Orpheus charming the Animals
possibly Thomas ffrancis (fl.Montgomery 1635-1679-98)
Oil painting on panel, Orpheus charming the Animals, possibly by Thomas ffrancis (fl.1635-1679), circa 1672. This curious composition with a view of Chirk Castle in the background was possibly painted as an overmantel. It may be one of the '3 landskips for 3 chimney pieces', made in 1672 by 'Thomas ffrancis the Herald Painter'. Orpheus sits in the centre on rocks holding his harp. Animals gather around, an elephant stands on the left next to a white horse and deer and on the right is a camel, unicorn and a ram. In the foreground sits a male lion with other creatures. Or rather it could be a conflation of stories of David from the Bible (and it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took a harp, and played with his hand, so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him) and the patron saint of Wales, with a Welsh triple harp, used from the 17th century.
possibly painted as an overmantel in the Castle, and subsequently displaced; with some of the contents, in 1978, that were acquired along with Chirk Castle from Lt-Col Ririd Myddelton (1902–1988) by the National Land Fund and handed, on loan for 99 years, to the Secretary of State for Wales (In 1981 Chirk was transferred into the ownership of the National Trust);accepted by the Inland Revenue in lieu of Inheritance Tax from the estate of Lt-Col Ririd Myddelton (1902–1988) and transferred to the National Trust for display to the public at Chirk Castle in 1999
Chirk Castle, The Myddelton Collection (National Trust)
Makers and roles
possibly Thomas ffrancis (fl.Montgomery 1635-1679-98), artist