The arms are those of Boyle for Richard, 3rd Earl of Burlington and 4th Earl of Cork (1694-1753). Among Lord Burlington's four principal houses was Chiswick, a Jacobean mansion to which he administered an Italianate restoration, with the assistance of painter and architect William Kent (c. 1686-1748). Kent and Burlington traveled together in Italy in 1719, and applied their interest in the classical tradition to Chiswick, which was probably the scene of the portrait illustrated here. Lord Burlington perceived the visual arts as a medium for moral instruction and he called for England's embrace of a national architectural style that adhered to classical vocabulary.
Apart from his devotion to architecture and classicism, Lord Burlington was a great patron of the fine arts and literature, and befriended and supported poets John Gay (1685-1732) and Alexander Pope (1688-1744).
Lord Burlington held several political posts in Ireland and Yorkshire, and focused his energy there, rarely attending the House of Lords. In 1733, he resigned his offices, apparently because he was not granted a high household office by George II, as promised.
Caption: Portrait of a Gentleman, probably Richard Boyle, 3rd Earl of Burlington and 4th Earl of Cork, attributed to William Aikman (1683-1731), Christie's Images