attributed to Henry William Pickersgill, Rear-Admiral John 4th Marquess Townshend (1798–1863)

Photo courtesy of Tom St Aubyn (All rights reserved)


Country House
Raynham Hall
Rear-Admiral John 4th Marquess Townshend (1798–1863)
late 1850s–early 1860s
The Belisarius Room
Medium and support
Oil on canvas
Overall height: 125 cm, Overall width: 100 cm
attributed to Henry William Pickersgill (1782-1875)
Catalogue Number


John Townshend, 4th Marquess Townshend was the son of Lord John Townshend (1757–1833) and Georgiana Anne Fawkener (1763–1851), daughter of William Poyntz. In 1825, he married Elizabeth Crichton-Stuart (1803–1877) with whom he had five children. In this portrait he is shown wearing rear-admiral full dress, carrying his tricorn hat in his right hand and his white gloves in his left. His uniform conforms to the new regulations of 1856, which included the curl on the top row of lace on the sleeve. As a result, the portrait must date to some time between 1856 and the marquess’s death in 1863. Townshend sat as MP for Tamworth from 1847 to 1855 at which point he retired from his political and naval duties. He died aged sixty-five in the grounds of Raynham Hall after a fall from his horse and was succeeded in his titles by his eldest son, John. A lithograph of Townshend made in 1863, the year of his death, is in the National Portrait Gallery (NPG D40072). There is also a sculpted bust by John Edward Carew at Petworth House, West Sussex (NT486414).

Henry William Pickersgill (1782–1875), to whom the portrait is attributed, was a prolific artist who exhibited nearly four hundred paintings at the Royal Academy. He painted numerous military and naval figures, including several admirals. The sensitivity with which Townshend’s face and hair have been rendered supports the attribution and can be compared to some of Pickersgill’s more successful portraits such as his earlier depiction of Rear Admiral Sir Edward Brace (National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, BHC2570).

by Emily Knight


Prince Frederick Duleep Singh, Portraits in Norfolk Houses, ed. Rev. Edmund Farrer, vol. 2, Norwich : Jarrold and Sons, 1928, vol. 2, p. 229, no. 28 (‘JOHN, 4TH MARQUESS TOWNSHEND’)

Paul Mellon Centre Archive, Oliver Millar, 'Notes on a Visit to Raynham Hall', ONM/1/22, 8 April 1995, p. 25

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