Sir John Mallory (1610 - 1656), his Wife, Mary Moseley (c. 1620 - 1701) and Child
British (English) School
It has been long assumed that this group portrait depicts the Royalist Sir John Mallory (1610 – 1656), second son of Sir William Mallory (1578 – 1646) and Alice Bellingham - who inherited Studley Royal, Ripon after the death of his brother William in 1636 - and his wife Mary Moseley, daughter of Thomas Moseley, Lord Mayor of York, whom he had married in 1638. They had several children, variously listed as: Ursula, Anne, Alice, Mary, Jane, William and Elizabeth but records differ as to how many and when they were all born. Therefore it is difficult to judge who the child here is, how old and why painted alone with the mother and father. Sir John was an MP in 1640 and was knighted in 1641. At the start of the Civil War in 1642, he lost his seat and spent most of the war as a Colonel Governor of Skipton Castle, a structure which became one of the last royalist strongholds to surrender in 1645. Ten years after his premature death, his only son William died at the age of 19 and the Studley estates passed to the eldest surviving daughter, Mary (1640 – 1683) who had married George Aislabie (1618 - 1675).
Oil painting on canvas, Sir John Mallory (1610 - 1656), his Wife, Mary Moseley (c. 1620 - 1701) and Child, British (English) School, circa 1649. A group portrait of a lady and a gentleman standing full length, with a girl or a boy and a dog between them. Although the child has been previously called a daughter, it almost certainly represents a boy, their eldest son and heir William (1647 - 1666), because of the collar, hat, hairstyle, dark colour of the clothes, and lack of obvious jewellery.The parents are both in black, with white lace details. They hold the child on a type of cloth leash, which forms part of the dark green dress. The child holds a branch of cherries (or perhaps a rattle). The parents are flanked on either side by a pendant of ceremonial chairs of state, covered in some sort of silken damask. Behind them is a drop curtain which reveals beyond its majestic folds a landscape, possibly in the throws of a sunset (although this could be the result of a darkening in the varnish). The hair and costumes and jewels of the sitters are suggestive of the mid-17th century.
Inherited by John Aislabie (1670-1742), son of George (1618 - 1675), husband of Mary Mallory, in 1693 and by descent to William Aislabie (1700-1781) of Fountains Hall and possibly moved to Studley Royal House in 1768 when the estates united; recorded in Studley Royal House in the Deer Park (Billiard Room), around 1800; in possession of George Frederick Samuel Robinson, 1st Marquess of Ripon, KG, MP (1827-1909) and Vyner family until house was demolished after fire in 1946 (picture had been in another building, High Stables, during war so survived); transferred, along with the Studley Royal estate, to the National Trust by North Yorkshire County Council (had been purchased by West Riding County Council in 1966) in 1983
Fountains and Studley Royal, The Aislabie Collection (National Trust)
Marks and inscriptions
Verso: Typed label on the back, which identifies the picture as ‘Sir John Mallory, No. 32’
Makers and roles
British (English) School, artist circle of Cornelius Johnson (London 1593 - Utrecht 1661), artist
Farrer 1806 Willaim Farrer, The History Of Ripon: With Descriptions Of Studley-royal, Fountains' Abbey, Newby, Hackfall, &c. &c., 1806