THE PROPERTY OF AN ENGLISH PRIVATE COLLECTOR
By descent to his stepdaughter Florence Louise Witherspoon Breckenridge (c. 1890–1956) who married in 1909 Sir Thomas Fermor-Hesketh, 8th Bt, later 1st Baron Hesketh (1881–1944);
Thence by descent to his son Frederick Fermor-Hesketh, 2nd Baron Hesketh (1916–1955);
By whose trustees sold ('The Property of The Trustees of Frederick, 2nd Baron Hesketh, deceased'), London, Sotheby's, 3 December 2008, lot 2, where acquired by the mother of the present owner;
Thence by inheritance.
Brussels, Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts, Le Siècle de Brueghel, 27 September – 24 November 1963, no. 106.
Note on Provenance
The panels are first recorded in the Drawing Room of Frederick William Sharon's New York residence, circa 1900 (Fig.1). Frederick was the only son of William Sharon (1821–1885) who initially made his fortune as a lawyer and merchant during the California gold rush of the 1840s and ’50s. He later co-founded the Bank of California with William Ralston and served as Senator in the 1870s. William Sharon had three children and it is possible these paintings were first acquired by him and entered the Fermor-Hesketh collection via his younger daughter, Florence Emily Sharon (1858–1924), who married Sir Thomas George Fermor-Hesketh, 7th Bt (1849–1924). It seems however more likely that they were acquired by Frederick William Sharon and passed to his stepdaughter, Florence Louise Witherspoon Breckenridge (c. 1890–1956), who married her step cousin Thomas Fermor-Hesketh (1881–1944) in 1909.
The younger Fermor-Heskeths first established themselves at no. 7 Rutland Gate, London and Rufford New Hall, Lancashire. In 1912, Sir Thomas George handed over the family's principal seat, Easton Neston in Northamptonshire, to his son who was M.P. for Enfield and later ennobled for services to the Conservative Party, becoming Baron Hesketh in 1935. The panels hung in the Entrance Hall at Easton Neston until May 2005.
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