caption

studio of Joshua Reynolds, Sir Francis Blake Delaval

Photo courtesy of Dave Penman (All rights reserved)

Details

Country House
Doddington Hall
Title(s)
Sir Francis Blake Delaval
Date
c.1759–62
Location
Ground Floor, Bottom Of Stairs & Lower Staircase To First Floor
Medium and support
Oil on canvas
Dimensions
Overall height: 227 cm, Overall width: 147 cm
Artist
studio of Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792)
Catalogue Number
DN35

Description

This full-length portrait commemorates Francis Blake Delaval’s role in the action along the French coast by the British expeditionary force in June 1758, where he had served as a ‘distinguished volunteer’, and in recognition of which he was awarded a knighthood. Yet, while Delaval had been involved in the siege of St Malo, his vaunted military prowess was undermined by the fact that the port was taken without any opposition from the French.1

The composition exists in a number of versions and copies, indicating the importance attached to it by the sitter and his family. The prime autograph version was painted between December 1758 and January 1759. It may have been commissioned by Francis Delaval, although it was paid for by his brother, Waterhouse recording an undated receipt: ‘Received from John Hussey Delaval Esq the sum of sixty pounds for Sir Francis Delaval’s Picture whole length by me, J Reynolds.’ Reynolds also made a note of the payment in his ledger before 27 March 1762.

The prime autograph version of the portrait descended to the family of the Marquess of Waterford via Sir John Delaval’s granddaughter, Lady Susannah Carpenter, who married Henry, second Marquess of Waterford. It is now located at the seat of the Marquess of Waterford, Curraghmore House, County Waterford, Ireland. A second version, also catalogued by David Mannings as autograph, belongs to the Earl of Mexborough, and was previously on loan to York Art Gallery. Mannings notes a full-length copy of the composition, previously in the collection of the Earl of Lanesborough, sold by Christie’s, 13 July 1951 (48, as An Officer), the present whereabouts of which are unknown. He catalogues the version at Doddington Hall as a copy. When it was incorporated into the collection at Doddington is unknown, although in the late nineteenth century, as mentioned by Cole, it hung on the east wall of the Dining Room.

In addition to the versions mentioned above, Mannings notes the existence of three head-and-shoulders copies of the portrait. There is a kit-cat sized version at Seaton Delaval,2 which was apparently damaged in the fire at Seaton Delaval in 1822, and which may have been cut down from a larger canvas. The quality of the portrait suggests that it is at least partly autograph. There is also a small oval, oil on metal, head-and-shoulders copy sold Bonhams, Oxford, 5 September 2012 (203). A separate head and shoulders portrait, which Mannings also identifies as Francis Delaval, where the sitter wears a red army coat over a cuirass, would appear to be a portrait of Delaval’s younger brother, Henry Delaval, who was a captain in the British army. This portrait, painted in 1757, is lettered ‘Captain Delaval’, an inscription that appears also on the engraving made from it in 1864.3

by Martin Postle

Bibliography

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, pp. 141, 222


Algernon Graves and William Vine Cronin, A History of the Works of Sir Joshua Reynolds P.R.A., 1–4, London : Henry Graves and Co., 1899–1901, vol. 1, pp. 239–40


P. Tomory, 'On Permanent Loan: Eighteenth-Century Portraits', Preview, York Art Gallery, October 1951, pp. 184–7


Malcolm Cormack, 'The Ledgers of Sir Joshua Reynolds', vol. XIII, The Walpole Society, 1968–70, p. 132


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, p. 164, no. 502a


Footnotes

  1. For Delaval’s role in the expeditionary force of 1758 see W. Y. Carman, ‘Francis Blake Delaval’, Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research, vol. 30, no. 123, Autumn 1952, pp. 113–14.

    1
  2. NT 1276714.

    2
  3. NPG D1734.

    3

Related catalogue items from Doddington Hall

  • Castle Howard Doddington Hall

    A View of the South Front of Seaton Delaval, Northumberland

    attributed to Edward Hussey Delaval, ? after 1750

  • Castle Howard Doddington Hall

    Edward Hussey Delaval

    Unknown Artist, ? c.1755

  • Castle Howard Doddington Hall

    John Savile, First Earl of Mexborough (previously Viscount Pollington)

    attributed to Benjamin Wilson, ? c. late 1760s