British School, Ann Sperling, Wife of James Heywood

Photo courtesy of Dave Penman (All rights reserved)


Country House
Ann Sperling, Wife of James Heywood
c. mid-1720s
Medium and support
Oil on canvas
Overall height: 73 cm, Overall width: 60 cm
British School
Catalogue Number


This portrait depicts Ann Sperling, daughter of Henry Sperling and his wife Ann Crol. Ann Sperling became the wife of James Heywood and mother of John Heywood (TN23). Since she was also the mother-in-law of Thomas Hawkins (TN22), it is possible that the present portrait and the pendant portrait of her husband (TN57) came to Trewithen at the time of Hawkins’s marriage to her daughter, although it is more likely that they were inherited at a later date.

On stylistic grounds, the present portrait and its pendant of James Heywood appear to be by the same artist, who must have lived, like them, in London. Based on stylistic grounds, the birth of James Heywood (1687) and his estimated age at the time of the portrait, a date somewhere in the mid-1720s for both portraits seems feasible. A previous suggestion that the artist was working in the circle of Charles Jervas (or Jarvis) is rejected here.1 The portrait has remained on display in the Staircase Hall since at least March 1928, when it was recorded in the inventory of the collection.

by Emily Burns


  1. Caroline Pegum, a leading authority on Jervas, has stated in correspondence with the author that the work ‘has no stylistic similarities with Jervas’.


Related catalogue items from Trewithen

  • Castle Howard Trewithen

    John Heywood in Academical Dress

    Thomas Hudson, 1758–9

  • Castle Howard Trewithen

    Pastoral Figures among Ruins

    circle of John Wootton, c.1735

  • Castle Howard Trewithen

    Unknown Child

    circle of Robert Byng, c.1690–1700