after Joshua Reynolds, William Cavendish, 5th Duke of Devonshire (1748–1811)

Photo courtesy of Tom St Aubyn (All rights reserved)


Country House
Raynham Hall
William Cavendish, 5th Duke of Devonshire (1748–1811)
? c.1813
The Duke of York Room
Medium and support
Oil on canvas
Overall height: 74.5 cm, Overall width: 62 cm
after Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792)
Catalogue Number


The painting is a copy of a portrait by Sir Joshua Reynolds of William Cavendish, 5th Duke of Devonshire (1748–1811) in the collection of the Earl Spencer, at Althorp, Northamptonshire.1 The original portrait, painted c.1775–6, was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1776. In 1774, the duke had married Lady Georgiana Spencer (1757–1806), eldest daughter of John, 1st Earl Spencer. They had three children but the duke, who already had one illegitimate child, had three further illegitimate children with his mistress Elizabeth Foster (1757–1824), who became his second wife in 1809 following the death of Georgiana Spencer in 1806. Augustus Clifford (1788–1877), one of the children of the duke and Elizabeth Foster, married Elizabeth Frances Townshend (1789–1862), sister of the 4th Marquess, in October 1813.

It was possibly on the marriage of Clifford to Elizabeth Townshend, or shortly afterwards, that the present copy was made, as well as a related drawing of the duke, which also came into the collection at Raynham. A pastel copy of Reynolds’s portrait of the 5th Duke of 1811, by William Lane, was included in the Townshend Heirlooms sale of 1904.2 Although it is possible that RN77 was made from the original portrait, it may have been copied from the mezzotint engraving of 1776 made by John Raphael Smith (National Portrait Gallery, NPG D1752).

by Emily Knight


  1. Mannings and Postle, 2000, vol 1, p. 126, no. 337.

  2. Townshend Heirlooms sale, Christie’s, London, 7 March 1904, p. 30 (103); see also Singh, 1928, vol. 2, p. 199, no. 10.


Related catalogue items from Raynham Hall

  • Castle Howard Raynham Hall

    ? Sir Roger Townshend, 1st Baronet (1595–1637)

    Unknown Artist, c.1630–7

  • Castle Howard Raynham Hall

    The Hon. Thomas Townshend (1701–1780)

    Godfrey Kneller, c.1710–13

  • Castle Howard Raynham Hall

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

    possibly Cornelius Johnson, 1633