Later generations

William IV Blathwayt and his wife Frances with Dyrham Park in the background, by Thomas Phillips, 1806. ©NTPL

In the new edition of ABC Bulletin, assistant curator Alison Harpur writes about the family portraits at Dyrham Park ascribed to Thomas Phillips (1770-1845).

Alison was able to check the artist’s sitters book, which is now kept in the National Portrait Gallery in London. She duly found a mention of the double portrait shown above listed under October 1807. It was probably begun in 1806, before William IV Blathwayt’s death.

William Crane Blathwayt, by Thomas Phillips, 1832. ©NTPL/John Hammond

The portraits of the next generation to own Dyrham, William Crane Blathwayt (1795-1839) and his wife  Frances Margaret, were also painted by Phillips, and were listed in the sitters book under July 1832. It is interesting that even after more than twenty-five years the family still went back to Phillips for their portraits.

Frances Margaret Blathway, née Taylor, wife of William Crane Blathwayt, by Thomas Phillips, 1832. ©National Trust

William Crane Blathwayt was the son of William IV’s sister Penelope. She had eloped with a Jeremiah Pierce Crane and married him in Gretna Green. The childless William IV and Frances raised William Crane as their son and heir, and he took the name Blathwayt in 1817.

Dyrham Park. ©NTPL/Rupert Truman

These paintings record how, after the explosion of Baroque exuberance at Dyrham under the first William Blathwayt (as shown in previous posts) the later generations of Blathwayts settled down to mostly quiet – and occasionally scandalous – lives as members of the country gentry.

4 Responses to “Later generations”

  1. Barbara Says:

    Especially smitten with the country gentry of 1806.

  2. Emile de Bruijn Says:

    Yes, they are sweet aren’t they – and especially poignant as he was about to die. Could his slightly rigid posture, and her solicitous gaze, indicate some kind of illness, I wonder?

  3. simon francis Says:

    Do you have any contact details for Alison? I have a picture believed to be by Thomas Phillips and would like to check against others signatures etc

    Best, S

  4. Emile de Bruijn Says:

    Simon, you can contact her at

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