William Hoare, Charles Townshend, 3rd Viscount (1700–1764)

Photo courtesy of Matthew Hollow (All rights reserved)


Country House
Raynham Hall
Charles Townshend, 3rd Viscount (1700–1764)
The Morning Room
Medium and support
Pastel on paper
William Hoare (1707-1792)
Catalogue Number


Charles Townshend, 3rd Viscount Townshend (1700–1764) was the son of the 2nd Viscount Townshend (1675–1738) and his first wife Elizabeth Pelham (1681–1711). Townshend held a number of different offices. He was MP for Great Yarmouth (1722–3), lord of the bedchamber (1723–7), master of the Jewel House (1730–9), lord lieutenant of Norfolk (1730–8) and high steward of Norwich Cathedral (1738 until his death). In 1723, he married Ethelreda Townshend née Harrison (c.1708–1788) but the marriage was unhappy and they separated around 1740–1. Following his wife’s move to London, he remained at Raynham and fathered three more children with his mistress. He went on to publish a book on trade and endowed a charity school at Raynham. He died and was buried there in 1764.

RN50 was probably painted in the 1750s when William Hoare was in Bath following a brief period in London; the wig and dress are typical of men’s fashion around this time. The complexion of the sitter’s face is slightly dulled by losses to the pastel surface. Around this time, Hoare became popular with many political families including the Pitts, Grenvilles and Pelhams but this is the only portrait he made of a Townshend.

Hoare (c.1707–1792) was born near Eye, Suffolk, and received his education in Faringdon, Berkshire. He showed an early aptitude for drawing and so he was sent to London to study under Giuseppe Grisoni, an Italian painter who had come to London in 1715 to forge a career as a portraitist. When Grisoni returned to Italy, Hoare went with him and stayed for nine years. He returned to London in 1737 but later settled in Bath to take advantage of tourism in the city and the potential for portrait commissions. Hoare painted in oil and pastel and also made a number of engravings. At the specific request of George III, he became a founder member of the Royal Academy. Hoare died in Bath in 1792. His son, Prince Hoare, was a painter and dramatist and his daughter, Mary, also practised as an artist.

by Emily Knight

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