This work was sold through Christie’s, London, on 10 February 1900 (Lot 65) by William Frederick Waldegrave, ninth Earl Waldegrave (1851-1930). It is James Sant portrait of Lord Lyndhurst which formed part of the portrait gallery of the friends of Frances, Countess Waldegrave, compiled in imitation of Walpole's own gallery. In 1861, 22 Sant portraits of the friends and relatives of Lady Waldegrave, known as the Strawberry Hill Collection, were exhibited by art dealer Ernest Gambart at his French Gallery in Pall Mall.
When displayed at Strawberry Hill, Lyndhurst's portrait was accompanied by a pendant portrait of the sitter's wife. Although little is known about Countess Waldegrave's Strawberry Hill project today, in a letter to the Countess (now in Somerset Record Office, Taunton) Lord Lyndhurst wrote: ‘you always find me obedient to your commands’, before saying: ‘I venture to answer in the affirmative for L[ad]y L[yndhurst] and for myself if you will make all proper allowances...’. This letter is not dated but it is tempting to think of it as a response to the Countess’s request that the two sit for their portraits to Sant.
James Sant, portrait and genre painter, was born in Croydon, Surrey. In 1842 he entered the Royal Academy Schools. Early in his career, he was commended for his idealised depictions of children. He later became a fashionable portrait painter and was elected a Royal Academician in 1869 and a member of La Regia Accademia Raffaello in Urbino, Italy, in 1877. He was appointed portrait painter to Queen Victoria in 1872 and as such enjoyed the patronage of many noble and landed families in England, although Victoria herself refused to sit to him. He did, however, paint state portraits of the Queen for the embassies of Turkey and Madrid. Sant died at his home in Lancaster Gate, near Hyde Park, at the impressive age of 96.
John Singleton Copley, Baron Lyndhurst (1772-1863) Lord Chancellor
Oil on canvas
height: 77.00 cm, width: 64.50 cm
Purchased from Christie's, 10 February 1900
Collection of Frances Elizabeth Anne Waldegrave, Countess Waldegrave (née Braham; later married name Parkinson-Fortescue; 1821-1879) of Strawberry Hill, Twickenham, and part of a collection of 22 James Sant portraits of Waldegrave’s friends and relatives known as the ‘Strawberry Hill Collection’; by descent to William Frederick Waldegrave, ninth Earl Waldegrave (1851-1930); by whom sold through Christie’s, London, on 10 February 1900 (Lot 65); from which sale purchased by ‘Bailey’ on behalf of the Office of Works
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