The origins of the collection lay in the possessions of Louise de Keroualle, Duchess of Portsmouth, and Duchess of Aubigny in France, to whom some of the paintings originally belonged. Louise was the favourite mistress of King Charles II from 1670 until his death in 1685; the 1st Duke of Richmond was their natural son.
There is a wide range of works from the Stuart period, with court paintings by Van Dyck. There is a particularly fine painting by Lely of the King's favourite sister, Henrietta, Duchess of Orléans and works by interesting French artists, patronised by Louise.
Of the many types of work in the Goodwood picture collection, portraits are especially in evidence. These are usually of the family or of the related Royal family.
Among the artists who work that can be found at Goodwood House are: Van Dyck, Canaletto, Reynolds, Romney, Stubbs, Lely and the brothers, John and George Smith of Chichester.
Whitehall and the Privy Garden from Richmond House
By Canaletto, oil on canvas, 101.5 x 117cm / 4½ x 46in. The view from an upstairs room shows the stable yard of Richmond House, the footman bowing to a visitor. On the far left runs Parliament Street Street, now incorporated into Whitehall, past the Holbein Gate on the left and the Banqueting House on the right, shown end on. Both were remnants of the old Whitehall Palace, which had been destroyed by fire in 1698. Immediately to the right of the Banqueting House are the spire of St Martin-in-the-Fields and a dome of Northumberland House. The back of the Duke of Montagu's house is seen beyond the stable yard; it was here that Owen McSwing and Thomas Hill first discussed the possibility of the commission.
The Thames and the City of London from Richmond House
By Canaletto, oil on canvas, 101.5 x 117 cm / 41½ x 46in. Next door, at the house of the Duke of Montagu, a lordly visitor knocks on the door. On the terrace beyond, a serving man sweeps. Near him can be seen a corner of the Chinese Pavilion, an exotic folly. Beyond lie the old buildings of the Savoy, stretching to Somerset House, whose trees run down to the Thames. Beyond, the Temples is seen in shadow. St Paul's Cathedral stands high above Wren's City churches, with the Monument round on the right. On the river itself can be seen barges of the City livery companies.
The 3rd Duke of Richmond with the Charlton Hunt
By George Stubbs, 1759-60, oil on canvas, 140 x 246cm / 55 x 97in. The Duke, the tall figure on the horse at the centre, is turning towards his brother, Lord George Lennox, whose back is slightly towards the viewer. On the left is General Jones, his horse leaping over the gate. The gentleman at the gallop beyond may be Sir John Miller. Every hound is a portrait. The hunt is seen beyond, in full cry.
Racehorses Exercising at Goodwood
By George Stubbs, 1759-60, oil on canvas, 127.5 x 204 cm / 50½ x 80½ in. Mary, Duchess of Richmond, is at the centre, mounted side-saddle, with her sister-in-law Lady George Lennox near by, in a similar location to that of Lord George in the hunting picture. The Estate steward, probably Richard Buckner (d.1776/7), dressed in green livery with gold frogging, is pointing out the three horses hooded and blanketed for exercising. The jockeys wear frock coats, their yellow and scarlet ducal livery matching the horses' colours. To the right, a horse is being rubbed down with straw, surrounded by grooms who may include members of the Budd family from Charlton. The spire of Chichester Cathedral is in the background, with the Isle of Wight beyond.
Shooting at Goodwood
By George Stubbs, 1759, oil on canvas, 140 x 203 cm / 55 x 80½in. The 3rd Duke loved shooting from an early age. Two of his favourite relatives are shown; he described his brother-in-law Henry Fox, the portly man at the centre, as ‘my second father’ and ‘my best friend’. George, 3rd Earl of Albemarle, shown with his back to the viewer, was his first cousin (and the oldest of his cousins). The black servant wearing yellow and scarlet livery, holding the Arab horse, may either be Thomas Robinson, who came to Goodwood in the 1740s and was named after the Governor of Barbados, or a footman named Jean Baptiste, who came from one of the French colonies. The gamekeepers wear the green Estate livery.
Princess Henrietta, Duchess of Orleans
By Sir Peter Lely, oil on canvas, 127 x 101 cm / 50 x 40 in. The freely painted costume in this signed portrait denotes the artist’s hand throughout. Henrietta introduced Louise de Keroualle, her maid of honour, to her brother Charles II.
The 3rd Duke of Richmond commissioned an artist who would become England's most famous painter of horses: George Stubbs. Three of the four works by him which hang here were actually painted at Goodwood. The 3rd Duke had portraits painted by Grand Tour artists Batoni and Mengs, as well as by true and celebrated english artists, Reynolds and Romney. He also bought marine paintings of sea battles and classical landscapes. There are some especially fine views by the Smiths of Chichester.
Charles, 3rd Duke of Richmond, Lennox and Aubigny, by Pompeio Batoni, Rome, 1755, oil on canvas, 135 x 98 cm / 531⁄4 x 38½in.
We welcome visits from interested art history students. We field various historical enquiries from Open Day visitors, as well as questions about iconography in subject pictures. It is also interesting to look at the portraits from a fashion angle, or to talk with our Guides about the sitter. There is no limit to the range of historical and artistic interests that can be fuelled by a visit to Goodwood.