portrait of william dewe c 1690 circle of john riley

Portrait of William Dewe c. 1690; Circle of John Riley.



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Oil on canvas in fine quality carved and giltwood 17th century frame.
The sitter wears a fashionable and expensive Indian silk draped over his shoulder, these were so costly that Samuel Pepys hired his when he had his portrait painted. He also wears a large and very expensive wig; the expression 'bigwig' for a rich or important person comes from this fashion.
WILLIAM DEWE, gent. held the important post of Seat Clerk in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury. This was the court through which the discretionary powers and privileges of the monarch were exercised, and also had jurisdiction over deceased estates.
This portrait was probably painted at the time of his engagement or marriage to Elizabeth Butler.
VERSO: three old labels;
1) Handwritten in copperplate: 'William Dewe .... Husband of Elizth. Dewe".
2) A different hand: 'Written by John Butler Pomfret of Tenterden, esq. obit 1834. Restored and cleaned in 1871 by Wm. Pomfret .... of Mary Catherine (Pomfret)/eldest daughter of above John Butler Pomfret - Wm. Dewe and Elizabeth Butler were married in the Charter House Chapel by Rev. Wm. Wellsted 25 July 1693 & had 14 children."
3) Victorian period printed label for Messrs Rutley, Picture Dealers and restorers of London.
The John Butler Pomfret who wrote the first label was born in 1765 in Tenterden, Kent, married Mary Curteis in 1789 and died in February 1834.
JOHN RILEY (1647-1691). Chief Painter to the King from 1688.
"He had a good sense of the character of unpretentious sitters and serious men". 'The Dictionary of 16th and 17th Century British Painters' by Ellis Waterhouse.
SIZE: 37.5 x 32 inches inc. frame.
PROVENANCE: by descent through the Butler Pomfret family.
Collection of Richard Ratcliffe, The Manor House, Waddington, Lincs. (see Image 5)
Internal Ref: 8648

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