English School, ? Richard Harrison (1646–1726)

Photo courtesy of Tom St Aubyn (All rights reserved)


Country House
Raynham Hall
? Richard Harrison (1646–1726)
The State Dining Room
Medium and support
Oil on canvas
Overall height: 115 cm, Overall width: 97.5 cm
English School
Catalogue Number


The portrait has been identified as Sir John Harrison (c.1589–1669), grandfather of Edward Harrison who was the father of Ethelreda Harrison, wife of Charles, 3rd Viscount Townshend (1700–1764). However, to judge from the format and the costume worn by the sitter, the painting looks to be of the 1680s, by an artist seeking to emulate the style of Willem Wissing (1656–1687) – thus making it difficult to accept the identification of the sitter as John Harrison.

Sir John Harrison was of humble birth but made his name and fortune as collector of customs and built for himself a large brick house, Balls Park, Hertford, in about 1640. The house was subsequently sequestered and the family encumbered with debt accrued during the Civil War. After his death the house was occupied by his widow and their son Richard Harrison (1646–1726), who is a candidate for the sitter in this portrait. He was succeeded by his son, Edward Harrison (1674–1732), whose daughter, Etheldreda, also known as Audrey (see [obj]RN46[/obj] and [obj]RN56[/obj]), married Charles Townshend, 3rd Viscount Townshend in 1723. When Edward Harrison died in 1732 his estate came to Lady Townsend, and with it the pictures from Balls Park, a house that was eventually sold by the Townshends to Sir George Faudel-Philips in 1901.

by Edward Town


Prince Frederick Duleep Singh, Portraits in Norfolk Houses, ed. Rev. Edmund Farrer, vol. 2, Norwich : Jarrold and Sons, 1928, p. 234, no. 53 [‘MAN’]

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