The Ormonde Picture Collection


The history of the Ormonde picture collection is a story of acquisition and sales, collection and dispersal, spread over four centuries. In many ways, the fortunes of the picture collection mirrored those of the Ormonde family.

Broadly speaking, the story can be told in four phases: acquisition in the seventeenth century, sales in the eighteenth, followed by a period of improving fortunes leading to more acquisitions, and finally, in the twentieth century, a final sale and partial recovery.

Extensive research into the collection as a whole has been undertaken, which illustrated that while many of the paintings were in themselves very important, the fact that such as significant collection was still together and in its original home rendered this collection of international importance, a key component in this country’s art-historical heritage,

The overall scheme of the picture hanging in the Picture Gallery is loosely based on the late nineteenth century hang as portrayed in the Lawrence collection photographs (NLI Dublin) taken at the turn of the twentieth century.

During the nineteenth century the collection in this gallery consisted of 184 paintings, today there are 49 hanging. [This number will be subject to change!]

However, because of the continued dispersal of the picture collection over the years since the 1935 sale of the contents of the Castle there is an imbalance in the number of picture types that remain.

The nineteenth century list shows that paintings on display were comprised of almost equal numbers of portraits (98), the rest (86) being divided amongst subject painting, landscapes and religious pictures, today there are 36 portraits on display.

Bay Left 1

King Charles I (1600-49), attributed to James Gandy after Sir Anthony van Dyck (1619-89)

King Charles I (1600-49)

Artist: attributed to James Gandy after Sir Anthony van Dyck (1619-89)

Second son and youngest child of James I and Anne of Denmark, Charles became heir to the throne after the early death of his brother Henry, Prince of Wales in 1612.

in 1642 Civil war broke out in England between royalist and parliamentary force under the leadership of Olivier Cromwell.

After a long and often bloody campaign the royalist forces were defeated and in January 1649 Charles was beheaded at Whitehall.

Charles had been a notable patron of the arts, and was responsible for commissioning  works from artists such as Sir Peter Paul Rubens, and for bringing Sir Anthony van Dyck to England.

A full length portrait wearing robes of state, this is a very close copy of the portrait painted by Van Dyke (c.1636) now in the Royal Collection.

It was probably painted to hang as a pendant to the portrait of the queen, Henrietta Maria.

The portrait is attributed to James Gandy on the grounds that it is a seventeenth century work and that he is said to have made many copies of portraits after van Dyck during the time he was employed by the Duke of Ormond.

No examples of Gandy’s work have been found which would allow a stylistic comparison to be made.

Queen Henrietta Maria (1609-69), attributed to James Gandy after Sir Anthony van Dyck (1619-89)

Queen Henrietta Maria (1609-69)

Artist: attributed to James Gandy after Sir Anthony van Dyck (1619-89)

Daughter of Henri IV of France and Marie De Medici. Wife of Charles I of England and mother to Charles II and James II of England.

A full length portrait , wearing an orange-coloured dress, standing on a richly patterned carpet, a column and drape in the background.

Painted by by the same hand as the Charles I portrait.

A variation based on an original van Dyck painted in 1635/36 as a gift for Cardinal Francesco Barberini in Rome.

This portrait would not have been the original pendant to the portrait of the king in state robes.

It is a well-painted portrait, with fine detail on the lace and jewellery.

The darker colour of the dress is possibly due to darkened varnish.

Sir Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640), after a self-portrait by Rubens

Sir Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640)

Artist: unknown, after a self-portrait by Rubens

Probably a nineteenth century copy of a self-portrait of the great artist.

Crudely painted, it is after the portrait of c.1625 which was painted for Charles, Prince of Wales.

Sir Anthony van Dyck (1599-1641), after Sir Anthony van Dyck

Sir Anthony van Dyck (1599-1641)

Artist: unknown, after Sir Anthony van Dyck

The head in this portrait would seem to be derived from van Dyck’s Self Portrait with Endymion Porter (Prado, Madrid) although the costume is different; in fact, it is closer to that used in van Dyck’s self portrait with Sunflower.

Probably  a nineteenth century copy.

Classical Landscape, attributed to the circle of Gaspar Dughet (1615-1675)

Classical Landscape

Attributed to the circle of Gaspar Dughet (1615-1675)

Italianate landscape, stormy sky and wind-driven trees, two figures in the foreground, a figure bent against the storm in the mid-ground and beyond that pastures and a town.

Bay Left 2

Christopher Butler (d.1758?) by James Latham (1696-1747)

Christopher Butler (d.1758?)

Catholic Archbishop of Cashel & Emly.

Artist: James Latham (1696-1747)

Son of Walter of Carryricken and brother of Thomas Butler of Kilcash. 

Because of the restrictions of the time, as a Catholic, Christopher was educated abroad. 

He was in Rome in 1711, were he was described as ‘the Abbé Christopher Butler, Dr of Sorbonne, now in Rome a near relation of the Duke of Ormonde to be Archbishop of Cashel’. 

The clergy of the diocese had petitioned Rome for his appointment. 

According to Carrigan, Bishop Butler moved around the country, staying in houses of his relatives at Garryricken, Callan, Kilcash and Westcourt. 

He died at Westcourt and was buried at Kilcash.

Unknown lady, possibly Rachel Russell (1674-1725), studio of Michael Dahl (1656/1659–1743)

Unknown lady, possibly Rachel Russell (1674-1725)

2nd Duchess of Devonshire

Artist: studio of Michael Dahl (1656/1659–1743)

 In this oval portrait, the sitter is wearing a light green dress.

Colonel Thomas Butler of Kilcash (d.1738) by James Latham (1696-1747)

Colonel Thomas Butler of Kilcash (d.1738)

Artist: James Latham (1696-1747)

Son of Walter Butler of Carryricken and Lady Mary Plunket, he inherited Kilcash from his grandfather Richard Butler, youngest brother of James, 1st Duke of Ormond.

 A Colonel of a Regiment of Foot in the army of King James II, he married Margaret Bourke, widow of Viscount Iveagh and daughter of William, 7th Earl of Clanricarde. 

They had three sons: Richard (d.1711), Walter who died in Paris and John Butler of Kilcash, who succeeded to the Ormonde titles as de jure 15th Earl in 1758 on the death of his cousin Amelia, sister of James Butler, 2nd Duke of Ormonde. 

The couple also had five daughters: one, Honora married Valentine Brown, Lord Kenmare.

Bay Left 3

King William III (1650-1702), studio of Sir Godfrey Kneller (1646-1723)

King William III (1650-1702)

Artist: studio of Sir Godfrey Kneller (1646-1723)

William was born in The Hague, he was the posthumous and only child of Stadholder William II and Princess Mary, Princess Royal of England, eldest daughter of Charles I and Queen Henriette Maria  [see painting: The Children of Charles I].

After the crisis precipitated by the birth of an heir   [Prince James Francis Stuart ]to his cousin, the Catholic James II, in 1688, William came to England at the invitation of several leading men to defend the Protestant cause.

James left England, first to France to seek aid from Louis XIV, another cousin, and thence to Ireland, where he launched a military campaign to win over the country. Meanwhile William, his son-in law, landed at Carrickfergus in June 1690.

He then marched south, and defeated James and his forces at the Battle of the Boyne.

Both kings stayed at Kilkenny Castle during their visit to Ireland.

James Butler, 2nd  Duke of Ormonde, was a firm supporter of King William at the Boyne.

This portrait is a copy of the ‘official approved likeness’ first painted by Sir Godfrey Kneller in 1690, with a companion piece of Queen Mary II.

The king is depicted waring the robes of state.

Both originals are in the Royal Collection.

This is the most popular image of William, and numerous copies are to be found in Ireland and the UK.

Queen Mary II (1662-1694), studio of Sir Godfrey Kneller (1646-1723)

Queen Mary II (1662-1694)

Artist: studio of Sir Godfrey Kneller (1646-1723)

Eldest daughter of James Duke of York (later James II) , and Anne Hyde, she married , at the age of 15, her cousin , William,  Prince of Orange in Holland.

The Duchess of Ormond was Godmother to Princess  Mary, at her birth in London.

Mary took an active role in the dispute with her father James II. William and Mary ruled as king and queen regnant.

Under the terms of the succession, William would administer the government in both their names.

The Crown would descend in the first instance to the heirs of her body, then to any heirs he might have after her death, and then to any heirs her sister Anne, Princess of Denmark (later Queen Anne).

Mary was a popular monarch, and this helped compensate for her husband’s rather taciturn nature.

She died prematurely at the age of 32, leaving William to reign alone for another eight years.

Prince James Francis Stuart (1688-1766), after Antonio David (1698–1750)

Prince James Francis Stuart (1688-1766) ‘The Old Pretender’

Artist: after Antonio David (1698–1750)

formerly attributed to ‘St Balle’ (Alexis Simon Belle)

Son of King James II and his second wife Maria d’Este, ‘Mary of Modena’ , his birth in 1688 precipitated what became known as ‘The Glorious Revolution’ in England. Throughout his life he remained a focus of the Jacobite cause, culminating in the Battle of Culloden in 1745, when his son, Prince Charles Edward Stuart, ‘Bonnie Prince Charlie’, led the Highland Scots and other Jacobites to their final defeat.

The 2nd Duke of Ormonde was a close confidant and supporter to both princes.

The prince is depicted wearing armour and decorations.

A crown is prominent on a ledge to the sitter’s right.

This is a version of a portrait by Antonio David, who was appointed painter to James in 1718.

There are numerous references to this artist’s work in the Stuart papers at this time.

Classical Landscape, Circle of Gaspar Dughet (1615-75)

Classical Landscape

Artist: Circle of Gaspar Dughet (1615-75)

A landscape with figures in the foreground wearing classical garb, and more figures at the water’s edge.

In the background is a vista with antique ruins.


Nymphs bathing in a landscape, Followers of Cornelis van Poelenburgh (c.1595-1667)

Nymphs bathing in a landscape

Artist: Followers of Cornelis van Poelenburgh (c.1595-1667)

Three partially clothed female figures are in the foreground, while others disport themselves in the lake.

In the background is a classical landscape.


Anne Hyde (1637-1671) by Sir Peter Lely and his studio (1618-80)

Anne Hyde (1637-1671)

Duchess of York

Artist: Sir Peter Lely and his studio (1618-80)

Daughter of Edward Hyde, 1st  Earl of Clarendon (a close friend & confidant to the 1st Duke of Ormond), and first wife of james, Duke of York ( later James II).

She was mother to princesses Mary and Anne, future Queens of England, and aunt of Anne Hyde, Lady Ossory, first wife of the 2nd Duke of Ormonde.

The Duchess is depicted wearing a rich brown silk dress with jewelled clasps.

This is a well painted version of an original, painted by Sir Peter Lely in c. 1662 and has recently been cleaned and restored.

This picture retains much subtle detailing, such as in the gold thread on the scarf over the duchess’s left shoulder; the general opulence of the costume has also survived.


Bay Left 4

Walter Butler (1770-1820) by Sir William Beechey (1753-1839)

Walter Butler (1770-1820)

1st Marquess of Ormonde (2nd creation), 18th Earl of Ormonde

18th Earl of Ormonde, Earl of Ossory and Viscount Thurles KP, Chief Butler of Ireland

Artist: Sir William Beechey (1753-1839)

Son of John Butler and Anne Wandesford, Knight of the Order of St. Patrick (1798), in 1803 he was created Baron Butler of Lanthony, Co. Monmouth. 

After voting for the Act of Union in 1800, Walter took his seat in the House of Lords.

  He was said to haven a profligate spender, moving in the circle of the Regent, Prince George (later George IV). 

His Irish estates were worth £22,000 per annum in 1799 and in 1811, Parliament granted him £216,000 as compensation for the resumption by the Crown of the hereditary presage of wines, granted to his ancestor in 1327. 

He was created Marquess of Ormonde in 1816. 

In 1805, he married a wealthy heiress, Anna Maria Catherine Price-Clarke (1789-1817). 

When he died, the Marquessate of Ormonde and the Barony of Butler of Lanthony became extinct. 

He was described by Barrington in his Personal Sketches ‘as engaging a person, as many manly qualities, and to the full as much intellectual promise, as any young man of his country’, but these were ‘either blunted by dissipation or absorbed in the licentious influence of fashionable connection’.

Anna Maria Catherine Price-Clarke (1789-1817) by Sir William Beechey (1753-1839)

Anna Maria Catherine Price-Clarke (1789-1817)

Marchioness of Ormonde

Artist: Sir William Beechey (1753-1839)

Heiress to her brother Godfrey TR Price-Clarke, she was the only daughter and heir of Job Hart Price-Clarke (formerly Price) of Sutton Hall, Derby, and his wife Sarah, sister and heiress of Godfrey Bagnal Clarke of Sutton Hall. 

She was married to Walter Butler, 1st Marquess of Ormonde (2nd creation).

John Wandesford (1725-1784), after Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-92)

John Wandesford (1725-1784)

1st Earl of Wandesford and Viscount Castlecomer

Artist: after Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-92)

Father of Susan Frances Elizabeth (Anne) Wandesford, Marchioness of Ormonde, he was created Earl of Wandesford in 1758. 

When he died in 1884, the title became extinct.

Susan Frances Elizabeth (Anne) Wandesford (1754-1830) by Hugh Douglas Hamilton (1739-1808)

Susan Frances Elizabeth (Anne) Wandesford (1754-1830)

Countess of Ormonde

Artist: Hugh Douglas Hamilton (1739-1808)

Daughter of John, Earl Wandesford and his wife Agnes Elizabeth Southwell of Enniscouch, Co. Limerick. 

In 1769, Anne married John Butler, 17th  Earl of Ormonde, who claimed the Irish titles in 1783 and had them confirmed in 1791. 

They had four sons: Walter, later 18th Earl of Ormonde, John, who died unmarried and James. 

The youngest, Charles Howard Butler was heir to his mother’s estates and also inherited her brother Walter Clarke’s estates.

  Lady Anne was also painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds (c.1770); a three-quarter-length portrait was in the collection of the Duke of Westminster by 1871.

Bay Left 5

James Butler (1774-1838) by John Saunders (1750-1825)

James Butler (1774-1838)

1st Marquess of Ormonde (3rd creation) and 19th Earl of Ormonde

Artist: John Saunders (1750-1825)

Brother and heir of Walter Butler, 1st  Marquess (2nd  creation), after the Act of Union in 1800, he took his seat in London as MP for Kilkenny (1801.20). 

In 1807, he married Grace Louisa Staples. 

James succeeded his brother in 1820 and because the English honours had become extinct at Walter’s death, it was not until 1821 that he was created Baron Ormonde of Lanthony, Knight of St. Patrick, in the same year. 

Four years later he was created Marquess of Ormonde. 

He was Vice Admiral of Leinster, Lord Lieutenant of Co. Kilkenny (1831-38) and Militia ADC to King William IV and to Queen Victoria from 1837 until his death. 

It was during this marquess’ time that major reconstruction work was carried out at Kilkenny Castle.

  After some refurbishment had been carried out at Butler House, the family moved to live there for some years during the reconstruction work of the late 1830s and the 1840s.

Grace Louisa Staples (1779-1860) by John Saunders (1750-1825)

Grace Louisa Staples (1779-1860)

Marchioness of Ormonde

Artist: John Saunders (1750-1825)

Daughter of the Rt Hon John Stapes of Lissan, near Dungannon and Henrietta, fourth daughter of Richard, 3rd Viscount Molesworth, she married James Butler, 19th  Earl and 1st  Marquess of Ormonde (3rd creation) in 1807. 

Like many ladies in the nineteenth century, Grace Louisa Staples painted and a landscape described as ‘painted by the present Marchioness’ was exhibited in the museum in Kilkenny and it is listed in the 1840 catalogue.

Saint Mary Magdalen, after Bartolome Murillo (1618-82)

Saint Mary Magdalen

Artist: copy after Bartolome Murillo (1618-82)

A dramatic representation of Mary Magdalen, who was sister to Martha and Lazarus of Bethany.

The saint is depicted wearing seventeenth-century costume, and at her feet are various representations of her worldly goods, as she enjoyed abundant wealth.

Later she repudiated her wealth and did penance for her sins.

It was to Mary Magdalen that Christ first appeared after the resurrection.

Bay Left 6

John Butler (1808-1854) by Henry Weigall, Jr. (1829-1925)

John Butler (1808-1854)

2nd Marquess (3rd creation), 20th Earl of Ormonde

Artist: Henry Weigall, Jr. (1829-1925)

Son Of James Butler (q.v.) and Grace Louisa Staples (q.v.), John Butler travelled extensively.

His Journals (now in NLI) record his many Journeys across  Europe to Italy and Sicily.

He published an account of  his travels, Autumn in Sicily, and he also wrote an account of the life of  St. Canice, based on a Latin manuscript in the Burgundian library in Brussels.

He married Frances Jane Paget in 1843. He continued the work of rebuilding Kilkenny castle that was started by his father.

His journals show him to have a deep interest in art, and there are careful descriptions of several of the great galleries in Italy to be found in his writing.

Although he continued to write in his journals during the years 1847 to 1850, no mention of the Irish famine is made.

He died while bathing in the sea near Loftus hall on Hook Head, Co. Wexford.

A marble tomb was erected in his memory in St. Canice’s Cathedral, Kilkenny.

Frances Jane Paget (1817-1903) with her son James, Earl of Ossory by Richard Buckner (fl.1820-79)

Frances Jane Paget (1817-1903) with her son James, Earl of Ossory

Marchioness of Ormonde

Artist: Richard Buckner (fl.1820-79)

Daughter of General the Hon Sir Edward Paget, GCB(q.v.),and his second wife Harriet Daughter of George Legge, 3rd  Earl of Dartmouth.

Wife of John Butler, 2nd Marquess of  Ormonde(q.v.).

Frances married in 1843, and so her children were still young when their father died in 1854.

She looked after the Ormonde estates, and continued the rebuilding of Kilkenny castle.

During the early years of her marriage(1844-1849), she was the Lady of the bedchamber to the Queen Dowager, Adelaide.

General the Hon Edward Paget, attributed to Sir Martin Archer Shee (1769-1850)

General the Hon Edward Paget, GCB (1775-1849)

Artist: attributed to Sir Martin Archer Shee (1769-1850)

Soldier and Governor of Clayton;  father of Frances Jane, Marchioness of Ormonde(q.v.). 

Seated wearing the red ribbon of the knight of the Grand Cross of the order of the Bath.

Dutch Landscape , unknown artist

Dutch Landscape

Artist: unknown, 17th  Century

Dutch Landscape with gilt label of FERC.

In the foreground are three figures on a riverbank.

One with his back to the viewer pointing at a man to his left, a third man sitting.

A river scene with two boats on the opposite bank moored underneath a village.

There is a crenelated tower overlooking the village from a height, rocky outcrops the whole scene.

To the right of the painting are three trees standing in leaf.

Two trees are bending to the right indicating a windy day.

Madonna & Child Artist: after Carlo Dolci (1616-86)

Madonna & Child

Artist: after Carlo Dolci (1616-86)

The religious image seems to have been popular in Ireland, as three other versions have been found in private collections.  

Paintings by Dolci were much sought after by tourists who flocked to Italy. 

This resulted in many copies being made after his work. 

This painting was engraved in 1763 by Richard Cooper of London. 

In the engraving it is wrongly attributed to the artist Antonio Correggio.

Bay left 7

James Edward Theobald Wandesford Butler (1844-1919) by Hon Henry Richard Graves (fl.1846-81)

James Edward Theobald Wandesford Butler (1844-1919)

3rd  Marquess of Ormonde (3rd creation0, 21st Earl of Ormonde

Artist: Hon Henry Richard Graves (fl.1846-81)

Son of John and Frances Jane, he is the little boy seated in his mother’s lap in the portrait by Buckner.

Educated at Harrow, he served as Captain for ten years with the First Life Gaurds  and was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Co. Kilkenny in 1878, a post he held until his death. During the marquess’s time, a number of royal visitors came to Kilkenny Castle; these included the Duke and Duchess of York in 1899, followed in 1904 by King Edward VII and Queen Alexandria.

James was the last marquess to live at Kilkenny Castle.

He died there and is buried in the private  family cemetery.

Coat of Arms at the top left of the painting.

Wearing the uniform of Captain of the First Life Guards, with his hands resting on the hilt of his sword, the marquess stands before a balustrade with a donjon, suggestive of Kilkenny castle behind it.

His helmet is on the chair to his right.

This portrait was probably painted at the time of his marriage.

Elizabeth Harriet Grosvernor (1856-1928) by Hon Henry Richard Graves (fl.1846-81)

Elizabeth Harriet Grosvernor (1856-1928)

Marchioness of Ormonde

Artist: Hon Henry Richard Graves (fl.1846-81)

Eldest Daughter of  of the 1st Duke of Westminster, she married James 3rd Marquess of Ormonde in 1876.

They had two daughters famed for their beauty. Lady Beatrice Pole-Carew and lady Constance Butler.

A noted beauty of her day, the marchioness wearing a long cream dress, stands in a landscape.

A good example of a fashionable society portrait of of the period.

The portrait was painted as a pendant to that of her husband.

The portrait is based on Gainsborough’s portrait, the Hon. Mrs. Thomas Graham ( Nat. Gal. Scotland); it is another example of ‘borrowing’ poses for portraiture.

Sir John Millias also painted the marchioness, a portrait engraved F Jenkins, Paris. A watercolour portrait of her with Kilkenny castle in the background by Edward Clifford is also known.

Landscape with Waterfall, Italian school

Landscape with Waterfall

Artist: Italian school, 18th century style of Salvator Rosa (1615-73)

A dramatic waterfall, figures fishing in foreground, cattle, goats and sheep, washer women cross a frail wooden bridge, a distant landscape with a town beyond.

Classical landscape with figures in foreground after Richard Wilson (1713/14-1782)

Classical landscape with figures in foreground

Artist: copy after Richard Wilson (1713/14-1782)

The subject matter is Phaeton’s petition to Apollo taken from Ovid’s Metamorphoses.

In the foreground, the figure in a blue drape is Apollo.

He is holding  lyre with his right arm.

Phaeton, his son, kneels before him.

Female figures in classical garb are to left and right, and an idyllic landscape with classical buildings is behind. 

Wilson’s landscapes enjoyed immense popularity in the late eighteenth century and were often copied.

This particular painting is a copy after an original which was exhibited in London in 1763 and is now in the collection at Lulworth Castle.


Bay Left 8

Possibly James Butler (1665-1745) attributed to Adriaen van der Werff (1659-1722)

Possibly James Butler (1665-1745)

2nd  Duke or Ormonde,13th Earl of Ormonde

Artist: attributed to Adriaen van der Werff (1659-1722)

Born on 29th April 1665 in Dublin Castle, he was the son and heir of Thomas butler, Earl of Ossory  and Amelia van Beverweerd.

He was educated in France (1677-78) and at Oxford (Christ Church College) (1678-79).

With the second duke’s succession, the standing of the Ormonde family in society was at its highest point.

He inherited all of the Ormonde properties and titles, from both his grandfather and grandmother, including her Dingwall title.

Like his father and grandfather before him, he was a soldier and held various commissions in the army from the age of 18.

Following his involvement in a Jacobite rising in the West Country, he was impeached and a year later a Bill of Attainder was passed against him. 

His English and Scottish honours and his English estates were seized. 

Ormonde fled to France. 

He lived out his life in exile, died at Avignon in France and was buried in 1746 in Westminster Abbey.

Ormonde, like his grandfather sat to most of the fashionable portrait painters of his day.

Field Marshal Henry William Paget (1768-1854) by Richard Rothwell (1800-68)

Field Marshal Henry William Paget (1768-1854)

1st Marquis of Anglesey, KG and Lord Lieutenant of Ireland

Artist: Richard Rothwell (1800-68)

Son of Henry, 1st Earl of Uxbridge, brother of Edward Paget and uncle of Frances Jane, Marchioness of Ormonde.

He has a distinguished military career during the Napoleonic wars, commanding the cavalry at Corunna in Spain, and again at Waterloo.

He was Lord Lieutenant of Ireland in 1828-29 and 1830-33.

The Marquess was at one time the only filed marshal, with the exception of members of the royal family, in the army.

His second marriage to Charlotte Sloan, divorced wife of Sir Henry Wellesley, caused a great scandal, and resulted in a duel with her brother.

Frances Jane Paget (1817-1903) by Hon. Henry Richard Graves (fl.1846-81)

Frances Jane Paget (1817-1903)

Dowager Marchioness of Ormonde

Artist: Hon. Henry Richard Graves (fl.1846-81)

Seated with a dog on her lap.

Possibly Susanna (née Boun), English school 18th century

Possibly Susanna (née Boun), wife of Gilbert Clarke (q.v.)

Artist: English school 18th century

Three-quater lenght portrait, wearing a yellow dress, seated in a landscape and holding a small dog.

Glencoe, Nasmyth family of Edinburgh


Artist: member of the Nasmyth family of Edinburgh

A dramatic mountainous landscape with a loch, and three figures launching a boat in the foreground.

The painting is typical of the popularity for brooding and majestic Scottish landscapes, similar in sentiment to Sir Walter Scott’s romantic novels.

Storm at Sea (Mid-day), School of Claude-Joseph Vernet (1714-89)

Storm at Sea (Mid-day)

Artist: School of Claude-Joseph Vernet (1714-89)

A stormy sea, shipwrecks in the foreground with figures being rescued.

These scenes were usually painted in sets of four, denoting times of the day.

Vernet’s work enjoyed great popularity during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Cow Pass, the Nasmyth family of Edinburgh

Cow Pass

Artist: member of the Nasmyth family of Edinburgh

A dramatic mountainous landscape with a bridge over a rocky gorge, cattle crossing over the bridge, two figures-one in kilt-converse by the roadside.

The Nasmyths were unusual in that they painted ready made rather than bespoke landscapes.

Bay Right 2

Henry Somerset (1629-1700), studio of Sir Godfrey Kneller (1646-1723)

Henry Somerset (1629-1700)

1st Duke of Beaufort 3rd Marquess of Worcester

Artist: studio of Sir Godfrey Kneller (1646-1723)

Father of Mary Somerset, 2nd  Duchess of Ormonde.

A staunch Tory, he refused to take the Oath of Allegiance to King William III.  Created Duke of Beaufort in 1682.

In 1657, he married Mary, daughter of Arthur Capel, 1stLord Capel and sister of Arthur, Earl of Essex, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.

Henry Somerset died in 1700 and by virtue of his claim to Royal blood through his descent from John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, son of Edward III, he was buried in the Beaufort Chapel at St. George’s in Windsor.


Elizabeth Butler (d.1717) by William Wissing (1656-87

Elizabeth Butler (d.1717)

Countess of Derby

Artist: William Wissing (1656-87)

Daughter of Thomas Butler, Earl of Ossory and his wife Amelia, she married William George, 9th Earl of Derby in 1673. 

It was an unhappy marriage, her husband’s behaviour being a cause for much concern and comment on the part of her grandparents, the 1st Duke and Duchess of Ormonde .

Thomas Butler (1634-1680, studio of Sir Peter Lely (1618-80)

Thomas Butler (1634-1680)

Earl of Ossory, Lord Butler of Moore Park, KG,

Lord Deputy of Ireland

Artist: studio of Sir Peter Lely (1618-80)

He was a soldier and Naval Commander, known as ‘Gallant Ossory’.  Born at Kilkenny Castle in 1634, he was the second but eldest surviving son of the Duke of Ormonde.  His childhood was spent at Kilkenny until he went with his father and brother Richard to England in 1647.  They then went to France, where he was educated at Caen and Paris at Monsieur de Camps’ Academy.  From 167 to 1660 he was in Holland where he married Amelia of Nassau, daughter of Lodewyk van Nassau, Heer van Beverweerd, a natural son of Prince Maurice of Nassau.  Ossory was a witness when James, Duke of York secretly married Anne Hyde in 1660.

Ossory enjoyed the favour and support of both King Charles II and his queen.  Because of his wife’s Dutch connections he was frequently sent on royal missions to that country.  In 1670 he conducted William of Orange to England.  John Evelyn, the diarist, was a close friend, who referred to him as ‘a good natured, generous and perfectly obliging friend’.  He died suddenly in 1680, possibly from food poisoning, at Arlington House in London.  He was buried in Westminster Abbey.


Mary Somerset (1665-1733), follower of Michael Dahl (1659-1743)

Mary Somerset (1665-1733)

2nd Duchess of Ormonde

Artist: unknown; follower of Michael Dahl (1659-1743)

Daughter of Henry, 1st  Duke of Beaufort and wife of James Butler, 2nd  Duke of Ormonde.

  She married James, then Lord Ossory in 1685 as his second wife. 

They had one son and five daughters. Only two daughters survived infancy: Lady Elizabeth, unmarried (d.1750) and Lady Mary (d.1713) who married John, Lord Ashburnham in 1710. 

The duchess was delighted with the reception she received on her first visit to Ireland. 

During this visit, she wrote to John Ellis telling him, ‘I have been received with as much respect as the greatest woman in the world could have been both by civil, military and clerical…’ Queen Anne appointed her Lady of the Bedchamber (1702-14). 

John Dryden dedicated his work Palamon and Arcite to her. 

The duchess did not join her husband in exile in France but that did not spare her from the humiliation of having her pew in St. James’s Church taken from her at Christmas in 1715. 

On this occasion she wrote to Ellis complaining that ‘this treatment appears to me very extraordinary, that before anybody has made out their title to the House in the parish I should be turned out of the church after living 30 years myself in the Parish…’ 

From 1720 until her death in 1733, she lived at Paradise Row in Chelsea, London.  She was buried in Westminster Abbey, London.


Henrietta Maria Stanley (1687-1718) & her sister Elizabeth (d.1714), English school 18th century

Henrietta Maria Stanley (1687-1718) & her sister Elizabeth (d.1714)

Artist: unknown; English school 18th century

Daughters of William, 9th Earl of Derby and his wife Elizabeth Butler, daughter of Thomas Butler, Earl of Ossory, they would been nieces of the 2nd  Duke of Ormonde.  Henrietta was married to the Earl of Anglesea in 1706 ad then to John, 1st Earl of Ashburnham in 1714. 

She has been identified from other portraits of her painted during the first two decades of the eighteenth century. 

Ashburnham had previously been married to Mary, her first cousin, daughter of the 2nd  Duke of Ormonde. 

Henrietta died in 1718 aged 31 years. 

Elizabeth Stanley died unmarried in 1714.

Anne Hyde (1669-1685) by William Wissing and his studio (1656-87)

Anne Hyde (1669-1685)

Countess of Ossory, first wife of James Butler, 2nd Duke of Ormonde

Artist: William Wissing and his studio (1656-87)

Daughter of Lawrence Hyde, 1st  Earl of Rochester, she married James Butler, Lord Ossory, in 1682. 

At that time she was described as a ‘pretty red-haired wife and one that has with enough’. 

She died in childbirth three years later and was buried in Christchurch Cathedral, Dublin.


Bay Right 1

James Butler (1610-1688), attributed to John Michael Wright (1617-94)

James Butler (1610-1688)

1st Duke of Ormond, 12th Earl of Ormond, KG and Lord Lieutenant of Ireland

Artist: attributed to John Michael Wright (1617-94)

Born on 19th  October 1610 at Clerkenwell, Middlesex, he was the son of Thomas Butler, Viscount Thurles and Elizabeth Poyntz. 

After his father’s untimely death, he was made a royal ward and was educated at Lambeth Palace under the tutelage of George Abbot, Archbishop of Canterbury.

  In 1629 he married his cousin, the heiress Elizabeth Preston, granddaughter of Thomas, 10th  Earl of Ormond. 

A staunch royalist, Ormond was appointed commander-in-chief of the army in Ireland in 1641. 

He served his first term of three as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland from 1648 to 1650. 

Following the defeat of the royalists in Ireland, Ormond went to exile and spent most of the years 1649 to 1660 abroad, moving about Europe with the exiled court of Charles II.  After the restoration of the monarchy in England, Ormond was rewarded with a dukedom and several high offices by a grateful king. 

Though he enjoyed the king’s favour, Ormond had enemies at court and as a result of the machinations of the Cabal, which included powerful figures such as the Earl of Shaftesbury, he was dismissed from his post as Lord Lieutenant in 1669. 

When he was raised to a dukedom in the English peerage in 1682, Ormond left Ireland to reside in England. 

During his last term as Lord Lieutenant (1677-85), he played a major role in the planning and founding of the Royal Hospital for old soldiers at Kilmainham, near Dublin. 

The last decade of his life was marked by tragedy: all three of his sons and his wife died during that time.  He died at his residence at Kingston Lacy in Dorset was buried in Westminster Abbey.

Wearing Garter robes and holding in his right hand the wand of office of Lord Steward of the Household, Ormond stands on a Persian carpet. 

The image is somehow less formal than the foregoing works by Lely. 

In this portrait, Ormond is portrayed with the head of an older man which is hardly recognisable and does not resemble that used by Lely or other artists such as Kneller, who painted the duke in his latter years. 

An inscribed portrait of the duke with a similar head in the collection of the Royal Hospital Kilmainham. 

A Garter portrait of the Duke of Buckingham by Wright, painted in London in 1669 has a similar treatment of the ribbon breeches and also features a Persian carpet.

Elizabeth Poyntz (1588-1673) by John Michael Wright (1617-94)

Elizabeth Poyntz (1588-1673)

(Helen) Lady Thurles

Artist: John Michael Wright (1617-94)

Daughter of Sir John Poyntz of Iron Acton, Gloucesterhire, she married Thomas Butler, Viscount Thurles, before 1610. 

By this marriage she had four daughters and three sons, one of them the 1st Duke of Ormonde.

She was windowed in 1619 and married, secondly, Captain George Mathew of Rady, Llandaff and Thurles in 1620. 

Described by Wentworth as ‘a lady of wit and spirit’, Lady Thurles remained a committed Catholic throughout her life and her daughter Frances Mathew became a Benedictine nun. 

During Cromwellian times, her estate of 4,000 acres in Tipperary, including Thurles Castle, was sequestered and she narrowly escaped being transplanted to Connaught. 

Her lands were restored following the return of Charles II to the throne. 

She died at Thurles between 8th  and 27th  May 1673.

Elizabeth Preston (1615-1684), attributed to David des Granges (c.1610-71/2)

Elizabeth Preston (1615-1684)

Baroness Dingwall, Countess of Ormond, later Duchess of Ormond

Artist: attributed to David des Granges (c.1610-71/2)

Born on 25th July 1615, she was the daughter of Richard Preston, Baron Dingwall, Earl of Desmond and his wife Elizabeth Butler, only daughter and heiress of Thomas Butler, 10th  Earl of Ormond. 

On the death of her parents in 1628, Elizabeth was made a royal ward and the rights of her marriage were granted to the Earl of Holland, who sold it for £15,000. 

She married her cousin James Butler, Viscount Thurles, later 1st  Duke of Ormond in 1629, thus reuniting the Ormond titles and properties. 

They had eight sons and two daughters but only three of those sons survived infancy: Thomas, later Earl of Ossory, Richard, later 1st Earl of Arran and John, later Earl of Gowran. 

Their daughters were Mary, later Duchess of Devonshire and Elizabeth, later Countess of Chesterfield. 

Lady Ormond spent a short period in exile with her husband and family in France during the early 1650s. 

She returned a few years later, following successful negotiations with the Cromwellian parliament, to her house at Dunmore, Co. Kilkenny. 

She was highly regarded at Court and was godmother to the Princess Mary, later Queen Mary. 

When Ormond retired to England in 1682, the duchess accompanied him and they settled at Kingston House (Kingston Lacy), Dorset. 

She died two years later at their town house, Ormonde House, in St. James’s Square, London. 

Sir Peter Lely painted the duchess but no portrait of her by the artist has been traced. 

A portrait of her by Henri Gascars is also recorded in seventeenth-century Ormonde inventories.

Before the Hunt, attributed to follower of Dirck Maes (1656-1717)

Before the Hunt

Artist: attributed to follower of Dirck Maes (1656-1717)

A group of figures preparing to leave for the hunt, set in a landscape with classical stone gateway and buildings behind. 

The horseman to the right holds a glass, as does the standing male figure beside his companion’s horse. 

Many of the features in this landscape – horses, figures preparing for the hunt against a background with architectural features – are typical of Mae’s work.

Elizabeth Butler (1640-1665), studio of Sir Peter Lely (1618-90)

Elizabeth Butler (1640-1665)

Countess of Chesterfield

Artist: studio of Sir Peter Lely (1618-90)

 Second daughter of the Duke and the Duchess of Ormond, she married in 1660 as his second wife, Philip Stanhope, 2nd Earl of Chesterfield.

She was described by a contemporary as ‘one of the most agreeable women in the world’.

The marriage was not a happy match and her mother, the Duchess, comments in a letter dated November 1662, that she is ‘ill and unease of mind for my daughter Chesterfield’s unhappiness’.

A rocky Italianate landscape, in the style of Pandolfo Reschi (1643-99)

A rocky Italianate landscape

Artist: in the style of Pandolfo Reschi (1643-99)

In the foreground there is a rocky landscape with figures, and horses feeding to the left.

A mountain stream flows over rocks. behind, a landscape with buildings opens onto a distant mountainous scene.