William Byrd II was born at Falls Plantation (later Belvidere) and lived at Westover as an adult. He spent much of his life before 1726 in England. His first wife was Lucy Parke and his second wife was Maria Taylor of England. This portrait did not hang in colonial Virginia. Byrd gave this portrait of himself to his friend, Charles Boyle, Earl of Orrery (1674-1731) in exchange for Orrery’s portrait, which did hang at Westover. It is very similar to the portrait of Sir Wilfrid Lawson, also by Hysing, which hung at Westover. Orrery left this portrait to one of William Byrd II’s English relatives, from whom it descended until an American descendant purchased it.
Dimensions: 50 x 42 in. (127 x 106.68 cm.)
This portrait features a man wearing a blue jacket with gold frogging and a long dark wig with ponytail over his right shoulder. His left hand is on his hip, his right elbow rests on a stone pediment. To the man’s left is a window, which features a seascape with a ship sailing.
See: Carolyn J. Weekley, Painters and Paintings in the Early American South (2013), 84; Wayne Craven, Colonial American Portraiture (1986), 205-213; Encyclopedia Virginia