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Admiral Fitzroy Henry Lee, 1699-1750

Oil paintings

Object connections:

Collection Oil paintings, Fine art
Gallery locationNot on display
PeopleDepiction: Lee, Fitzroy Henry

Object details:

Object ID BHC2591
Description Admiral Fitzroy Henry Lee is shown in flag officer’s full dress uniform, 1748–1767, and a short white full wig. The portrait was at some point inscribed ‘Adml. Byng’ but this attribution of the sitter is now considered incorrect. Lee was the son of Lady Charlotte Fitzroy, 1664-1718. She was a illegitimate daughter of Charles II and Barbara Villiers, Duchess of Cleveland. He entered the Navy in 1717 and commanded the 'Pembroke', 60 guns, in the Mediterranean, 1738-42. In 1746 he went as Commodore and Commander-in-Chief at the Leeward Islands, where the complaints of his drunken habits and neglect of duty are, though not substantiated, at least supported by his general reputation. Although the painting is inscribed as Byng it is unlikely to be the same man as shown in BHC2590, the three-quarter length by Hudson, presented by Lord Strafford in 1942 (signed and dated 1749). The current painting was bought at the Dillon Sale at Sotheby's, lot 29, 24/5/1933. On the day before the sale Geoffrey Callender, NMM director designate, wrote to Sir James Caird 'It appears that the NPG has for long been anxious to obtain a portrait of the celebrated Byng. Such being the case the Director (Hake) has scrutinised most carefully the portrait of Byng to be sold at the Dillon sale. After the fullest investigation, he has decided that it is not Byng at all but a second portrait of Admiral Lee at a more advanced age.' The earlier portrait of Admiral Lee to which Hake referred is of Fitzroy Henry Lee (1699-1750), unidentified artist and painted about 1725 or a little earlier (BHC2838). This portrait was also in the Dillon sale, lot 30, and has a painted inscription in the same hand as the 'Byng'. The painter, Hudson, was both pupil and son-in-law of another notable portraitist, the elder Jonathan Richardson, and was in turn the early master in London of Joshua Reynolds. Regarded as a safe man for a dignified and flattering likeness, he was the leading society portraitist of his time, with a huge practice.
Date made Mid 18th century

Artist/Maker Hudson, Thomas
Credit National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, Caird Collection
Materials oil on canvas
Measurements Painting: 762 mm x 635 mm; Frame: 910 mm x 780 mm x 75 mm
  • Admiral Fitzroy Henry Lee, 1699-1750 (BHC2591)
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