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Portrait of 17th century VIP bought by council for £3,400 unveiled in Aylesbury

Sir Henry Aubrey-Fletcher (L) and Carl Etholen with the portrait of the 3rd Earl of Bridgewater

Sir Henry Aubrey-Fletcher (L) and Carl Etholen with the portrait of the 3rd Earl of Bridgewater

A portrait of a 17th century Bucks dignitary has been unveiled after the county council bought it at auction for £3,400.

John Egerton’s portrait becomes the 12th in the county council’s collection out of a total of 30 Lords Lieutenant who have served Bucks since the office – which represents the monarch locally – was established in 1607.

Sir Henry Aubrey-Fletcher, the current Lord Lieutenant, and county council chairman Carl Etholen, unveiled the portrait in the historic Judges’ Lodgings in Aylesbury before a meeting of Deputy Lieutenants,

It was bought at Dickins auctioneers in Middle Claydon for £3,400.

Sir Henry said: “This is an important addition to the county’s historic collection and a good investment.

“It will shortly be added to the BBC Your Paintings website sponsored by the Public Catalogue Foundation where the county’s collection can be seen.”

Mr Etholen said: ‘We are custodians of Buckinghamshire’s ceremonial heritage and it’s important that we maintain and enhance this for future generations to enjoy.’

County archivist Roger Bettridge said it was not known who painted the portrait in oils on copper, although it is virtually identical to a contemporary engraving of a portrait of the Earl by celebrated royal portrait painter Sir Godfrey Kneller.

John Egerton was born in 1646 and succeeded his father as both Earl of Bridgewater and Lord Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire in 1686 at the age of 40.

He was a Justice of the Peace in Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire, and a Colonel in the Buckinghamshire Militia.

He was also MP for Buckinghamshire for 1685-1686.

He was appointed the First Lord of Trade in 1695 and later First Lord of the Admiralty in 1699, the post he held at the time of his death in 1701 at the age of 54.

He also served as Speaker of the House of Lords.

The family seat was at Ashridge, then in Buckinghamshire but transferred to Hertfordshire following boundary changes in 1895.

He was remembered as ‘a just and good man, a faithful friend, and a wise counsellor’ and was buried with his ancestors at Little Gaddesden in Hertfordshire.

 

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