The Marquess of Tavistock

Oil on canvas, 50 x 40 inches, 1992

This is one of my favourite portraits. The Marquess was painted in the West Hall of Woburn Abbey (the family seat of the Dukes of Bedford), standing by a William Kent table. Henrietta, then Marchioness of Tavistock, took a great interest in the progress of the portrait, having high expectations that I would create something very special. Lord Tavistock could not have been more hospitable, even arranging for me to be put in a different bedroom for each of my many visits to Woburn.

Whilst Lady Tavistock allowed me to choose the pose and background, she firmly suggested that I should include a small reference to the ‘Mouse House’, her own bolthole in Newmarket, and a reproduction of a sketch of this appears in the background.

The portrait now hangs in the Dukes’ Corridor at Woburn Abbey.