View full screen - View 1 of Lot 206. Portrait of Sir William Monson, 4th Bt. (c. 1653-1727), three-quarter-length, before a column, a landscape beyond.
206

John Riley

Portrait of Sir William Monson, 4th Bt. (c. 1653-1727), three-quarter-length, before a column, a landscape beyond

Property from a Private Collection, California

John Riley

John Riley

Portrait of Sir William Monson, 4th Bt. (c. 1653-1727), three-quarter-length, before a column, a landscape beyond

Portrait of Sir William Monson, 4th Bt. (c. 1653-1727), three-quarter-length, before a column, a landscape beyond

Authenticity guarantee

What is guaranteed?

Property from a Private Collection, California

John Riley

1646 - 1691

Portrait of Sir William Monson, 4th Bt. (c. 1653-1727), three-quarter-length, before a column, a landscape beyond


inscribed lower right: Sr. Willim Monson / Bart. of Burton / in Lincolnshire / John Riley fecit

oil on canvas

canvas: 50 by 40¾in.; 127 by 103.5 cm.

framed: 57¾ by 48⅛ in.; 146.7 by 122.2 cm. 

The canvas appears to be unlined, with reinforcements at the extreme edges, and on an old stretcher. The painting is in overall good condition and is ready to hang. The image presents strongly beneath a crisp varnish, and the sitter's face and parts of his costume, particularly his lace collar and cuffs and his blue doublet at his chest, are well preserved and retain some lovely impasto. A stretcher bar mark is faintly visible in raking light near the upper edge, and one small square of restoration in the column at upper left. Inspection under UV reveals a thick varnish, beneath which there may be an older campaign of restoration. Some broadly applied strokes of strengthening appear throughout the sitter's costume, primarily in the shadows of the folds, as well as a spot in the background to the left of the sitter at shoulder height. There are only a few thin strokes of retouching to craquelure in the sitter's face, with a few spots in his hair and in the sitter's hands. Some retouching visible at the edges of the canvas. Offered in a giltwood frame with decorative embellishments.


The lot is sold in the condition it is in at the time of sale. The condition report is provided to assist you with assessing the condition of the lot and is for guidance only. Any reference to condition in the condition report for the lot does not amount to a full description of condition. The images of the lot form part of the condition report for the lot. Certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot. In particular, the online images may represent colors and shades which are different to the lot's actual color and shades. The condition report for the lot may make reference to particular imperfections of the lot but you should note that the lot may have other faults not expressly referred to in the condition report for the lot or shown in the online images of the lot. The condition report may not refer to all faults, restoration, alteration or adaptation. The condition report is a statement of opinion only. For that reason, the condition report is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice regarding the condition of the lot. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS ONLINE CONDITION REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE/BUSINESS APPLICABLE TO THE RESPECTIVE SALE.

George Poulett, 8th Earl Poulett (1909-1973), Hinton House, Somerset;
Anonymous sale, London, Sotheby's, 5 February 1969, lot 30 (£250 to Agnew's);
Sydney Mason (b. 1920), Chairman of the Hammerson Group, Dudley House, London;
With Agnew's, London;
From whom acquired by a private collector, 1986;
By whom anonymously sold ("Property of a Gentleman"), New York, Christie's, 31 October 2017, lot 83;
There acquired.

After the death of Peter Lely in 1680, John Riley became one of the leading English portrait painters. Trained under Isaac Fuller and Gerard Soest, Riley firmly established himself among fashionable clientele in the genre of portraiture and was celebrated during his lifetime by Horace Walpole as "one of the best native painters that has flourished in England." He excelled particularly in capturing the facial features of his sitters, which he rendered with a sensitive brush and truthful excellence. He is known to have painted James I and Mary of Modena, and in 1688, Riley and his contemporary Godfrey Kneller were appointed jointly as Principal Painter in Ordinary to King William III and Queen Mary. Riley often collaborated later in his career with John Closterman, and in his bustling studio, Riley welcomed Anthony Russell, Edward Gouge, Thomas Murray, and Johnathan Richardson, among others.  


The fashionable sitter in this grand portrait by Riley is Sir William Monson, a prominent Whig politician in England in the late 17th and early 18th centuries. The second son of Sir John Monson of Burton, Lincolnshire (1628-1674), and Judith Pelham, Sir William Monson married Laetitia Poulett, the daughter of John Poulett, 3rd Baron Poulett, in July 1688. On 6 April 1718, he succeeded his brother, who had died without issue, as 4th Baronet. In the House of Commons, he represented Lincoln (1695-98), Heytesbury (1702-08), Hertford (1708-10), and Aldborough (1715-21). In addition to his political enterprises, William Monson attempted to establish a company of glassmakers in London and also took part in lead mining enterprises in Northern Wales.