studio of Peter Lely, Lady Mary Ashe (1632–1705)

Photo courtesy of Tom St Aubyn (All rights reserved)


Country House
Raynham Hall
Lady Mary Ashe (1632–1705)
The Belisarius Room
Medium and support
Oil on canvas
Overall height: 124 cm, Overall width: 100 cm
studio of Peter Lely (1618-1680)
Catalogue Number
  • Inscribed: ‘Ly Ashe’


Mary, Lady Ashe was born in 1632, the daughter of Robert Wilson, a London merchant, and his wife Katherine Rudd. She married, before 1658, Sir Joseph Ashe, 1st Baronet and also a successful merchant. She bore him three children, of whom the eldest, Mary, married Horatio, 1st Viscount Townshend in 1673. Mary Ashe died on 27 November 1705. 

This portrait is identical in pose and backdrop to a portrait by Lely of Lady Anne Montague, known through mezzotints (National Portrait Gallery, NPG D30544 and NPG D30542). It is a pendant to that of Lord Ashe (RN65) also by or after Lely, both painted in the mid-1660s. Versions of both also hang at Felbrigg Hall, home of their daughter Katherine who married William Windham I. The versions of Mary Ashe at Raynham and Felbrigg are clearly by different hands. That at Raynham appears to be of better execution and may be a Lely studio copy. Lely also painted both Ashe daughters, Mary and Katherine, whose portraits can be found at Felbrigg. A version of that of Mary, Viscountess Townshend, previously hung at Raynham. 

This painting is in one of a set of four elaborate frames (see also RN1, RN2 and RN65) that were designed to hang as overdoors in the Belisarius Room, although these may not be the paintings that originally hung in these frames.

by Amy Lim


Prince Frederick Duleep Singh, Portraits in Norfolk Houses, ed. Rev. Edmund Farrer, vol. 2, Norwich : Jarrold and Sons, 1928, vol. 2, p. 224, no. 2 (‘LADY ASHE’)

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