Completed Dress and Textiles, Northern Ireland: Artists and Subjects, Portraits: British 18th C, Portraits: British 19th C 8 Further information is sought on 'Portrait of a Lord (?), in Ermine Robes'

Portrait of a Lord(?) in Ermine Robes
Topic: Other

Do you know anything about this painting that hangs in Belfast Castle? Both the artist and subject are unknown.

Alison Mitchelson, Entry reviewed by Art UK

Completed, Outcome

Jade Audrey King,

This painting is now listed as by John James Masquerier (1778–1855), and the title 'George Augustus Chichester, 2nd Marquess of Donegall'.

This amend will appear on the new version of the Your Paintings website in January 2016. Thank you to all for participating in this discussion. To those viewing this discussion for the first time, please see below for all comments that led to this conclusion.


Barbara Bryant,

Thanks for this quick result, Tim. And it looks to be an excellent example of the work of the too-little-known John James Masquerier (1778-1855), a fascinating individual. This portrait of Donegall would be an early work by the artist, probably painted on the accession of the young marquess to his title early in 1799.

Tim Williams,

It is also illustrated in 'Living Like a Lord: The Second Marquis of Donegall, 1769-1844' W.A. Maguire 2002, as by Masquerier.

Masquerier also painted his wife Anna - the original sold at Christie's in 1995:

There must be quite a few other Masquerier's on YourPaintings masked by anonymous or incorrect attributions. Five, (now six) works for an incredibly prolific portrait painter cannot be accurate. This might be Masquerier's portrait of Admiral Otway exhibited at the RA in 1831:

Jade Audrey King,

The collection have emailed to say:

'Our belief was that it is the 3rd Marquis of Donegall but I’m not sure of the source of this information.'

Osmund Bullock,

Well, I'm afraid their belief was incorrect: confusion between generations in 'traditional' identities of portrait sitters is extremely common.

The mezzotint of what is clearly the same portrait - identified on the plate as the Marquis of Donegall - was published in 1800. The 2nd Marquis of Donegall (1769–1844) inherited the title in 1799. The 3rd Marquis of Donegall (1797–1883) did not inherit the title until 1844. It is therefore impossible that the 3rd Marquis could have been depicted in 1800 as a grown man wearing a peer's parliamentary robes - he was only three years old!

Jade Audrey King,

The collection emailed to say they agree with the recommendation that this painting is retitled 'George Augustus Chichester, 2nd Marquess of Donegall', and the work listed as by John James Masquerier (1778–1855).