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Richard Boyle, 2nd Earl of Shannon and 1st Baron Carleton (1728-1807)


Artist: Henry Spicer

painted on enamel on gold, dated 1765, set in gold frame with diamond bezel

Richard was the eldest son and hair of Henry Boyle the first Earl and his wife Harriet, daughter of the third Earl of Cork. He had two brothers, Henry and Robert, and one sister, Juliana who married the 8th Earl of Carrick.

In 1789, he married Catherine Ponsonby, daughter of John, Speaker of the Irish House of Commons. They had one son Henry later to become 3rd Earl and one daughter Catherine Henrietta who married in 1784, Francis Earl of Bandon. (Both Francis and Catherine's portraits are represented in the group).

Henry Spicer F.S.A (1743-1804) was the pupil of Gervase Spencer. He exhibited at the Society of Artists and was its secretary. He exhibited at the R.A. 1774-1804 and was elected F.S.A. in 1770. He went to Dublin in 1776 and returned to London in 1782. He was appointed 'Painter in enamel' to the Prince of Wales whose portrait he painted. He was a good artist who had a distinguished clientele.

Richard sat in the Irish parliament for Dungarvan, County Waterford and for County Cork and held office as Privy Councillor, Vice-Treasurer of Ireland and First Lord of the Treasury.

Perhaps his greatest legacy was the transformation of Castle Martyr which he had enlarged and sumptuously decorated. He may have employed the most distinguished Irish stuccodore, architect and builder Robert West (d. 1770 to redesign the house. West worked in the manner of the Lafranchini and the decoration of the saloon with magnificent rococo plaster work consisting of birds, swags and cornucopia is very much in the manner of West.

In 1783, Shannon was among the Founders of the Knights of St Patrick. In 1786, he was created Baron Carleton in the Peerage of Great Britain. The title would keep being inherited by later Earls of Shannon. According to the 'Blackwell Companion' this was a reward for political services to George III of Great Britain. Shannon 'remained a force in domestic politics' and supported the governments of Dublin Castle. In other words, Shannon actively supported the continued British rule in Ireland throughout the 1770s and 1780s. At the time the Irish Volunteers, the local Irish militia, played a part in both military and political matters of the island. The Constitution of 1782 also increased the legislative freedom of the Irish Parliament. British administration relied in part to their continued support.
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Year                 1765
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