Joshua Reynolds, Lord and Lady Pollington, Later Earl and Countess of Mexborough, with their Son

Photo courtesy of Dave Penman (All rights reserved)


Country House
Doddington Hall
Lord and Lady Pollington, Later Earl and Countess of Mexborough, with their Son
Long Gallery
Medium and support
Oil on canvas
Overall height: 258 cm, Overall width: 290 cm
Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792)
Catalogue Number


Portrait of John Savile, Lord Pollington (1719–1778), Sarah, Lady Pollington (née Hussey Delaval) (1742–1821), in coronation robes, with their son, John (1761–1830). John Savile, who married Sarah Delaval in January 1760, had been raised to the peerage of Ireland as Lord Pollington of Longford in 1753. In February 1766 he was created first Earl of Mexborough of Lifford, County Donegal. As Mannings notes, sittings are recorded in Reynolds’s pocket book for Lord and Lady Pollington in November and December 1761, and again for Lady Pollington in 1762. (The 1763 pocket book is missing). Mannings observes that in the week beginning 2 April 1764 Reynolds made a note of Lady Pollington’s name and address in Downing Street, Westminster against the number ‘10’. Mannings stated that the significance of the number is unclear – since Reynolds had sittings in his studio at 9.00 a.m. and 10.30 a.m. that morning. However, the reference is probably to the house number, which was 10 Downing Street. It may be, therefore, that Reynolds intended to pay a visit to Lady Pollington, perhaps in relation to the incorporation of the figure of her son, which we know was a later addition.

The portrait has probably hung in the Long Gallery at Doddington since it was commissioned by Reynolds. In 1984 it was allocated to Leeds City Art Gallery through the Acceptance in Lieu scheme, to remain in situ at Doddington Hall.1 A full-size replica of the left part of Reynolds’s composition, containing Lady Pollington and her son only, belongs to Lord Mexborough. The latter picture has the same frame design as Reynolds’s original group portrait at Doddington, suggesting that it was made around the same time. Although the replica is clearly not by Reynolds, it is possible that it was produced by a member of his studio.

by Martin Postle


R.E.G. Cole, History of Doddington, otherwise Doddington-Pigot, in the County of Lincoln, and its successive owners, with pedigrees, Lincoln : James Williamson, 1897, p. 225

David Mannings and Martin Postle, Joshua Reynolds: A Complete Catalogue of his Paintings, 2 vols., New Haven and London : Yale University Press, 2000, vol. 1, no. 1577, pp. 404–5


  1. For further information on the Acceptance in Lieu scheme see (accessed 2 November 2017).


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