attributed to Godfrey Kneller, Elizabeth Hussey

Photo courtesy of Dave Penman (All rights reserved)


Country House
Doddington Hall
Elizabeth Hussey
Brown Parlour
Medium and support
Oil on canvas
Overall height: 120 cm, Overall width: 105 cm
attributed to Godfrey Kneller (1646-1723)
Catalogue Number
  • Lettered bottom left ‘ELIZABETH HUSSEY’ and bottom right ‘KNELLER’


The portrait represents Elizabeth Hussey (1688–1724), one of four daughters of Thomas Hussey, second Baronet, and Sarah Langham, daughter of Sir John Langham. She married on 21 May 1714 Sir Richard Ellys, Baronet (1683–1742) of Nocton, Lincolnshire. Ellys, who was MP for Grantham (1701–5) and Boston (1719–34), was educated at a private dissenting academy and was educated partly in Holland. He is reported to have been so mired in debt that shortly after his marriage to Elizabeth Hussey he was compelled to take his wife to Europe and ‘now her house and goods and all is seized’. Ellys’ father evidently ‘answered for her house and goods, but no more’.1

Elizabeth died childless on 11 August 1724, and Ellys remarried. Elizabeth is buried in the Hussey family chapel, along with her mother, and sister Rebecca, in St Wilfrid’s Church, Honington, Lincolnshire. The present portrait, in which the sitter is aged around twenty, was commissioned presumably for Sir Thomas Hussey. In the late nineteenth century it hung on the main staircase at Doddington. At that time Cole suggested that it was the portrait (described as her ‘sister Betty’) bequeathed by the will of Rebecca Hussey to her niece, Rhoda Apreece, in 1714. The attribution to Kneller is traditional but is by no means certain.

by Martin Postle


  1. (accessed 9 October 2017).


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