possibly Cornelius Johnson, Mildmay Fane, 2nd Earl of Westmorland (1602–1666)

Photo courtesy of Tom St Aubyn (All rights reserved)


Country House
Raynham Hall
Mildmay Fane, 2nd Earl of Westmorland (1602–1666)
The Music Room
Medium and support
Oil on canvas
Overall height: 71 cm, Overall width: 59 cm
possibly Cornelius Johnson (1593-1661)
Catalogue Number


Mildmay Fane, 2nd Earl of Westmorland, politician and poet, was born on 24 January 1602, eldest son of Sir Francis Fane and his wife Mary Mildmay. He married firstly, in July 1626, Grace Thornhurst, with whom he had six children, and secondly, in June 1638, Mary Vere (RN16), widow of Sir Roger Townshend, 1st Baronet of Raynham, with whom he had a further seven children.

Fane was returned as an MP to four parliaments: for Peterborough in 1620, 1626 and 1628 and for Kent in 1625, succeeding to the earldom in 1629. He was admitted a knight of the Bath at the coronation of Charles I on 1 February 1626 and the king stood godfather to his eldest son. On the outbreak of the Civil War, he joined the king and was briefly imprisoned in 1643. He lived in political retirement until the Restoration in 1660 when he served as a lord lieutenant of Northamptonshire until his death on 12 February 1666. 

Encouraged by Robert Herrick, Fane published his volume of verse Otia Sacra in 1648. Further poems found among his manuscripts at Apethorpe Hall were published in 2001; he also wrote eight plays and masques. A head-and-shoulders portrait of Fane, in black dress, wearing a skull cap and white lawn collar, was in the Townshend Heirlooms sale of 1904.1

The date of the present portrait – 1633 – can be faintly made out in the lower right-hand corner, with an indecipherable signature. This may be Cornelius Johnson, who also painted both of Fane’s parents and his wife. However, a portrait of Fane previously at Apethorpe, dated 1633 and attributed, possibly incorrectly, to Johnson, is demonstrably by a different hand (Mildmay Fane, 2nd Earl of Westmorland, 1640, Emmanuel College, Cambridge). Unusually, Fane is not wearing his sash of a knight of the Bath.

by Amy Lim


  1. Townshend Heirlooms sale, Christie’s, London, 7 March 1904, p. 35 (140). See also Singh, 1928, vol. 2, p. 202, no. 26. It was sold by Lady Townshend, widow of Colonel Charles Vere Ferrers Townshend, Christie’s, London, 4 July 1947 (2), as William Dobson. There is an engraving of the portrait in a cartouche, dated 1662, depicting Fane with a map of Lincolnshire behind, showing his estates at Apethorpe and Hull, by Peter Williamson, and a stipple engraving of the portrait dating from the early 19th century (National Portrait Gallery, NPG D8277 and D28233).


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