The Restoration of Beechey's Portrait of Fletcher Norton - 1st Lord Grantley
Sir Fletcher Norton – Baron Grantley of Markenfield, later to become the 1st Lord Grantley – was a forceful and pugnacious Speaker of the House of Commons from 1770 to 1780. Perhaps at times he was a little too pugnacious – his entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography describes him as:
“coarse, ill-tempered, tactless and careless of whom he offended” as well as “bold, able, outspoken and certainly nobody’s lackey”
Whilst still a barrister, before he entered politics, his nickname was Sir Bull-face Double Fee; from his practice of taking money from each side in a dispute, without telling the other.
We do not know the precise year that this portrait, showing him in his Speaker’s robes, was painted; but it must have been towards the end of the 1770s. William Beechey who painted it later became Court Painter to Queen Charlotte, wife of George III, and was knighted. Beechey was born in 1753 making him only 27 when Norton resigned the Speakership. A good friendship must have sprung up between painter and sitter, as Beechey was to go on to paint Norton’s son the 2nd Lord Grantley and his grandson who became the 3rd. The full-length portrait of 3rd Lord Grantley now hangs over the staircase in the Great Hall. The 3rd Lord Grantley also married Beechey’s daughter Charlotte.
The Friends of Markenfield are extremely grateful to The Leche Trust for their most generous grant, which made the cleaning and conservation of both picture and original frame possible. The Heritage Conservation Trust also played an invaluable role.
Before and after images taken by Painting Conservator David Everingham.
David commented “it was clear that the picture had never before been cleaned. I removed 230 years of candle smoke and grime to get back to the original paint surface”
With grateful thanks to...
The Friends Of Markenfield are extremely grateful to The Leche Trust for their most generous grant, which has made the cleaning and conservation of both picture and its original frame possible. The Heritage Conservation Trust acted as a further Godfather in the restoration. The painting was cleaned and restored by David Everingham and the frame by Paula Reeve.
The Leche Trust
The Leche Trust was founded in 1950 and endowed by the late Mr Angus Acworth CBE. The Trust currently concentrates its work in five main areas – among these are the preservation of buildings, their contents and assistance to conservation in all its aspects; including in particular museums and encouraging good practice in art conservation by supporting investigative and diagnostic reports. The Trustees meet three times a year in February, June and October to review the applications received in the major grant categories.
The Heritage Conservation Trust
The Heritage Conservation Trust was created as an independent charity in 1990 on the initiative of historic house owners, to support the restoration of works of art and also to support educational initiatives and research related to the contents of historic buildings. The Historic Houses Association has consistently supported the work of the Trust by offering pro bono secretariat support, through generous donations from its members and Friends of the HHA as well as by the promotion of its activities. Other charities with similar aims also give support.