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Purchased Christie's, 6 November 1953, Lot 86. Catalogued as M. Wright. No provenance given.

Physical Description

Three-quarter length, facing half-left, wearing a buff-coat with embroidered sleeves under a breast plate and crimson sash, with a gold-hilted small-sword and silver knobbed stick. The White Tower is seen in the background and on a table are to be seen the robes and chain of office of the Lord Mayor of London. Inscribed in the upper Right Hand corner '[Isaac Pennington] London. Urb. Prefectus.'
Oil on Canvas.


Dimensions: 50 x 41.5 in (127 x 105.4 cm)

Bibliographic References

Sir Gyles Isham, 'Sir John Robinson', Northamptonshire Past and Present, 1962, p. 86.


The identification as 'Isaac Pennengton' is erroneous, but can possibly be explained by the fact the he too held the offices of Lieutenant of the Tower and Lord Mayor of London simultaneously (Lieutenant in 1642-5 and Lord Mayor in 1642 The dates however are far too early for this painting.

Sir John Robinson (1615-80) was Sheriff of London, 1657-8; baronet, 1660; Lieutenant of the Tower, 1660-79; Lord Mayor, 1662-3. The picture presumably commemmorated his simultaneous holding of the office of Lord Mayor and Lt. of the Tower and should be dated to some date after 1662-3, perhaps about 1670 when Wright painted several portraits of Lord Mayors of London to be hung in the Guildhall.

Attributed to John Michael Wright (1625-1700). There is another version in the Guildhall, London, bought in 1970 from Mr. John Harvey, a descendant of the family, which may be the original. This version is inscribed in the lower Left Hand corner: John Robinson, Bart Govr. of the Tower [ ...] of Farming Woods, Northamptonsh. Painted by [ ...]'. A version was recorded at Farming Woods, the estate of another branch of the family, in 1771, by Horace Walpole (letter to the Countess of Ossory). It is not clear which version this was. Mr. Harvey (1976) claimed that his version had never been at Farming Woods.
The painting has been traditionally dated as about 1662 when robinson held both offices, however, based on the architectural evidence ( the weathervanes were replaced after 1669, and the forebuilding at the White Tower entrance was pulled down in 1674-5 - See p.67 and 69 0f Parnell 'The Tower of London' Batsford, 1993; the costume also supports this later dating - form of wig and coat particularly the sleeves - info from Mrs S Russell) a dating of between 1669 - 1674 would seem to be more accurate. [BC 7.x.2002]
A further telephone Conservation with Mrs Russell (10.03.2003) suggestes that 1672ish best dating. She is doing a PhD in 17th costume at Lucy Cavendish college, Cambridge, and has found another Wright painting dated 1672, with similar form of wig - this is the earliest example of ths type of wig she has found. [BC 10.x.2003] Neg. No. A8/290.