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John Meller (1665-1733), Master of the High Court of Chancery

Charles Jervas (Dublin 1675 – London 1739) and Thomas Gainsborough (Sudbury 1727 - London 1788)

Category

Art / Oil paintings

Date

circa 1715 - 1780 (in Yorke's notebook)

Materials

Oil on canvas

Measurements

1251 x 997 mm. (49 1/4 x 39 1/4 in)

Place of origin

England

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Collection

Erddig, Wrexham (Accredited Museum)

On show at

Erddig, Wrexham, Wales, National Trust

NT 1151296

Summary

Oil painting on canvas. Painting of John Meller (1665-1733), Master of the High Court of Chancery by Charles Jervas (Dublin 1675 – London 1739) and Thomas Gainsborough (Sudbury 1727 - London 1788), circa 1715 & 1780. A three-quarter-length portrait, wearing black robes and white collar, a periwig and holding a rolled document in his left hand. Extensively re-touched by Gainsborough - the original red robes are visible in places underneath the black.

Provenance

In note book of Philip Yorke I, 1780; '..Last payt. of my own picture 31. 10/For new dressing Mr Mellers' ditto 5. 5.' and thence by descent; given by Philip Yorke III (1905 – 1978) along with the estate, house and contents to the National Trust in 1973

Credit line

Erddig, The Yorke Collection (National Trust)

Marks and inscriptions

Recto: Inscribed top left in gold (19th century): 'nobis haec otia fecit' Recto: Inscribed in black, with coat of arms, upper right: John Meller of Erthigg Esqr/one of the Masters of the High Court / of Chancery. obit. 1733, Aetat. 68 Recto: Inscribed on gold paper, attached to bottom of frame: JOHN MELLOR, Master in Chancery. (Born 1652, died 1733.) He purchased Erddig in 1709 from one Edisbury. & left it to his Sister’s Son, - Simon Yorke.

Makers and roles

Charles Jervas (Dublin 1675 – London 1739) and Thomas Gainsborough (Sudbury 1727 - London 1788) , artist Charles Jervas (Dublin 1675 – London 1739), artist Thomas Gainsborough RA (Sudbury 1727 - London 1788), artist previously catalogued as attributed to John Verelst (fl. 1698 - London 1734), artist

References

Erddig 1914 Chronicles of Erthig on the Dyke by Albina Lucy Cust, (2 vols) 1914 , vol.?, pp.146-48, & pl. opp. p. 148 Steegman 1957 John Steegman, A Survey of Portraits in Welsh Houses, Vol.I: North Wales, Cardiff, 1957, p.94. "PORTRAITS AT ERDDIG, WREXHAM 1. JOHN MELLER (1652-1733). A Master -in-Chancery; he bought Erddig in 1709, after the bankruptcy of Joshua Edisbury for whom it was built temp. James II and bequeathed it to his sister's son, Simon Yorke (see no.3). Anon. c.1715/ TQL, seated slightly to r.; wearing black gown and white periwig; holding a doument. The house-list attributes the portrait to "Verelst", but there is little resemblance between this and nos 4 and 5." Waterson, 1980: Merlin Waterson, The Servants' Hall. A Domestic History of Erddig, Routledge & Kegan 1980, pp. 49 & 218, & fig. 19 (p. 23). Erddig, Clwyd: 1995 [The National Trust] 1995, p.45 "DINING ROOM PICTURES ? CHARLES JERVAS (c.1675-1739) and THOMAS GAINSBOROUGH RA (1727-88) John Meller (1665-1733) A prosperou;s lawyer, he bought Erddig in 1716, adding the two wings between 1721 and 1724, and introducing much of the superb furniture still in the house, which he bequeathed to his nephew, Simon Yorke I. Painted in c.1715 and drastically reworked in 1780 by Gainsborough, who retained only the face and background."

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