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17th Century Portrait Of Almeric De Courcy 23rd Baron Kingsale (1664-1720) - Circle Of Godfrey Kneller


£7,950 | $11,083 USD | €9,194 EUR
Item Number: SA746972
Date of manufacture: 17th Century
Current Status: For sale
Seller: Period Portraits
This antique has been viewed 24 times in the past month with the most views from France.


This fine chivalric portrait, dating to around c.1690, shows a young officer sporting a flamboyant powdered wig and silk cravat. Contrasted with these courtly accoutrements is the shining plate armour that covers and protects his body. It is clear that this sitter was intending to be seen as both a soldier and courtier. Furthermore, it is possible that it depicts a fascinating and notorious Baron descending from one of the most ancient families in Ireland.
In terms of attribution, it is clear that this portrait follows the bust length format made popular by the likes of Godfrey Kneller at the end of the seventeenth century. A comparable portrait would be that of Arnold Joost van Keppel by Kneller in the National Portrait Gallery, London. This painting, dating to c.1697, is a fine example of a style of armoured portraiture that has its roots in the works of Sir Anthony Van Dyck and which continued well into the opening decades of the eighteenth century. Curiously, it is possible to identify this armour in this portrait with a set that were made in the Royal Workshops of Greenwich in the opening decade of the seventeenth century. Indeed, such full plate armour would not have served no practical purpose on the battlefield during the 1690s. Therefore, it was undoubtedly the chivalric associations that warranted the inclusion of such a harness. Such fashion would also allow contemporary portraits to sit handsomely alongside ancient portraits, a requisite of noble families with historic collections of art.
Almeric de Courcy, 23rd Baron Kingsale (1664-1720).
By tradition, it is said that this portrait depicts a member of the de Courcy family. The provenance of the painting, supplied above, also suggests that this may well be possible. The most significant branch of the de Courcy family, which would warrant such a portrait, were the Barons of Kingsale of Ireland. The Barony, which is likely to have been created during or before the thirteenth century, has remained in the de Courcy family for around eight hundred years. The title is one of the most ancient Baronies in Ireland. Judging from the sitter’s age and the stylistic traits of the portrait, it is likely that this might be a depiction of Almeric de Courcy, 23rd Baron Kingsale (1664-1720).
Almeric received an education at Oxford University where he received the tutelage of Dr Fell, Dean of Christ Church, Oxford. In Dr Fell’s letters of 1677-8 he wrote that Almeric: “was addicted to the tennis court, proof against all Latin assaults and prone to kicking, beating and domineering over his sisters, fortified in the conceit that a title of honour was support enough, without the pedantry and trouble of book learning.” His lively spirit eventually favour with Charles II, and he was awarded a pension of £300 a year from the King which continued into the next monarch’s reign.
Indeed, the militaristic elements of the portrait might also support the identification. His favour with the Stuart Court earned him the command as a Captain in a Troop of Horse for King James II in 1690. He eventually gained the position of Lt-Col in Sarsfield’s Horse. His allegiance to the Stuarts meant that he was ‘outlawed’ in 1691, although this was later reversed in 1692. The de Courcy’s family’s illustrious history too might have supplied enough inspiration for an armoured portrait.
In 1698 he married Anne Dring, daughter of Robert Dring of Isleworth, although this marriage did not bear issue.
Almeric was buried in Westminster Abbey, London, after his death in 1720. The marvellous elaborate baroque marble tomb erected in his memory survives to this very day. His effigy shows him resting on his elbow while dressed in the classical antique garb. The militaristic overtones of this dress are very noticeable. He sits underneath a splendid marble canopy whilst his
Internal Ref: PP000118


This item is antique. The date of manufacture has been declared as 17th Century.


Height = 90 cm (35.4")
Width = 78 cm (30.7")
Depth = 4 cm (1.6")

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Period Portraits
North Yorkshire
United Kingdom

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