Art and Emo Court: Art in House

Anne Duchess of Richmond

(drawing room)



Jan van der Vaardt (1653 – 1727)

& Willem Wissing (1656 – 1687)


Van der Vaardt was born in Haarlem in 1653. He was a painter of still life and small landscapes with figures, and worked mainly in England. He also painted draperies for the fashionable portrait painter Willem Wissing until Wissing’s death in 1687. Their names appear together on several paintings and on several engravings after portraits.


The portrait of Anne Brudenell, 1st Duchess of Richmond, at Emo Court is a fine example of their collaboration, and it is signed W Wissing but attributed to Jan van der Vaardt.


Wissing (1656 – 1687) was also a Dutch painter who moved to England in 1676. When Sir Peter Lely died in 1680, Wissing inherited some of his fashionable practice, and painted portraits of members of the royal family.

 According to Marshall Smith Jan van der Vaardt “Paints a face and posture very well”, and possibly imitated the potrait types of his more talented contemporaries.

 Although suffering from poor eye sight, he established a picture restoration business. He also practised as an engraver and is said to have taught the engraver John Smith.

Van der Vaardt died in London in 1727 and was buried in St. Pauls Covent Garden.


 Laurence Hyde Earl of Rochester W Wissing 1685-87


Lady Charlotte Augusta Brydges in blue dress

(dining room)

Joseph Highmore (3 June 1692- 1780) was a portrait and historical painter. He was born in London in 1692. He displayed early a strong ability particularly for the fine arts which was discouraged by his family who rather saw him as a solicitor. However, all his spare time was dominated by his favourite pursuit and upon the ending of his clerkship at the age of seventeen, he abandoned law and resolved to trust in future to his talents as a painter alone for his chance of fame and fortune.


His gamble paid off and he continued to improve his reputation. Upon the revival of the Order of the Bath in 1725, he was selected to paint the Knights in full costume. The years 1732 to 1734 were spent on a tour of the Netherlands and France and on his return to England, he applied himself to perfecting his talent, which continued for the next 50 years of his life until his death in 1780.

Among his best works are biblical “Histories”, historical painting being a style which Highmore had picked up on his travels to France. One such biblical painting “Hagar and Ishmael” was donated to the Foundling Hospital in London for the purpose of decorating its Courtroom. The painting is still part of the Foundling Hospital art collection and can now be seen at the Foundling Museum in London.

As an author, Joseph Highmore was best known for two articles with the rather longwinded titles “Critical Examination of Rubens Two Paintings in the Banqueting House” and “Observations on Bodwell’s Pamphlet against Christianity”.

Pamela Telling a Story
Joseph Highmore 1743-45






The Weary Laundress

(morning room)

Jozef Israels  1824 – 1911



Boehrenmaaltijd in DeldenJozef Israels 1885



During the 1870s the work of artists in the Netherlands known as The Hague School began to be seen as a renaissance of the achievements of the Golden Age. Jozef Israel was one of the artists who belonged to The Hague School.


They drew their inspiration from the flat polder landscape and the everyday lives of the peasant and fishing communities of their native country, extracting from these ordinary and unpretentious subjects a poetry which for two centuries had been virtually ignored.


The achievements of The Hague School were not recognised in the Netherlands for several years, but gradually they became firmly established and despite the advent of other artistic movements in the 1880s and 1890s, dominated artistic life in the Netherlands until after the turn of the century.


Jozef Israels, one of the leading members of the School, made his name and attracted his first followers in Amsterdam. He established a considerable reputation there for his pictures of life in the fishing villages, well before 1871 when, almost symbolically, he moved into the house of Andreas Schelfhout the leader of the established painting tradition of The Hague School.


Jozef was born in Groningen in 1824 and came to The Hague after studying in Brussels. In contrast to Amsterdam and Rotterdam, The Hague maintained its semi rural character until well into the nineteenth century. It was surrounded by meadows, polders with picturesque waterways, woods and dunes. The shrewder painters were careful to select homes near railway or tram stations so that they could set off on painting excursions as soon as the weather was suitable. 


Jozef Israels chose to paint portraits as well as landscapes, and painted many pictures of fishermen in particular. He is noted for his freer approach to painting than some of his colleagues who had been immersed in the rich heritage of the Dutch artistic past. Many copies were made of his work, which frequently has a rather quiet tone with muted colours.



Philosopher’s Evening Walk at Baddesley Clinton


 Rebecca Dulcibella Dering [nee Orpen] (1845-1923)



Baddesley Clinton Hall in Warwickshire was owned by the Ferrers family from the early sixteenth century.


Marmion Edward Ferrers was married to Rebecca Dulcibella Orpen who was a watercolorist and portrait painter.  After the death of Mr Ferrers,  Rebecca Ferrers became the wife of Edward Heneage Dering, the great-uncle of Mr Cholmeley-Harrison, and went to live at Baddesley Clinton. The following is an interesting story about relationships at the time.


In 1865, Heneage Dering, who was in the Coldstream Guards and a very rich man, fell in love with Rebecca Dulcibella Orpen. He went to Lady Chatterton, the widow of an Irish Baronet, to ask permission to pay his respects to Rebecca. Lady Chatterton misunderstood him (whether deliberately or not) and took the proposal as addressed to herself, and accepted it. Heneage Dering was far too much a gentleman to cause her the pain and embarrassment of disillusioning her, and married her although she was old enough to be his mother.


Rebecca married Edward Ferrer of Baddesley Clinton Hall. The four friends devoted their lives to good works, piety and the study of philosophy. They read Tennyson together in the evenings.


Lady Chatterton died in 1876, but Heneage Dering continued to live with the Ferrers. Edward Ferrers died in 1884. Dering was at last free to re-approach Rebecca. She accepted his proposal 26 years after his first abortive attempt. He died in 1892 and Rebecca lived in Baddesley Clinton until her death in 1923.


All four friends were buried next to each other within the sound of the Sanctus bell as they had always planned.


There are two watercolours of Baddesley Clinton by Dulcibella Dering (as she was known) in the library.



Edward Cholmeley Dering as a child (in a dress) 1837

(dining room)

 Sir Martin Archer Shee (December 23, 1769 – August 13, 1850) was a British portrait painter and president of the Royal Academy.


He was born in Dublin, of an old Catholic Irish family, and his father, a merchant, regarded the profession of painter as an unsuitable occupation for a descendant of the Shees. The Archer side of the family had links with Kilkenny.  Martin Shee nevertheless studied art in the Dublin Society, and came to London.  There, in 1788, he was introduced by William Burke to Joshua Reynolds, on whose advice he studied in the schools of the Royal Academy.  In 1789 he exhibited his first two pictures, the “Head of an Old Man” and “Portrait of a Gentleman”.  Over the next ten years he steadily increased in practice.  He was chosen an Associate of the Royal Academy in 1798, in 1789 he married, and in 1800 he was elected a Royal Academician.  He moved to George Romney’s former house in Cavendish Square and set up as his successor.


Shee continued to paint with great readiness of hand and fertility of invention, although his portraits were eclipsed by more than one of his contemporaries, and especially by Thomas Lawrence.  The earlier portraits of the artist are carefully finished, easy in action, with good drawing and excellent discrimination of character.  They show an undue tendency to redness in the flesh painting – a defect which is still more apparent in his later works, ‘in which the handling is less “square”, crisp and forcible.’  In addition to his portraits he executed various subjects and historical works, such as Lavinia, Belisarius, his diploma picture “Prospero and Miranda”, and the “Daughter of Jephthah.”


On the death of Lawrence in 1839, Shee was chosen as President of the Royal Academy and shortly afterwards he received a knighthood.

He continued to paint until 1845. Illness made him retire to Brighton and was deputised for by J.M.W.Turner who had appointed him a trustee of the Turner Almshouse. His descendent Mary Archer Shee supports the campaign for the fulfilment of Turner’s wishes for his bequests.

Shee had three sons who became successful barristers. A descendent of one of the sons was George Archer Shee, the central figure in a play written by Terence Rattigan.



William IV – Sir Martin Archer Shee





Portrait of Ann Dering Horwood


 Sir Peter Lely [Peter Van der Faes] (1618-1680) was a Dutch-born portrait and history painter, and was Portrait and Principal Painter to Charles II.  He trained in Haarlem and came in the 1640s to London where he quickly established a reputation as a portraitist.  He was knighted in 1680.


Sir Peter Lely was a very prolific painter, and easily the most fashionable of his time. He formed a celebrated collection of paintings and drawings and was well known for his high living. Samuel Pepys, the diarist, called him “a mighty proud man and full of state”.


Two years before Charles II was beheaded, his portrait (during imprisonment in Hampton Court) was painted by Sir Peter Lely.


Peter Van der Faes took his name ‘Lely’ from his family home.


Sir Peter Lely’s portrait of the Earl of Arlington is in the Fine Arts Museum in San Francisco.


Portrait of Nell Gwyn – Sir Peter Lely