Historical Portraits Picture Archive

Portrait of Lady Fortescue of Credan, County Wexford 1690s

Garret Morphy (d.c.1715)

Portrait of Lady Fortescue of Credan, County Wexford, Garret Morphy
Oil on canvas
17th Century
24 3/4 x 29 1/8 inches 62.3 x 74 cm
The Lords of Carlisle; Sold Christie''s Lot 68, Castle Howard Sale, Friday February 18 1944
The sitter was Grace, half-sister of Charles 1st Earl of Camden and daughter of Sir John Pratt, Lord Chief Justice of the King's Bench, of Scale, Kent, by his first wife Elizabeth, daughter of the Rev Henry Gregory. She married c.1700 John Fortescue-Aland, Solicitor General to both the King and the Prince of Wales, as well as a Baron of the Exchequer and a Justice of the King's Bench. He was knighted in 1716 and created Baron Fortescue of Credan, co. Waterford in 1746.

Morphy was an Irish-born artist whose subjects were predominantly from prominent Anglo-Irish Catholic families. Only some seventy portraits have been attributed directly to him or to artists working in collaboration with him (1). His work shows French stylistic influences absorbed through Henri Gascars who was working for Catholic patrons at the English Court. Morphy's probable marriage portrait of Anne Boyle, Lady Mountjoy (c.1696), is closely related to a portrait of the King''s mistress, Louise de Keroualle, Duchess of Portsmouth by Gascars (2). Similar symbolic use of a dove as an allusion to chastity in love in the portrait of. Lady Fortescue suggests that it too was painted as a marital commemoration piece in around 1700.
(1). . See: Jane Fenlon, ''Garret Morphy and his Circle''. Irish Arts Review 1991/2, pp.135-148.
(2). See: Jane Fenlon, ''French Influence in late Seventeenth Century Portraits'' Irish Arts Review 1989/90, pp.158-168.
Philip Mould Ltd, 18-19 Pall Mall, London, SW1Y 5LU.Copyright Philip Mould Ltd.