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George Jeffreys, 1st Baron Jeffreys of Wem

2 of 14 portraits of George Jeffreys, 1st Baron Jeffreys of Wem

George Jeffreys, 1st Baron Jeffreys of Wem, by John Michael Wright, circa 1680 -NPG 56 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Later Stuart Portraits Catalogue

George Jeffreys, 1st Baron Jeffreys of Wem

after John Michael Wright
circa 1680
49 3/4 in. x 40 1/4 in. (1264 mm x 1022 mm)
NPG 56

Inscriptionback to top

The scroll is lettered SENATUS/POPULUS/QUE/LONDONIE/NSIS

This portraitback to top

E. K. Waterhouse, The Dictionary of 16th & 17th Century British Painters, 1988, p 46 as attributed to Claret.
This portrait depends upon the earlier Wright pattern, repeating the pose, chair and the background shelving with its ledgers and scrolls, but showing Jeffreys in a full wig and the red robe of the recorder of London, an office he assumed in 1678, three years after NPG 6047 was painted. NPG 56 was received in 1858 as by Closterman; called Kneller by 1884, listed as unknown by 1920 and attributed to Claret in 1963 (an attribution first suggested in 1912 by Collins Baker who was unaware of the dependence on Wright). [1]
In 1876 Scharf saw a version ‘at Waters who purchased it of Dalgleish in Holborn’; [2] another was sold by the trustees of Nicholas Meynell, Christie’s, 11 November 1994, lot 4. A copy was with Lord Jeffreys. [3]

Footnotesback to top

1) ‘The full-face pose, the type, the cumbrously painted lace, the drawing of the eyes and the peculiar structure of the wrists certainly, in my opinion, point to William Claret’ - yet several of these characteristics arise through pedantic imitation of Wright.
2) Scharf note on file (7 June 1876).
3) G. W. Keeton, Jefferys, 1965, pl.2a; he lists, p 513, another version ‘now in the United States’ and illustrates, pl.2b, a modern copy with the Judge Jeffreys Restaurant/Lodgings, Dorchester.

Referenceback to top

Collins Baker 1912
C. H. Collins Baker, Lely and the Stuart Portrait Painters, 1912, II, p 72, attributed to Claret.

Piper 1963
D. Piper, Catalogue of the Seventeenth Century Portraits in the National Portrait Gallery 1625-1714, 1963, p 179 as attributed to Claret.

Waterhouse 1988
E. K. Waterhouse, The Dictionary of 16th & 17th Century British Painters, 1988, p 46 as attributed to Claret.

Provenanceback to top

W. Jeffreys (‘Lord Chancellor Jeffreys … by Closterman … an old family picture’);1 Henry Graves, from whom purchased 1858.

1 Letter from Francis Graves (brother of Henry Graves) to Scharf, 17 November 1858 (NPG archive); Graves appeared to have acquired the portrait from W. Jeffreys.


This extended catalogue entry is from the National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue: John Ingamells, National Portrait Gallery: Later Stuart Portraits 1685-1714, National Portrait Gallery, 2009, and is as published then. For the most up-to-date details on individual Collection works, we recommend reading the information provided in the Search the Collection results on this website in parallel with this text.

View all known portraits for George Jeffreys, 1st Baron Jeffreys of Wem

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