Francis Dashwood, 11th Baron Le Despencer

Image credit: National Portrait Gallery, London

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A leading Tory MP, Dashwood served as Chancellor of the Exchequer from 1762 to 1763. He is better known for creating the 'Monks of Medmenham Abbey': a sinister club that mocked Catholic religious practices with feasting and fornication. Many senior public figures were members including John Wilkes and the Earl of Sandwich. Dashwood fell out with Wilkes after he condemned Wilkes's obscene Essay on Woman (1763). His moral hypocrisy was attacked in poems by Charles Churchill and in popular satirical prints. Dashwood was also a leading light in the Society of Dilettanti and commissioned the construction of West Wycombe Park and Church.
This portrait depicts Dashwood later in life but he had been painted some years earlier by Hogarth in the guise of St Francis worshipping at the 'Temple of Venus'.

National Portrait Gallery, London



Francis Dashwood, 11th Baron Le Despencer




oil on canvas


H 73.7 x W 61 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

Purchased, 1903

Work type



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