Francis North was educated at Cambridge and called to the bar in 1655. He was successively Solicitor-General, Attorney-General, Chief-Justice of the Court of Common Pleas, privy councillor and Lord Chancellor. He was named Baron Guilford in 1683 and was known as a learned lawyer and a reformer.
Another version of this portrait, also attributed to portraitist John Riley, is in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery (NPG), London. It is about the same size as this work and is identical in composition. However, the velvet of the chair and the swathe of fabric to the right are a rich brown colour, rather than blue. The finer detailing of the NPG portrait suggests it is the original work.
John Riley, born in London, was justly described by Horace Walpole as one of the best native painters who had then flourished in England. However, his talents have been somewhat obscured by the fame of Kneller. Charles II sat for Riley (his three-quarter length portrait is now in the Bodleian Library, Oxford) and, in 1689, Riley was jointly appointed ‘Principal Painter’ to William III and Queen Mary, with Kneller. Riley's pupils included Anthony Russell, Edward Gouge, Thomas Murray and Jonathan Richardson Riley the elder. He died in London and was buried in Bishopsgate Church in the City.
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.