Lieutenant Henry Fortescue painted by an equine artist?

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    Sam Willis

    This month’s featured work of art purchased for the Nation with the assistance of the Society is a fascinating portrait of a young lieutenant painted by John Ferneley, one of British history’s most distinguished equine artists. Fortescue’s career, with the exception of serving as a midshipman at the bombardment of Algiers, seems remarkably undistinguished and he never actually served as a lieutenant. Does anyone have any suggestions regarding why or how these two men may have met, or why Fortescue chose to be painted by one of the great equine artist? Seems to be a mystery…

    Alexandre Solka

    Dear Mr Willis,

    Thank you for this very interesting and challenging case!) I am not sure of course of the connection but here is one element which I think is worth to study further. It sounds to me that the acquaintance made between Lt Fortescue and the famous equine painter Sir John Ferneley may have occurred as follows.

    Indeed, when looking at this page, here is what we find. A beautiful equine picture of Sir Henry James Goodricke, made by
    John Ferneley senior.

    Here is indeed the missing link in my opinion…

    Sir Henry James Goodricke, 7th Bt.1
    M, #205995, d. 1833

    Sir Henry Goodricke, 7th Bt.
    by John Ferneley Senior, 1877 2
    Sir Henry James Goodricke, 7th Bt. was the son of Sir Harry Goodricke, Bt. and Charlotte Fortescue.1 He died in 1833, unmarried.1
    He gained the title of 7th Baronet Goodricke.
    [S21] L. G. Pine, The New Extinct Peerage 1884-1971: Containing Extinct, Abeyant, Dormant and Suspended Peerages With Genealogies and Arms (London, U.K.: Heraldry Today, 1972), page 53. Hereinafter cited as The New Extinct Peerage.
    [S3409] Caroline Maubois, “re: Penancoet Family,” e-mail message to Darryl Roger Lundy, 2 December 2008. Hereinafter cited as “re: Penancoet Family.”

    On Charlotte Fortescue

    Thomas Fortescue1
    M, #180688, d. February 1769

    Thomas Fortescue was the son of William Fortescue.2 He married Elizabeth Hamilton, daughter of James Hamilton and Hon. Anne Mordaunt. He died in February 1769.3
    He lived at Randalstown, County Louth, Ireland.1
    Children of Thomas Fortescue and Elizabeth Hamilton
    Rt. Hon. James Fortescue+2
    Charlotte Fortescue+2
    William Henry Fortescue, 1st Earl of Clermont1 b. 5 Aug 1722, d. 30 Sep 1806
    Margaret Fortescue+1 b. 27 Mar 1728, d. 22 Sep 1756

    Indeed, Charlotte Fortescue must have been a family member related to Lt Henry Fortescue.

    Then, when Sir Ferneley must have Sir Henry James Goodricke before his death in 1833, he must have made the acquaintance of Mrs
    Charlotte Fortescue, who maybe recommended the services of the painter to Lt Fortescue.

    I think this is an interesting beginning of a trail. I will be glad to have your opinion on it.

    Sincerely yours,

    Alexandre Solcà

    Sam Willis

    Fascinating! What amazing detective work. I always suspected there would be some kind of family connection because the link was so strange. Many thanks Alexandre.

    Alexandre Solka

    Hello Sam,

    Thank you very much for your answer and I think indeed this is the right track! You’re welcome.)) I do take care of researches on egyptology and ancient Scandinavia. So detective work is almost my second profession and I love the world of the Royal Navy. I even have the future project to write a specific research booklet on the lieutenants and friends of Lord Nelson in the style of John Sugden, so help me God.

    There just needs to be done further enquiry to precise even more in details the family relationships of the Goodricke and Fortescue
    at the time of the paintings made by Sir John Ferneley but I definitely think this is the right pattern.

    I will keep you informed of my findings. Myself being not on English soil, it will go a bit longer but I know all should be possible to find.

    Many thanks as well and I look forward discussing more about it with you.

    Sincerely yours,


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