts dating from 200 B.C. to the 20th century.We have sold to many important collections including The Historic Royal Palaces collection and The Yale Center for British Art. Viewing is by appointment, or an arrangement can be made for the item to be brought to your home for inspection.