William Craven, 2nd Earl of Craven, was the son of William Craven, 1st Earl of Craven and his wife Louisa, née Brunton (see lot 155). On 5 September 1835, he married Emily Mary, née Grimston (see lots 157 and 162), with whom he had nine children. Craven was commissioned a captain in the Berkshire Regiment of Militia on 14 February 1829 and later appointed a Deputy Lieutenant of Warwickshire on 11 January 1831 and of Berkshire on 20 October 1831. He was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Warwickshire in 1853. In 1998 it was discovered that he was a not only a collector of photographs but a photographer in his own right. His collection comprised some of the finest examples of pioneering British and French photography from the 1850s including works by the Earl himself. He took many of the photographs from a bespoke horse-drawn mobile camera van which also acted as a dark room. The sale of the Craven Photographic Collection, Part I, was held at Bearne’s, Exeter, 6 May 2000 and totalled £1.4m. An albumen print entitled ‘Trees in the Park, the Downs beyond’, circa 1855, by William, 2nd Earl of Craven, was sold Christie’s, London, 14 November 2006, lot 94 for £11,400.
In the original full-scale work by Sir George Hayter, the sitter is standing three-quarter length in front of the ocean, wearing a dark green coat with red lining.