William Byrd II (1674-1744)

Artist: Unknown
Date: ?

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.

Mary Willing Byrd’s 1813 will mentioned three portraits of William Byrd II, which hung at Westover. She left her sons Charles Willing Byrd, Richard Willing Byrd, and William Powell Byrd each a portrait of their “G. father.” Only two portraits are accounted for: one of the subject as a child and one of the subject by the studio of Sir Godfrey Kneller. The third is missing. It is likely that a portrait was commissioned to accompany that of his first wife, Lucy Parke Byrd in 1716, or his second wife, Maria Taylor Byrd, in ca. 1724. The subject was also painted by Hans Hysing.

One possible reference to this painting is a letter from his brother-in-law, John Custis, which reads: “I did purpose to have desired your own picture att Westopher, for I never did expect to see you more.” – John Custis to William Byrd II, March 1718/19.

See: “The Will of Mrs. Mary Willing Byrd, of Westover, 1813, with a List of the Westover Portraits.” The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 6, no. 4 (April 1899): 345–58; Josephine Little Zuppan, ed., The Letterbbook of John Custis IV of Williamsburg, 1717-1742 (2005), 50; Encyclopedia Virginia 


Family: Byrd
Decade: Unknown
Attributes: man