This small collection in the Town Hall comprises nineteen works of varying quality and importance, dating from the seventeenth to the twentieth centuries. Consisting mainly of persons associated with Wells during this period, over one third of the subjects are churchmen, reflecting close ecclesiastical involvement with the town over three centuries of its history. A portrait of particular interest is that of Bishop Robert Creighton, which began life as a picture of William Laud, one of a number of portraits of the archbishop that were defaced after his execution in 1645. Laud had previously been Bishop of Bath and Wells. The portrait, a copy of van Dyck’s original at Lambeth Palace, was crudely over painted with Creighton’s features, probably some years after his death in 1672. Notable also are the two bust-size royal portraits, of Charles II and James II, after Kneller and Lely respectively, traditionally supposed to have been presented to the City as a pair by James II shortly after the Monmouth Rebellion in 1685.
Wells Town Hall
Market Place, Wells, Somerset BA5 2RB England
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