Robert Walpole, 1st Earl of Orford (1676-1745)

Artist: Unknown
Date: probably 1720-1726

Robert Walpole was one of the most powerful men in Parliament in the 1720s and 1730s. This portrait was likely commissioned by William Byrd II of Westover. It descended in the Byrd family.

Reference: A portrait of “Ld. Oxford” was bequeathed to Charles Willing Byrd by Mary Willing Byrd. However, she likely misidentified the subject.

Dimensions: 50 x 40 in. (127 x 101.6 cm.)

The subject stands with his left hand on his dress sword and his right on his hip. He wears a brown jacket and a long wig. He has a blue sash across his torso and a badge of the Order of the Garter on his chest. A hat is tucked under his left arm.

See: Mary Willing Byrd, “The Will of Mrs. Mary Willing Byrd, of Westover, 1813, with a List of the Westover Portraits,” Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 6, no. 4 (April 1899): 345-358; David Meschutt, “William Byrd and His Portrait Collection,” MESDA Journal 14, no. 1 (May 1988): 18-47.

Decade: 1720s
Credits: Courtesy of the Virginia Museum of History & Culture, 1987.35.