after Peter Lely, Sir Richard Fanshawe, 1st Baronet (1608–1666)

Photo courtesy of Tom St Aubyn (All rights reserved)


Country House
Raynham Hall
Sir Richard Fanshawe, 1st Baronet (1608–1666)
after 1659
The Music Room
Medium and support
Oil on canvas
Overall height: 74 cm, Overall width: 61.5 cm
after Peter Lely (1618-1680)
Catalogue Number
  • Inscribed on bottom of frame: ‘the right hon, Sir Rich, FANSHAWE KNT Ambassr in Spain 1664’


Sir Richard Fanshawe was the youngest son of the remembrancer of the Exchequer, Sir Henry Fanshawe (1569–1616) of Ware Park, Hertfordshire, and Elizabeth (1577?–1631), daughter of Thomas Smythe of Kent. He married Anne Harrison, eldest daughter of Sir John Harrison of Balls Park in 1644. Fanshawe travelled abroad in France and Spain between 1627 and 1634 and embarked on a career as a diplomat and translator, starting as the secretary of embassy in Madrid between 1635 and 1638. He was a Royalist during the English Civil War, when he was painted by William Dobson (1644, Valence House Museum, LDVAL26). As a reward for his loyalty, he was created a baronet in 1650 by Charles II and knighted on the Restoration in 1660. He became envoy extraordinary to Portugal (1661), then ambassador to Portugal (1662–3) and ambassador to Spain (1664–6). Having been impeached for providing refuge for the impeached Earl of Sandwich, Fanshawe died of a fever while preparing to return to England. He was buried in the family vault at Ware.

This painting is a reduced version after a double portrait of Fanshawe and his son Richard Jr (1648-1659) by Sir Peter Lely in the collection at Valence House Museum in Dagenham (c.1659, LDVAL 2019.1.1), which holds several other portraits of the Fanshawe family by Lely. Another version, similar to RN34, in an oval, exists in the Government Art Collection (Acc. No. 1175). Richard Jr, Sir Richard’s fourth child, died of smallpox on 20 October 1659 in Paris, tragically the third son of Sir Richard and Ann Harrison to be named Richard and pass away at an early age. Singh incorrectly dates the present work to 1648, the year of Richard Jr’s birth. It is most likely that Lely’s original portrait of Sir Richard and Richard Jr was painted in about 1659, prior to Richard Jr’s death (although there is a possibility that it was finished posthumously), around the same time as Lely’s portrait of Sir Thomas Fanshawe of Jenkins (1628–1705), also at Valence House (1659, LDVAL5), in which Sir Thomas wears similar fashionably brown-toned, satin clothing. RN34 was probably copied after the Valence House original in 1659 or shortly after. Lely painted several of the Fanshawe family and many of the family portraits are in the collection at Valence House Museum in Dagenham (see LDVAL5). The likeness of Fanshawe does not seem much older than that of the portrait by Dobson of 1644 (LDVAL26) and Singh dates the work to 1648, which seems reasonable. The costume of brown satin doublet and drape and white collar is similar to that of Lely’s portrait of Sir Thomas Fanshawe of Jenkins of about 1659 (Valence House Museum, Essex; LDVAL5), which suggests some connection between the two portraits. Yet, Sir Richard’s portrait cannot have been painted as late as Sir Thomas’s in 1659, as the likenesses would not correlate with the sitters being twenty years apart in age.

by Emily Burns


Prince Frederick Duleep Singh, Portraits in Norfolk Houses, ed. Rev. Edmund Farrer, vol. 2, Norwich : Jarrold and Sons, 1928, vol. 2, p. 225, no. 10 (‘SIR RICHARD FANSHAWE, 1st Bart.’)

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