Early Georgian Portraits Catalogue: Chandos

The following text is from the National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue: John Kerslake, Early Georgian Portraits, Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1977 (now out of print). For the most up to date research on the Collection, we recommend reading the information provided in the Search the Collection results on this website in parallel with this text. This can be accessed by following the link with each portrait’s title.

In consulting the following, please note that apart from the reformatting which allows the printed catalogue to be made available on-line the text is as published in 1977. Footnotes in the original edition are given within square brackets.

Contents Foreword Introduction Catalogue scope Abbreviations Arrangement of entries

James Brydges, 1st Duke of Chandos (1674-1744)

9th Baron Chandos of Sudeley. ‘The Princeley Chandos'. Magnate; created Earl of Caernarvon, 1714; Duke of Chandos, 1719; as paymaster-general of the forces abroad, 1707-12, reputedly made the fortune expended on Cannons, Middlesex, ordering 'Mr. Gibbs to rebuild his House and Chapel . . ., which was done at a vast Expence'; [1] the house was auctioned c.1750.

530 By Herman van der Myn, 1725 or before
Oil on canvas, 69 1/4 x 48 ½ in. (1759 x 1232 mm); very dark brown eyes, long greyish wig; white neck-cloth loosely tied, bluish-grey dress highly ornamented and fastened with jewels, gold embroidery, crimson mantle faced with ermine draped about arms and shoulders, blue silk hose and calf-length boots; a ducal coronet by his side, left, and a bowl of fruit at his feet; to the right, part of an easel with canvas on it; bottom right, a blue shoe embroidered with gold visible beneath grey cloth, lit from the left.

On the back of a board attached to the old stretcher: VERA EFFIGIESI OPTIMI

Previously given to Michael Dahl mainly due to the similarity of the head in Simon's mezzotint after this artist. In the light of recent knowledge, however, an attribution to Van der Myn seems more reasonable especially when comparing NPG 530 with his portraits of John Hart, signed and dated 1732, which was at Christie's, 18 July 1941, lot 10; the Thoroton double portrait signed and dated 1731, collection M. Hildyard, 1953, and the 'Unknown Gentleman' last at Christie's, 5 December 1952, lot 122, signed and dated 1729. The last named might almost represent the same sitter as NPG 530. Van Gool saw in London a life-size double portrait by Van der Myn of the Duke and Duchess, the Duchess painting the portrait of her husband in a painting room. [3] The right-hand portion is lost; our very unusual portrait is all that remains of it. [4] Hence NPG 530 is also the portrait seen by Horace Walpole at Cannons, 1744: 'there is an admirable immense picture of her, [the Duchess] drawing the Duke's portrait by one Vandernime [sic]. He is in a Roman habit with buskins and cerulean stockings.' [5] A portrait of the ‘Duke & Dulchess of Chandos by Vandermyne’ is recorded in an inventory of Cannons dated 1725. [6]

Condition: badly damaged, 1941, by enemy action while on loan to the House of Lords; relined, 1955, when a large tear to the right of the head was repaired and losses across the canvas through the waist, stopped, but not then touched in; cleaned, 1975, repaints removed, revealing the Duchess' easel, foot and brush.

Collections: transferred, 1879, from the British Museum to whom presented by James Farquharson, 1762, secretary to Chandos c.1728-44, and a beneficiary under his will.

Literature: J. van Gool, Nieuwe Schouburg der Nederlantsche Kunstschilders en Schilderessen, 1751; F. Rutter, 'Sir Gomer Berry's Paintings at Chandos House', Connoisseur, LXXXIII, 1929; E. Farrer, Portraits in Thornham Hall, 1930; B. Fletcher, ‘Bourton House: The Residence of Miss Ada Theodosia Bligh', Country Life, LXXXVII, 1940; C.H. Collins Baker & M.I. Baker, The Life and Circumstances of James Brydges, 1st Duke of Chandos, 1949.


Although Cannons was dismantled and the collection dispersed after Chandos' death, the iconography is fairly rich and is discussed in some detail by C.H. Collins and M.I. Baker. [7] Farrer describes a number of Brydges portraits brought from Cannons to Thornham Hall (home of the Major and Henniker families) in 1785 by the widow of the 2nd Duke, the Dowager Duchess of Chandos, who was a Major. Briefly, the earliest portraits seem to be that of c.1700 at Thornham Hall (18), possibly by Thomas Hawker or Dahl, and a family group by Kneller, signed and dated 1713, Thornham Hall (19), a version of which is in the National Gallery of Canada. A portrait by Dahl celebrated the acquisition of the earldom of Caernarvon, 1714, the type engraved by Simon the same year. Versions and variants are in the Gomer Berry collection [8] and Thornham Hall (17); others were in the Stowe sale, 4-28 July 1921, lot 1699 and Christie's, 5 April 1963, lot 57, now in the collection of David Verey. There is also at Thornham Hall (16) a three-quarter length in peer's robes by an unknown hand, c.1715.

After NPG 530 of c.1730-40 [Editorial note, 2012: 1725 or before, see above] the next portrait is by Richardson painted around 1742 and sent to Dundrum, Ireland, within the year. An undated miniature in the Buccleuch collection is signed on the back C F Zincke pinxt (CFZ in monogram form); another mentioned in the Strawberry Hill sale, 1842, 14th day, lot 79, 'A present to Horace Walpole from G.S., Earl of Harcourt', was bought by the dealer Rodd. The monument to Chandos and his wives by Grinling Gibbons, 1717, often wrongly attributed to Andries Carpentière, [9] is at Whitchurch, Middlesex. Collins Baker mentions a portrait supposedly of the sitter at Bourton House, Gloucestershire. [10] A portrait was formerly in the collection of Sir Edward Hoskyns, fellow of Corpus Christi, Cambridge, 1916-37, a descendant of the Duke's niece Mary Leigh.


1. Colvin, p.233.
2. (Sic) Scharf, p.95.
3. Van Gool, II, pp.41-2, 44-5.
4. Piper's suggestion, c.1950 (see Condition).
5. The Letters of Horace Walpole, ed. Mrs P. Toynbee, 1903-25, Supplement III, 1925, p.365, and note 17.
6. Collins Baker & Baker, p.164.
7. Ibid, pp.420, 425-6 and notes. The site is now occupied by the North London Collegiate School.
8. Rutter, pp.264-5, reproduced p.260.
9. Also: Andries Carpentier, Charpentier, Charpentière; patronised by Chandos.
10. p.426 note; also Fletcher, p.332.