Francis North, 1st Baron Guilford (1637-1685) Lord Keeper

John Riley (1646 - 1691)

Oil on canvas

  • About the work
    Country: UK
    City: London
    Place: Cabinet Office, 70 Whitehall

    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.

  • About the artist
    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.
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  • Details
    Francis North, 1st Baron Guilford (1637-1685) Lord Keeper
    Oil on canvas
    height: 124.00 cm, width: 100.00 cm
    Purchased from Sabin Galleries, February 1977
    GAC number