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    Sale 5311

    Old Master & British Pictures & Old Master Drawings

    5 December 2007, London, South Kensington

  • Lot 168

    After Jean Baptiste van Loo

    Portrait of William Murray, 1st Earl of Mansfield (1705-1793), seated, three-quarter-length, in a green velvet coat, his left hand resting on a book

    Price Realised  

    After Jean Baptiste van Loo
    Portrait of William Murray, 1st Earl of Mansfield (1705-1793), seated, three-quarter-length, in a green velvet coat, his left hand resting on a book
    oil on canvas
    50 x 40¼ in. (127 x 102.2 cm.)


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    After the picture at Scone Palace, engraved by A. Baillie. A second type by Jean-Baptiste van Loo, dated 1732, is in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery, London, and on display at the Palace of Westminster, London, in the exhibition 'The British Slave Trade: Abolition, Parliament and People'.
    William Murray, 1st Earl of Mansfield, judge and politician, was born in 1705 at his ancestral home, Scone Abbey, later Scone Palace, near Perth, to David Murray, 5th Viscount Stormont (d.1731), and Margery (d.1746), only child of David Scott of Scotstarvet. He studied at Westminster School and Christ Church, Oxford, matriculating in 1723, and was called to the bar in 1730. On 20 September 1738, at Raby Castle, Durham, he married Lady Elizabeth (c.1704-1784), daughter of Daniel Finch, 7th Earl of Winchilsea and 2nd Earl of Nottingham. In 1742 Murray was elected M.P. for Boroughbridge, Yorkshire. In 1754 he became Attorney-General, and for the next two years acted as Leader of the House of Commons under the administration of Thomas Pelham-Holles, 1st Duke of Newcastle (for a portrait of whom, see lot 120). He also purchased Kenwood House in 1754, where he had extensive modifications made by Robert Adam. From 1756-1788 he was Chief Justice of the King's Bench of Great Britain, and in 1776 was created Earl of Mansfield. Lord Mansfield played a key role in ending slavery in England, by his famous judgment in favour of a slave, James Somerset, who brought suit against his master, a Mr. Stewart of Virginia, in 1772.

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