In early 2007, Plymouth City Council acquired an important collection of Sir Joshua Reynolds paintings from the Earl of St Germans under the 'Acceptance in Lieu' scheme. The collection features a series of 23 portraits, 14 of which were painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds and 9 painted by some of his main contemporaries.
Richard Eliot, the father of the first Lord Eliot (Edward Craggs-Eliot) was one of Reynolds’ principal patrons. Over the years, Reynolds received many commissions to paint the Eliot family and their relations and remained on close terms with them throughout his life. The portraits span from the start of Reynolds’ career in the 1740s to the 1780s. The collection includes a 'Self Portrait', a portrait of Edward, 1st Lord Eliot, and the ambitious 'Eliot Family Portrait' inspired by van Dyck’s famous 'Pembroke Family Portrait'. The portraits remain in situ at the Port Eliot estate in St Germans, Cornwall, which is normally open to the public. However, due to circumstances beyond our control, Port Eliot House is currently closed for essential renovations. Please check the Port Eliot website for the latest information on public access to the Estate.