Completed Dress and Textiles, East of England and The Midlands: Artists and Subjects, Portraits: British 16th and 17th C, Portraits: British 18th C 33 Who is this member of the Dyott family and could an identification help establish the name of an artist?

Topic: Subject or sitter

Does the collection have any more information on the identity of this sitter and the artist?

Completed, Outcome

This discussion is now closed. The artist is still unknown and the title remains ‘A Member of the Dyott Family’. The date has been amended from ‘late 17th C–early 18th C’ to ‘1660s’ based on the style of the costume.

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 has commented: 'We have very little information on this painting, but do have the following old note in our paper file on a possible sitter: 'written at the back of frame "Sir R. Dyott". Miss Margaret Dyott, of Freeford Manor, has seen this picture, and said that it is not likely to be of Sir Richard Dyott (1590–1659) but of one of her ancestors.'

Andrew Thrush,

The dress and hair style are early eighteenth century. A more convincing candidate than Sir Richard Dyott (1590-1660) would therefore be Richard Dyott (1667-1719), who serve as MP for Lichfield three times between 1690 and 1715. You'll find an entry on him in The History of Parliament's 1690-1715 volumes, available online.

Jacob Simon,

Dress and hair style look more 1670s to me.

Jacinto Regalado,

I agree with Jacob, except it might be even earlier, although still 17th century.

Jacinto Regalado,

There is probably nothing legible on the paper in the sitter's hand, but can we see a close-up of it?

Jacinto Regalado,

Also, is the dress particular to any profession or type of person?

Jacinto Regalado,

I note the print found by Gregory lists the engraver but not the painter, probably because the latter is unknown. But yes, one of those six sons could be our man--such as his second son, also named Richard, who represented Lichfield in Parliament between 1667 and 1677

Jacinto Regalado,

Sir Richard, by the way, married in early 1615, so his sons would have been born no earlier than than that year.

Jacinto Regalado,

The vital dates for that second son are 1619-1677.

Bendor Grosvenor,

One of the artists whose name I reach for in cases like this - Lely-like but not Lely, and not really good enough to be by the usual other suspects like Greenhill - is Joseph Bokshoorn. Not much of an oeuvre to go on, alas.

Martin Hopkinson,

Bokshoorn can be found in various spellings in the Rijksbureau voor Kunsthistoriche Documentatie . A short bibliography is there too. Has nothing be published since the revised ODNB? a pupil of Lely and active in London 1670-5 where he died aged 35 and was buried in St Martin's churchyard. A portrait by him is the isham family's house, Lamport Hall in Northamptonshire. Are there any others known to compre with this? Are there any family connections between the Ishams and Dyotts?

Jacinto Regalado,

I would suggest style, follower or circle of Lely and a date of 17th century (not even early 18th), probably 1650s-1670s.

Jacob Simon,

More 1670s? I'm cautious about the Lely label or he risks becoming a be-all and end-all, something of a dustbin label.

Marcie Doran,

I've attached an extract from an interesting article about research that was undertaken in 1938 into the Free Library and Museum in Lichfield. It mentions a painting that is probably the one being discussed here. An article from 1911 about the family paintings mentions that items had been "labelled by Mr. [Richard Archibald] Dyott". The sale of Dyott family portraits was reported in 1930.

Mary Dyott made a great many bequests in her will (PROB 11/1720/307 – 23 January 1827) but only mentioned one specific painting – a miniature of her husband. She bequeathed the "family pictures" at Freeford Hall to General William Dyott (1761 – 1847). He did not mention any specific works of art in his will (PROB 11/2057/176). He would have bequeathed family pictures to his eldest son Richard Dyott (d. 13 February 1891) who inherited Freeford Hall. Richard did not mention any specific works of art in his will but his pictures were to remain at Freeford Hall as "heirlooms". His cousin Richard Burnaby later Richard Dyott (d. 22 March 1903) did not mention any specific works of art in his will and, since his son predeceased him, Freeford Hall passed to his grandson Richard Archibald Dyott (d. 28 May 1965).

Osmund Bullock,

The six sons of Sir Richard Dyott (1590–1659) were:
Anthony bap. 10 Jan 1616 [?1617 New Style]
Richard bap. 17 Sep 1618
Matthew bap. 21 May 1620
John bap. 7 Jul 1621
Symon bap. 9 Jun 1622
Michael bap. 5 Jun 1625

Anthony died in 1662 without issue, so his younger brother Richard succeeded to Freeford. He married in 1664, and his eldest son Richard (the 3rd) was born in 1667.

What's the maximum age people think our sitter could be? Even if the portrait's as early as 1665, two more of the brothers were dead by then (Michael 1644, John 1660), and the three surviving ones were all in their 40s.

Osmund Bullock,

Ah, that's interesting. A carefully-composed post full of detail has disappeared into the ether. I'll try and reconstruct it tomorrow.

Jacob Simon,

Two observations:

The size given for this work is wrong. It is smaller than stated.

The collection website gives George Birch as a former owner.

Marcie Doran,

My guess is that the former owner George Birch was the Lichfield solicitor (13 Oct. 1874–21 Mar. 1961) of that name. His parents were Frank Birch (1845–3 Oct. 1875), a solicitor, and his wife Mary Birch (née Newbery or Newbery-Boschetti)(1848–7 Oct. 1939).

Marcie Doran,

Yes, the sitter could be in his 40s.

The attached news report indicates that a man named George Birch acted as Major R. A. Dyott’s solicitor in 1932. Another article that I haven’t attached, from 1913, mentioned that George Birch was the Sheriff of Lichfield and a Councillor.

Lou Taylor, Dress and Textiles,

One of the unusual elements in this portrait is the floppily tied bow round the neck. The simplicity of the clothes, the simple cuffs, and the use of only black and white is also unusual - think he is dressed in informal at home wear - with a loose robe with a deepish collar. He is not a Church man as his neck wear would be totally different. It is just little too early for the loose robe in the Dyott family portrait to be called a banyan. I would place the date as c. early to mid-1660s, because of hairstyle/bow….There is some similarity to this British School portrait of John Lovelace and also to this portrait of Charles Weston, painted 1664-65 (also in an informal robe though his wearing an informal indoor fur cap).

A close-up version of this one is attached.

1 attachment
Jacinto Regalado,

A date of 1660s would fit with one of the sons of Sir Richard Dyott (except Michael and probably John), several of whom would have been in their 40s then.

Jacob Simon,

I agree that this portrait could belong to the 1660s, or less likely the 1670s. The plain oval is uncommon at this date and the depiction of the hand reaching across the body is very unusual for the time. The hand is awkward. Probably the work of an artist outside London.

Nothing obvious on NPG files to help with the identification. It'll be difficult to go beyond the current description: A Member of the Dyott Family

Jacob Simon,

This discussion on a portrait belonging to the Samuel Johnson Birthplace Museum at Lichfield has seen two bursts of activity, on launch in May 2021 and again in April 2023. The discussion asks, “Who is this member of the Dyott family and could an identification help establish the name of an artist?”

THE PORTRAIT. The style of the costume suggests a date range of c.1650-1680, quite possibly 1660s, as discussed in various posts, especially Lou’s (17/04/2023). We have made some progress on the gift of the picture to Lichfield, thanks to Marcie’s research, but this does not provide a breakthrough.

THE SITTER. Given the portrait’s provenance and the old inscription, an identification with a member of the Dyott family is reasonable. Osmund has listed the six sons of Sir Richard Dyott (14/04/2023). But we have not been able to take the identification further so the current description, “A Member of the Dyott Family” should be left to stand.

THE ARTIST. Bendor reached for the name, Joseph Bokshoorn (31/05/2021). But as he said, “not much of an oeuvre to go on, alas”. There is not enough evidence to support this possible attribution. And while circle of Peter Lely has been mentioned, the portrait seems to me to have very little to do with this artist. So I suggest that current designation as “unknown artist” could be allowed to stand.

CONCLUSION. The date for the portrait should be amended to 1660s? Or c.1660s. Otherwise the entry should be allowed to stand. On this basis I recommend that the discussion be closed.