Algernon Seymour, Earl of Hertford, 7th Duke of Somerset
Algernon Seymour, 7th Duke of Somerset (11 November 1684 – 7 February 1750), styled Earl of Hertford until 1748, of Petworth House in Sussex, was a British Army officer and Whig politician. In March 1715 he married Frances Thynne, daughter of Henry Thynne (1675–1708) and granddaughter of Thomas Thynne, 1st Viscount Weymouth. This Thomas Thynne was the first cousin of “Tom of ten thousand”, who had been the second husband of Algernon's own mother, Elizabeth. Somerset and Frances had two children:
- George Seymour, Viscount Beauchamp (11 September 1725 – 11 September 1744), predeceased his father, unmarried.
- Elizabeth Percy, suo jure 2nd Baroness Percy (26 November 1716 – 5 December 1776), married Sir Hugh Smithson, 4th Baronet, later 2nd Earl of Northumberland by right of his wife and 1st Duke of Northumberland by creation; had issue.
Somerset died in 1750 and was buried in the Northumberland Vault, within Westminster Abbey. He was one of the richest landowners in England, but as he died with no surviving son his estates were split after his death. The ducal title passed to a distant cousin, Edward Seymour, 8th Duke of Somerset. The earldom of Northumberland and most of the traditional Percy estates passed to his daughter and her husband (see Alnwick Castle, Northumberland House and Syon House). Petworth in Sussex passed to the duke's nephew Charles Wyndham, 2nd Earl of Egremont. Later dukes of Somerset lived at Maiden Bradley, a far more modest estate than those already mentioned, and for a short while at Stover House, Teigngrace, Devon and at Berry Pomeroy, Devon.
As we see, dividing his inheritance was a very complicated matter. It may have been here that the Berry-Hill Portrait (if we are right) was separated from the large and small Syon portraits.
The Marquis of Bath in 1860 was John Alexander Thynne, 4th Marquis of Bath (1 March 1831 – 20 April 1896)
At the time of the death of Algernon Seymour, 7th Duke of Somerset (11 November 1684 – 7 February 1750) it was Thomas Thynne, 2nd Viscount Weymouth (21 May 1710 – 12 January 1751) who was the head of the Thynne family which was connected to Algernon Seymour through marriage. He was the great-great-grandfather of the 4th Marquis of Bath.
Of course, we have no way of knowing what exactly the 4th Marquis of Bath was in possession of. With the number of portraits of ladies misidentified as Lady Jane Grey, it could have been just about anything.
It might even have been that unlikeliest thing of all, a genuine portrait of Lady Jane Grey.
Nor does it automatically follow that even if Algernon Seymour had been in possession of the Berry-Hill portrait in the mid-1700’s, that it would have wandered to the Thynne-Baths. It could have ended up with the Egremonts, or even followed the Seymour-Percys for a few more generations, or migrated to some of his other heirs.
Still, it is interesting.
Frances Thynne, Duchess of Somerset
Algernon Seymour, 7th Duke of Somerset's wife Frances Thynne was actually also a direct descendant of Lady Katherine Grey. The two of them were third cousins once removed.
And it was to Frances's branch of the family the portraits had been left.
«‘I do also give and bequeath to my s[ai]d grandaughter [sic] the lady Frances Thynne ... my picture of the lady Arabella my dear Lord's first wife now hanging in the dining roome, and the picture of the Queen Jane Grey, now hanging in my chamber with another the picture of my Lady Katherine.’» – The will of Frances Devereux, Duchess of Somerset, quoted in White King: Charles I, Traitor, Murderer, Martyr by Leanda de Lisle
That Frances Thynne was this Frances Thynne's grandmother.
So it must have been Frances who brought these paintings into the marriage.
The painting below may be the one mentioned of Arbella Stuart. For this information I have relied on our old friend Herbert Norris: «Fig. 731 is drawn from a very old photograph, dating about the 1880's, of the original by Marcus Gheeraerts in the possession of the Duke of Northumberland at Syon House.» Tudor Costume and Fashion by Herbert Norris
The photograph below of the Syon Portrait is from the Lady Jane Grey Reference Guide, whose photographs also make it clear that there is a common theme to the frames, making me unsure if it were this portrait of Lady Katherine Grey which were mentioned in the will, which I had assumed in the back of my mind thanks to its similarity in construction to the Syon Portrait, or some other of Lady Katherine Grey.