caption

circle of Godfrey Kneller, Thomas Hussey, Second Baronet

Photo courtesy of Dave Penman (All rights reserved)

Details

Country House
Doddington Hall
Title(s)
Thomas Hussey, Second Baronet
Date
c.1680s
Location
Brown Parlour
Medium and support
Oil on canvas
Dimensions
Overall height: 126 cm, Overall width: 105 cm
Artist
circle of Godfrey Kneller (1646-1723)
Catalogue Number
DN24

Description

Thomas Hussey (1639–1706), second Baronet, was baptised on 14 January 1639, the first surviving son of Thomas Hussey (1613–1641), and grandson of Sir Edward Hussey, first Baronet, of Honington and Elizabeth Anton, the heiress to Doddington Hall. Hussey’s mother, Rhoda Chapman (d. 1686), following her husband’s death, married Ferdinando Fairfax, second Baron Fairfax of Cameron, a commander in the Parliamentary army. On his father’s death in 1641, Thomas Hussey went to live at Doddington, with an income of about £2,500 per annum. He was educated privately at Lincoln School and at Christ’s College, Cambridge. In 1661 he married Sarah Langham, daughter of Sir John Langham, first Baronet. His daughter, Sarah Hussey (1700–1749), was heiress to Doddington Hall. Through her marriage to Robert Apreece, Doddington passed to her daughter, Rhoda Apreece, the wife of Captain Francis Blake Delaval.

At the Restoration Hussey, who was an ardent Royalist, provided the king with a loan of £60. A professional soldier, he joined the army as an ensign in the Earl of Peterbrough’s Regiment, becoming an adjutant in the Duke of York’s Regiment. Hussey also served in the Tangier Regiment on the north-west coast of Africa in the early 1680s. Following his sojourn in Africa, Hussey commanded a cavalry troop at the Battle of Sedgemoor in 1685, eventually achieving the rank of lieutenant colonel. Hussey was also engaged in local and national politics, and in 1668–9 was appointed high sheriff of Lincolnshire, and served as member of parliament for Lincoln and later Lincolnshire during the 1680s and 1690s. A Tory, and a reluctant supporter of the 1688 revolution, Hussey died in 19 December 1706, and was buried in the mortuary chapel of the Hussey family at St Wilfrid’s Church, Honington. Cole noted that the marble bust of Hussey in his grave monument bears a ‘striking resemblance to his portrait in the gallery at Doddington representing him with flowing wig, in the costume of his day’.1

The portrait, as visible seams in the canvas reveal, was at some point enlarged from a standard ‘three-quarters’ (head and shoulders) canvas, measuring c.30 by 25 inches, to a standard ‘half-length’ canvas, measuring c.50 by 40 inches. The most notable addition is the figure of the sphinx to the left, indicating that this part of the portrait at least was painted after 1680, and following Hussey’s army service in North Africa. The identity of the portraitist is unknown but the painting style and characterisation of the face are reminiscent of the English artist, John Riley (1646–1691), who flourished during the 1680s, following the death of Sir Peter Lely.

by Martin Postle

Footnotes

  1. Cole, 1897, p. 106

    1

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