Edward Wortley Montagu was appointed the British Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire in 1716. He occupied this post for two years, before being recalled to Britain in 1718. His reputation remains overshadowed by that of his wife, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, known for her literary works, and for her pioneering advocacy of inoculation against smallpox. Edward pursued a career in politics and was the Member of Parliament for Huntington from 1705 to 1713. When appointed British Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire in 1716, he and his young family set out across Europe to Constantinople. He had hoped to use his time as Ambassador to broker peace between the Ottoman and Austrian empires. After being recalled to Britain in 1718, Edward purchased houses in the fashionable areas of Covent Garden and Twickenham, resumed his political activities, and pursued his business interests in Yorkshire.
John Vanderbank, portraitist, history painter and illustrator, was born in London, the son of a tapestry weaver of the same name. From 1711, he studied at Kneller's Academy and, in 1720, established an academy of his own with French painter Louis Cheron, in St. Martin's Lane. The academy closed after May 1724, when Vanderbank fled to France to avoid imprisonment for debts. He studiously copied the work of Rubens and Van Dyck and was considered a gifted portraitist. However, he ruined a promising career through intemperate living. From 1724 to 1729 he was repeatedly in debt and detained in Fleet prison. His chief book illustrations were 68 plates for ‘Don Quixote’ (1738). He died of at his home in Holles Street aged 45, leaving a wife, Anne.
Sir Edward Wortley Montagu (1678-1761) politician and diplomat; Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire 1716-18
Oil on canvas
height: 124.00 cm, width: 99.00 cm
Purchased from Christie's, 5 July 1949
bl: Edward Wortley Montague / Ambassador at Constantinople / 1730
Collection of Montagu Henry Edmund Cecil Towneley-Bertie, 13th Earl of Lindsey and 8th Earl of Abingdon (1887-1963) and Elizabeth Valetta Towneley-Bertie, Countess of Abingdon, of Highcliffe Castle, Dorset; by whom sold through Christie’s, London, on 7 July 1949, ‘Contents of Highcliffe Castle’ sale (Lot 803), as ‘attributed to Vanmour’; from which sale purchased by ‘Walker’ (Richard Walker) on behalf of the Ministry of Works
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