Portrait of Edward Vernon, 4th Baron Suffield, his wife, Charlotte Susannah, Lady Suffield, seated on a white pony, and her sister, Georgina Mary, with gamekeepers and dogs, Gunton Park beyond
Oil on canvas: 70.5(h) x 80.2(w) in /
179.1(h) x 203.8(w) cm
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RAMSAY RICHARD REINAGLE, RA
1775 – London – 1862
Portrait of Edward Vernon, 4th Baron Suffield, his wife, Charlotte Susannah, Lady Suffield, seated on a white pony, and his sister, Georgiana Mary, with gamekeepers and dogs, Gunton Park beyond
Oil on canvas: 70 ½ x 80 ¼ in / 179 x 204 cm
Frame size: 78 x 87 in / 198.1 x 221 cm
In an eighteenth century style running pattern carved & gilded frame
Commissioned by Edward, 4th Baron Suffield (1813-1853) for Gunton Park, Norfolk and by descent at Gunton Park;
sold by the Trustees of the Gunton Park Estate at Messrs. Irelands, Hanworth, Norfolk, 16, 17, 25 and 26 September 1980, lot 1705
Thomas Agnew & Sons, Ltd, London, by whom sold on 7th July 1981
Private collection, UK
Richard Green, London, 2005
Private collection, UK
Prince F Duleep Singh, Portraits in Norfolk Houses, Norwich, 1928, p.189, no.16
This magnificent group portrait is one of Reinagle’s most successful compositions. The sitters in elegant sporting dress are informally arranged against a background of gentle autumnal colours. It is likely to have been painted shortly after the marriage of Edward Vernon, 4th Lord Suffield, to Charlotte Susannah, only daughter of Alan Hyde, 2nd Baron Gardner, in 1835.
Edward Vernon Harbord, 4th Baron Suffield (1813-1853) was the eldest son of Edward, 3rd Baron Suffield, by his first wife Georgiana, daughter and heiress of George, 2nd Baron Gardner. Edward, 3rd Baron Suffield, an active politician, was a young man known for his flamboyant dress and his sporting prowess, particularly in running, and he often raced professional athletes. He died at his London home, Vernon House in Park Place, on 6th July 1835, after falling from his horse on Constitution Hill and was buried at the family seat, Gunton Park. His son succeeded to the title and married Charlotte Susannah, daughter of Alan Hyde, 2nd Baron Gardner, by Charlotte, his second wife, third daughter of Robert, 1st Lord Carrington. The 4th Baron Suffield spent much time hunting in Leicester and was made Master of the Quorn Hunt in 1838. He lost a great sum racing and was forced, in 1839, to sell all of his horses. He died on 22nd August 1853 and his wife, Charlotte, Lady Suffield, died on 15th August, 1859, without issue. Georgiana Mary, elder daughter of the 3rd Baron Suffield, married firstly on 2nd October 1837, George Edward Anson, CB, who died in 1849 and secondly on 24th October 1855, Charles Edward Boothby, third son of Sir William Boothby, 8th Bt. She died on 13th November 1903.
The family is shown with gamekeepers and dogs before the family seat Gunton Park in Norfolk. Throughout the 19th century Gunton was one of the great estates of Norfolk. The Harbords, said to be a Welsh family, came to Norfolk when Sir Charles Harbord (d.1679), surveyor-general to King Charles I and King Charles II, purchased an estate at Stanninghall. John, his fourth son, purchased Gunton before 1647 and having no children, the inheritance passed to his nephew, Sir William Morden (c.1696-1770) who took the Harbord name. Sir William employed the architect, Matthew Brettingham (1725-1803), and work began soon after he inherited the estate to build a Palladian villa. Gunton is thought to have been one of Brettingham’s earliest Norfolk houses; he also worked on Hunningham and Hanworth, and in 1761 published the plans of Holkham without acknowledgement to their real author, William Kent.
Sir William’s son and successor, Sir Harbord Harbord, 2nd Bt., created Baron Suffield in 1786, employed the celebrated architect James Wyatt (1746-1813) to improve the house. He set aside £40,000 for that purpose, the whole of which was spent on building the office block, the finest and most complete example of the kind at that time and which ‘prefigure[s] by half a century the elaborate service wings and courtyards added to virtually every major house in Victorian times’ (M Binney, ‘Gunton Park, Norfolk’, Country Life, 21st December 1989, p.50). Samuel and his brother William added an eight bay colonnade of Tuscan columns to the south front with a conservatory at either end.
Edward, 3rd Baron Suffield, continued the building work when he inherited the estate in 1821, adding bedrooms and apartments, building the cricket club and bringing in the deer to make Gunton House a Park. By 1830 he had completed his Observatory Tower on Pheasant Hill, a three storey glazed tower, observatory and arch, with surrounding parkland planted by William Sawrey Gilpin (1761/2-1843), landscape gardener and artist. The 3rd Lord Suffield also laid out the fine ornamental gardens named ‘Emily’s Bower’ after his first wife.
Edward, 4th Baron Suffield, was a keen sportsman and used Gunton primarily as hunting lodge. His half-brother, Charles, who succeeded to the estate, was much favoured at Court and entertained the Prince of Wales at Gunton many times; the Prince and Princess stayed there in 1869 while renovations were carried out at Sandringham. Unfortunately, while the estate was let out to EM Mundy of Shipley Hall, Derbyshire, for shooting in 1882, a fire started in the library chimney and gutted much of the house. After the 5th Baron Suffield’s death in 1914, Gunton never regained its former splendour. The last member of the family to live at the house was the Hon. Doris Cecilia Harbord, the elder daughter of the 6th Baron Suffield. The house was extensively restored and sympathetically renovated in the 1980s by Kit Martin who converted it into houses and apartments. RAMSAY RICHARD REINAGLE, RA
1775 – London – 1862
Ramsay Richard Reinagle came from a family of artists of Hungarian descent: his father Philip (1749-1833), sisters Fanny and Charlotte, brother P A Reinagle and son George Philip (1802-1835) were all painters. Ramsay Richard was precocious, exhibiting at the RA for the first time in 1788, at the age of thirteen. He trained with his father and the portrait painter George Hoppner, before travelling in Holland and Italy from 1793-8, where he studied the Old Masters.
Upon returning to London, Reinagle worked with the panorama painter Robert Barker in Leicester Square and later at the rival Strand Panorama with Barker’s son Thomas Edward Barker, until it went bankrupt in 1816. He continued to exhibit at the RA, painting bravura, broadly-brushed portraits, as well as landscapes of England and Italy influenced by the Old Masters. Reinagle became ARA in 1814 and RA in 1823. He was President of the Society of Painters in Watercolours from 1808-12.
For a short time Reinagle was a close friend and mentor of John Constable, and in 1799 painted the famous portrait of him now in the National Portrait Gallery, London. The two fell out over a Ruysdael landscape which they had bought in half shares. Reinagle was adept at copying Old Masters and is said to have undertaken `restoration’ work for picture dealers, some of it nearer forgery than conservation.
In 1848 Reinagle was discovered to have exhibited a painting by a young artist called J W Yarnold at the RA, altered it somewhat and passed it off as his own. He was forced to resign as an Academician, but exhibited at the RA until 1857 and received a pension from it in his impoverished old age.
Engravings after Reinagle’s drawings appeared in William Bernard Cooke’s The Thames (1811) and John Tillotson’s Album of Scottish Scenery (1860). Reinagle wrote the explanatory text for J M W Turner’s Views in Sussex (1819).