Historical Portraits Picture Archive

Portrait of a gentleman considered to be Sir Peter Byrne Leicester, Baronet 1732-70 1765c.

Francis Cotes 

Portrait of a gentleman considered to be Sir Peter Byrne Leicester, Baronet 1732-70, Francis Cotes
Oil on canvas
18th Century
36 x 29 inches 91.4 x 73.7 cm
The Hamilton Family, of Chilston Park, Kent
The sitter was the son of Meriel Leicester, only child and heiress of Sir Francis Leicester of Tabley, and her second husband, Sir John Byrne, Bt., of Timogue, Queens County. Sir Francis Leicester and both the sitters parents died in 1742, so at the age of ten, Sir Peter Byrne found himself in possession of both estates, and two years later assumed the name of Leicester by Act of Parliament. He sold the Irish estates in order to purchase more land in Nether Tabley, but was required to keep the Old Hall by the terms of Sir Francis's will.

In 1755 Sir Peter married Catherine, daughter of Sir William Fleming of Rydal, from whose family he was to inherit additional land, leaving him in a secure position to concentrate on the building of Tabley House and other other artistic patronage before his death in 1770. Their son, Sir John Leicester, was created Baron de Tabley of Tabley House in 1826, and married Georgina Cottin, a grand-daughter of Sir William Chambers. The sitter was painted again by Cotes in 1769 - a reproduction of this full-length portrait can be found in Peter Cannon-Brookes's catalogue, Paintings from Tabley, 1989, p.32, no. 3.
Philip Mould Ltd, 18-19 Pall Mall, London, SW1Y 5LU.Copyright Philip Mould Ltd.