Completed Dress and Textiles, East of England and The Midlands: Artists and Subjects, Portraits: British 18th C 25 Does this portrait date from 1729 and who painted it?

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I am writing the biography of architect Henry Flitcroft who designed Bower House in 1729 for John Baynes. The portrait hung there within a Flitcroft overmantel frame. Sir James Thornhill (whose daughter married Hogarth that year) also worked at the house. Lucy was born in about 1710 and only married in 1743 after her father’s death. If 1729 is the date, which seems likely, it is not possible to attribute it to school of William Hogarth … any thoughts? Could it be an early Hogarth, the same year as The Sleeping Congregation? Flitcroft was known as a Burlington disciple while Hogarth was very anti the Architect Earl. They were exact contemporaries. [Group leader: Bendor Grosvenor]

Gill Hedley, Entry reviewed by Art UK

Completed, Outcome

This discussion is now closed. The attribution has been updated from School of William Hogarth to Enoch Seeman the Younger and the painting has been dated c.1729.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to the discussion. To anyone viewing this discussion for the first time, please see below for all the comments that led to this conclusion.


The Collection have commented: ‘The sequence of portraits of the Baynes family of Bower House formed part of the county art collection from County Hall, which the Record Office had passed to it with virtually no information regarding the origins. The only note we can find derives from some photographs of the paintings taken in 1967, which suggests that the subject and possible ascription to Hogarth are down to Christopher Hussey in a wartime article for Country Life. I have attached a scan of this sheet (ERO reference I/Pb 2/10). I have also looked at a photocopy of the original article from 24th March 1944 which states “the saloon chimneypiece… with the charming portrait in it of Lucy Baynes (surely an unattributed Hogarth)”.

The Baynes portraits remain in their disframed condition and there is no writing or ascription on this portrait. The date given in the catalogue is ‘circa 1740’, although there is no particular reason given for this. I suspect it may be biographical based on the possible age of Lucy at the time, although I have not been able to track down a family tree in our collections. Lucy married Francis Lee or Leigh on 5th May 1743 but no age is given in the relevant register of St George’s, Bloomsbury.'

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The contributor added: ‘I am attaching a document. I am sure that Martin Hopkinson is right (as he usually is) that Inventory (1737) of the goods of Mr Serjeant Baynes decd at Havering, Essex, made by John Padmore and John Antonie | The National Archives may hold the key to some attributions. I have found a researcher who wishes to do some work on Bower House records and hope I can persuade her to look at the MS as she is based in Bucks. My only interest is in Flitcroft and the other people involved in the commission for Bower House which I hope included Hogarth.’

The Collection commented: ‘That is most useful for us here at Essex Record Office, particularly to have a clear date of Lucy Baynes’s birth and to see the relations between the Lee, Baynes and Sandys families. We hope your researcher finds the item at Aylesbury useful and we would be delighted to know the outcome of that visit regarding a potentially more accurate dating.'

[Then, at a later date, the contributor added:] ‘Baynes' 1737 inventory in Aylesbury (now examined by a researcher) provides no clues as to the artist but simply confirms that the painting was built into the original plasterwork (which was clear from early photos) 'all fixt on the wainscott'. At least the date of the inventory confirms that the painting is before 1740! I am confident of my date attribution of 1729 for this painting due to Lucy's age and the building of Bower House. '

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Peter Nahum,

Dear Jill,

We live in 5 Bloomsbury Square, the other 1/2 of Pushin House, which Flitcroft "improved" in 1744 for the Bedfords. If you would like to visit, email us, Peter & Renate Nahum, at:


Jacob Simon,

I'd suggest that this portrtait is the work of Enoch Seeman the younger c.1694–1745 from the pinpoint eyes and the flabby handling of the face.

Whaley Turco,
I have to say No, it's not a Hogarth, If you study The Sleeping Congregation you will see that the sophisticated level of composition, drafting, drawing and animation is Masterpiece quality. Could it be a student or follower or admirer of his> YES. One can see where they are trying to compare the young lady to ripe fruit. But that's as far as they got.

Gill Hedley,

I should add that Mary Baynes, wife to John Baynes who commissioned the house and presumably their own and his daughter's portraits, was nee Beke and sister in law to Duke of Montagu's steward Marc Antonie. Baynes himself was the duke's man of law.

Gill Hedley,

Likely that orange is simply an elegant ref to the address of the house on what was Orange Tree Hill, but possibly an allusion to father's wealth and her heirship.

Jacob Simon,

It is unusual to find a profile portrait at this time, making this painting of Lucy Baynes from Bower House a rare example. This discussion asks two things. Does this portrait date from 1729. And who painted it.

THE DATE OF THE PORTRAIT. An inventory of 1737 refers to the portrait, as reported by David Saywell (04/02/2022). In the same post, in an attachment by Gill Hedley, the proposed date of 1729 is explained. Bower House was built that year and the portrait fitted into the overmantel woodwork. Lucy was born in 1709 and appears here at the age of about 20. On this basis, a date of about 1729 would be reasonable.

THE ARTIST. The idea of William Hogarth as the artist, made in the 1940s, is not tenable. Two years ago I suggested that this portrait was the work of Enoch Seeman the younger (c.1694–1745) from the pinpoint eyes and the flabby handling of the face (04/02/2022). I have now followed this up. In the substantial file of reproductions at the National Portrait Gallery there are no other profile portraits by this artist. However, there is a signed and dated 1733 portrait of a woman with an orange tree (image failed to attach despite several attempts)). It is not the inclusion of an orange tree as such, found in some English portraits from at least the 1680s, which is significant But rather the form of the orange tree in its round container and the way the woman picks the orange from a tree displaying orange flowers. That, taken with the handling of the facial features, the fall of light on the costume and the division of the background on the right side of both paintings, make me confident about an attribution to Enoch Seeman the younger.

I am minded to recommend shortly that this discussion be closed unless further information can be obtained.

Osmund Bullock,

Is there any word on if and when the ability to upload attachments might be restored? I appreciate that Marion has been away for much of the time since the problem became apparent to us nearly a fortnight ago (night of the 4th/5th); but on the 12th David Saywell said that, in her absence, he would flag it "as a bug for our software developers to fix", since when...silence.

It is particularly frustrating as (a) this is a repeat issue, which we were told not that long ago had been sorted out; and (b) we are being asked to try and tie up as many loose ends as possible on here before we are closed down. I have significant contributions to add to many open discussions, but pretty much all of them rely on images I've saved and annotated/combined to support the arguments.

Osmund Bullock,

Oh, and while we're at it, is there any way of disabling the deeply-annoying 'Want More Art?' pop-up that keeps appearing on (and largely obscuring) the right-hand side of the screen? Perhaps Art UK's software developers could concentrate on fixing the things we deperately need, instead of inflicting upon us things that we don't?

The problem with uploading attachments will be resolved, and the software developers have it amongst their other Art UK issues list that they are working through - I had that confirmed with the Head of Digital Infrastructure after your message Osmund. Apologies, I have no given date for that, and appreciate it must be extremely frustrating. Just to say that I did flag it as soon as I said I would on the 12th.

Jacob Simon,

On 16/04/2024, I summarised this discussion. A date of c.1729 can reasonably be allocated to this portrait. As to the artist, “Attributed to Enoch Seeman the younger” is reasonable as set out above.

On this basis, I recommend this discussion be closed.

Osmund Bullock,

I am reluctant to interrupt the closure process, as the substantive questions have in my view been answered. But I feel I must point out to Gill Hedley that a couple of important details in her pdf 'The Baynes Family of Havering (attached by David Saywell (04/02/2022 14:46) are incorrect, and it would be a pity if the errors crept into her biography of Flitcroft.

I have been researching the family in considerable depth and detail for the other current Baynes/Bower House portrait discussion Having finally cleared up some anomalies, I can now say with 100% certainty that John Baynes (or Baines), the builder of Bower House in 1729, was not born in 1689, and his father was not Edmund Baynes of Essex - indeed the only such I can see is the John Banes [sic] baptized on 2 July 1689 at Thaxted, son of Sarah & Edmond Banes, a yeoman farmer. it's just possible they were distant relations (our man's gt-grandfather was also called Edmond, and also lived in Essex, albeit the opposite end of the county 40 miles away), but there is no discernible connection.

Osmund Bullock,

The correct man is the John Baines [sic] born 19 Jan 1676/7, and baptized at St Olave, Old Jewry, on the 22nd, his parents being 'Mr John Baines Esqre [sic]' and Lucy his wife. Christening record attached. I have plenty more about him and his father and grandfather, both also lawyers, to confirm this (e.g. his Oxford education - matric March 1694/5; career at the Inner Temple - called to the bar 1702, appt serjeant-at-law 1724), but as it is peripheral to the main question, and we're trying to wrap things up, I will leave it at that. I will be giving some more detail in the other discussion, where it is central to the sitter's identity; but if Gill would like to see my evidence for her purposes, perhaps she could get in touch with me direct via the office – or maybe they could forward an email on to her?**

[**I would also like to know from Gill if the researcher who investigated the 1737 “inventory of the goods of Mr Serjeant Baynes” at Buckinghamshire Archives (ref D-X 1212/32-35) looked at / copied any more entries in it relating to other portraits of family members? It would be extremely helpful to know if there is mentioned – probably also 'fixt on the wainscott' – a portrait of Serjeant Baynes’s mother Lucy (née Lee), who married his father John in Feb 1675/6. That of course relates entirely to the other discussion, but I thought there was a better chance of Gill seeing the query here.]

Jacob Simon,

Hedley's book was published last year and well received. I don't know how far she dwelt on the history of the Baynes family. What I can say is that Osmund's research will be valuable for relevant Essex County Council staff and other historians.

I am glad that Osmund will post research relevant to the other Baynes discussion (see above) in the thread for that discussion.

Osmund Bullock,

As to Jacob’s attribution to Enoch Seeman the younger, I find it convincing. To the distinctive eyes he mentions, I might add the dark eyebrows, the touch of pale brick-red/dusky pink on her lips – a colour Seeman regularly used, especially on the lips of his sitters, male and female (though usually more prominently than this**) – and the typically (for him) heavy and somewhat crude folds in the drapery. There is in fact another known profile portrait by Seeman (if Philip Mould’s plausible attribution is correct) – a self-portrait with his brother Isaac. See This must be considerably earlier than our work, perhaps as much as 20 years, and the lighting is of course completely different; but there are comparable elements. See attached comparison.

Incidentally, Seeman’s year of birth is nowadays usually given as 1689 or 1690, rather than c. 1694. I don’t know on what basis, but the NPG, for one, follows suit.

[**This unattributed Bower House portrait, possibly of Lucy’s mother Mary née Beke, also looks like his work to me, though of a commoner, indeed bog-standard type, complete with typical Seeman lips. His output was extremely variable in quality.]

Osmund Bullock,

How very interesting. It is of the same basic format and size (more or less) as the slightly earlier one (1727) by Vanderbank that is or was set into the original plasterwork at Bower House, but is significantly different nevertheless. See attached comparison**. It would be interesting to know more of its origins, and how it got to Australia; the important point, though, is that it confirms that the Baynes family (or a closely allied one) were clients of Seeman at the right time.

[A couple of the details given by the dealer are wrong: John Baynes was never knighted, and as we now know, he was born in 1677, not 1689. I also doubt (though Jacob may correct me) that that's the original frame - it looks later than early 1730s to me.]

**Edit: No comparison attached. The uploading problem has returned AGAIN - and I've tried it as a PNG and a PDF as well as a JPG. Could Art UK please put it back on the list - preferably not at the bottom - for your tech geniuses to fix when they have a moment?

Jacob Simon,

Like Osmund, I welcome Marcie's very relevant post. It gives me confidence in the Enoch Seeman attribution. I suspect that the portrait on the Antique Guild website may have been framed on arrival in Australia.

If it is any consolation to Osmund, I have just successfully posted in another discussion a comparison in docx format.

Jacob Simon,

Sometimes a recommendation to close a long dormant discussion excites a flurry of activity but with mixed results. In this case the recent posts have been very productive.

I recommended closure on 05/05/2024, referring to a discussion summary on 16/04/2024. Then I wrote that a date of c.1729 can reasonably be allocated to this portrait. That remains the case.

On the artist, the recent identification by Marcie of an Enoch Seeman signed and dated portrait of Serjeant Baynes from 1733 (07/05/2024) gives me the confidence to recommend that our portrait can be described as "By Enoch Seeman the younger”, rather than just "attributed".

On this revised basis, I recommend this discussion be closed.