English School, Portrait of a Man in Black with Red Hair and Lace Collar, possibly John Strangways

Photo courtesy of Dave Penman (All Rights Reserved)


Country House
Mells Manor
Portrait of a Man in Black with Red Hair and Lace Collar, possibly John Strangways
Medium and support
Oil on canvas
Overall height: 75 cm, Overall width: 62 cm
English School
Catalogue Number


Both the identity of the sitter and the artist of this portrait are unknown but it can be dated to 1660–70 by the distinctive two-part linen and lace collar. This style was fashionable during the 1660s and can be seen in portraits of Archibald Campbell, 9th Earl of Argyll (1660s, National Portrait Gallery, London, NPG 3902) and the poet Abraham Cowley by Sir Peter Lely (1666–7, NPG 4215).

The sitter’s apparent age suggests a birth date of around 1625–35. This falls between generations of the Horner family but the subject may possibly be John Strangways (1636–1676), MP for Bridport, who died without issue and left his estate of about £5000 per annum to his younger brother Thomas. The estate passed through Thomas’s daughter Susanna into the Horner family. It has not been framed as part of the set of Horner family portraits (MM32, MM35, MM36, MM42, and MM43), making it likely that it passed into the family at a later date, perhaps as part of the Strangways inheritance.

by Amy Lim

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