Christian Richter (Swedish, 1678-1732) John Lowther, 1st Viscount Lonsdale PC FRS (1655-1700), wearing grey coat, white cravat and long natural curled wig, a blue cloak over his left shoulder
Lot 10
Christian Richter
(Swedish, 1678-1732)
John Lowther, 1st Viscount Lonsdale PC FRS (1655-1700), wearing grey coat, white cravat and long natural curled wig, a blue cloak over his left shoulder
Sold for £9,000 (US$ 15,289) inc. premium
Lot Details
Christian Richter (Swedish, 1678-1732)
John Lowther, 1st Viscount Lonsdale PC FRS (1655-1700), wearing grey coat, white cravat and long natural curled wig, a blue cloak over his left shoulder.
Watercolour on vellum, signed on the obverse with monogram CR, inscribed on the reverse with the sitter's name and combined monogram of sitter and artist, signed with monogram and dated Lord Lonsdale/ LCR/ CR/ 1700 (altered to 1710), silver frame.
Oval, 73mm (2 7/8in) high
Provenance: Purchased in 1972
Exhibited: Portrait Miniatures from the Merchiston Collection, Scottish National Portrait Gallery, 23 September – 11 December 2005, no.10
Literature: Stephen Lloyd, Exhibition Catalogue, 2005, p.58

Footnotes

  • John's mother died when he was six and his father remarried against the will of his own father, Sir John Lowther, 1st Bt, who promptly disinherited him. Sir John had his grandson educated at Lowther Hall, Westmorland, under the supervision of his butler 'whose cruelty and blows did no good to my tender years', as John later recalled in his memoirs. After a time at Queen's College, Oxford and at an academy in Paris, he attended lectures at the Inner Temple, from whence he was called to the bar in 1677. In 1674 he married Katherine Thynne, daughter of Sir Henry Frederick Thynne, by whom he was to have five sons and nine daughters. When his grandfather died the following year Lowther inherited both the family estate and — his own father having died in 1668 — the baronetcy.

    In March 1677 he was returned to parliament for Westmorland. Apart from the brief session of October 1680–January 1681 he was re-elected to every parliament until his elevation to the House of Lords in 1696. Lowther came to political prominence in 1688 when he took the lead in securing Cumberland and Westmorland for William of Orange, for which he was hailed as a hero. He was made vice-chamberlain in the new king's household, a privy councillor, and lord lieutenant of Cumberland and Westmorland. On 18 March 1690 he was appointed first lord of the Treasury and leader of the House of Commons.

    In 1696 he was created Baron Lowther of Lowther and Viscount Lonsdale in the county of Westmorland and was introduced in the House of Lords on 13 January 1697. Lowther inherited from his grandfather the family estates in Westmorland, and lands in Cumberland, Yorkshire, and co. Durham. He made no fewer than eighty-one separate purchases of property in Cumberland and Westmorland, at a cost of £33,731, and he spent a further £10,000 on property in Yorkshire, again designed to consolidate the existing estates. His landed income was £6387 in 1694–5. Lonsdale built a new house at Lowther at a cost of £6460. He employed William Talman of the king's office of works, and deputy to Wren, to prepare a design based 'principally on my own thought'. The building costs included £195 for marble from London, and £430 paid to the Italian artist Antonio Verrio, who spent nine months painting the hallway.

    He died at Lowther in July 1700 and since his three surviving sons were all under age, the title and estate passed to his brother Henry, whose gambling led to the sale of the estate.

    Richter appears to have used one of two existing likenesses of Lonsdale as the prototype for the present lot; a portrait in the Government Art Collection by Hyacinth Rigaud; or an anonymous portrait previously in the Howsham Collection. Whilst the head of both portraits is close to that of the present lot, neither painting shows the sitter wearing blue cloak and plain white cravat, suggesting that these were of Richter's invention.
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