Of the many types of work in the Goodwood picture collection, portraits are especially in evidence. These are usually of the family or of the related royal family.
The origins of the collection lay in the possessions of Louise de Keroualle, Duchess of Portsmouth, and Duchess of Aubigny in France, to whom some of the paintings originally belonged. Louise was the favourite mistress of King Charles II from 1670 until his death in 1685; the 1st Duke of Richmond was their natural son.
There is a wide range of works from the Stuart period, with court paintings by Van Dyck. There is a particularly fine painting by Lely of the King's favourite sister, Henrietta, Duchess of Orléans and works by interesting French artists patronised by Louise.
The 3rd Duke adopted an artist who was to become England's most famous painter of horses, namely George Stubbs. Three of the four works by him which hang here were actually painted at Goodwood. The 3rd Duke had portraits painted by Grand Tour artists Batoni and Mengs as well as by true and celebrated Brits, Reynolds and Romney. He also bought marine paintings of sea battles, and classical landscapes. There are some especially fine views by the Smiths of Chichester.
To this group the 1st and 2nd Dukes of Richmond added an interesting group of family portraits by Kneller and his circle. The 2nd Duke added French and Italian paintings from his Grand Tour, culminating in the commission to Canaletto for views from his London home. These stunning views of Whitehall and of the Thames once again hang in their original location in the house.
Further famous portrait painters such as Sir Thomas Lawrence, Sir Henry Raeburn and Sir Francis Grant are represented at Goodwood. Scottish scenes from the collections of the Dukes of Gordon broaden the 19th century range. On display this summer will be the portraits of the Duke and Duchess of Richmond by Paul Brason, President of the Royal Society of Portrait painters.
There are also portraits of all four daughters of the 2nd Duke, whose lives were dramatised in Aristocrats, shown on the BBC in 1999.
We welcome visits from interested students of portraiture, and especially enjoy showing through our children's activities how sitters were arranged for the portrait. We field various historical enquiries from Open Day visitors, as well as questions about iconography in subject pictures. It is also interesting to look at the portraits from a fashion angle, or to gossip with our Guides about the sitter. There is no limit to the range of historical and artistic interests that can be fuelled by a visit to Goodwood.
Artists' work that can be found at Goodwood House: Van Dyck, Canaletto, Reynolds, Romney, Stubbs, Lely, John and George Smith of Chichester.
For further information please Call goodwood house on 01243 755000
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