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Henry Boyle, 1st Earl of Shannon 1684-1764 of Castle Martyr, County Cork


Artist: Bernard Lens

the reverse of the miniature set with an unusual classical landscape of Castle Martyr.

The castle had originally belonged to the FitzGeralds, seneschals of Imokilly and had been brought from Sir Walter Raleigh by Richard Boyle, the sitter's great grandfather. The original castle had been severely damaged during the turbulent years of the 17th century and then during the Williamite War.

The sitter in the portrait, Henry, had an artificial river or sheet of water added at the front of house. This is clearly indicated in the miniature. Henry Boyle bulit a new classically proportioned house along side the earlier castle which can be seen in the miniature. Irish topographical views of an identifiable landscape painted in miniature are extremely rare

Henry was the great grand-son to 'The Great' 1st Earl of Cork, Richard Boyle. His grandfather became Baron Boyle in 1616, Viscount Dungarvan in 1620 and Earl of Cork in the same year. He was Lord High Treasurer of the Kingdom of Ireland. When Richard came to Ireland in 1588 he owned a diamond ring, a bracelet, and the clothes he wore. Thanks to the riches of his first wife he purchased Sir Walter Raleigh's Irish estates in 1602. His influence on the area is very great bringing settlers to produce pig-iron.

Henry was the second son, and heir of the Hon. Col. Henry Boyle. He sat in the Irish Parliament for Midleton County Cork and in 1756 was elevated to the peerage of Ireland. He was Speaker of the Irish House of Commons, Chancellor of the Irish Exchequer and served 19 times as one of the Irish Lords Justices.

He married firstly Catherine, daughter of Chidley Coote, in 1715. This miniature may well have been commissioned as a wedding gift.After her death in 1725 he married, secondly, Lady Henrietta Boyle, youngest daughter of Charles Boyle, 3rd Earl of Cork and 2nd Earl of Burlington, in 1726. Lord Shannon died in December 1764, in his 82nd year, and was succeeded in his titles by his son from his second marriage, Richard. His eldest son Richard became 2nd Earl when Henry died in 1764.
More Information
Year                 Circa 1715/20
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