The Hall - Portraits
Portraits hanging in the Main Hall
Princess Henrietta Anne (1644-70)
Attributed to Samuel Cooper, court miniaturist to Charles II. The Princess, daughter of Charles I, was born in Bedford House, Exeter (the site on which the present Head Post Office stands) in 1644 and baptized in Exeter Cathedral. She married Phillipe Duke of Orléans, brother of Louis XIV, but died at the age of twenty-six. This posthumous portrait was commissioned by her brother, King Charles II, in 1671 as a gift to the city in return for donations received from Exeter citizens. This is historically the most important picture in the Guildhall.
General Monk KG, 1st Duke of Albemarle (1608-70)
The painting has been attributed to Sir Peter Lely, but this is in some doubt. `Honest George Monk' was the leading figure behind the Restoration of Charles II in 1660. He was born at Great Potheridge at Merton near Torrington in north Devon, where his house still stands. He was chosen High Steward of the City in 1662.
MP for Exeter 1745-76, artist unknown. The Tuckfield family estate was at Shobrooke near Crediton. He was the donor of the site of the Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital in Southernhay. The election of Tuckfield with John Rolle Walter (see below) as MPs for Exeter in 1761 was amongst the most violent ever recorded. As polling began a mob supporting their opponents took control of the Guildhall, preventing others from voting. Thereupon the managers of Tuckfield and Walter assembled 400 farm labourers armed with mopstaves, who drove out their opponents. The opposition in turn drafted in a bigger mob, including a crew of sailors from Lympstone, who finally made the countrymen flee. One man died and many were seriously injured in the fray.
Henry Blackall (1770-1845)
Painted by James Leakey in 1833. Henry Blackall was founder of the Bishop Blackall School for Girls in Exeter, and Mayor of Exeter in the period 1819-23.
George II as Prince of Wales (shortly before 1727)
This portrait is by the successful portrait painter Thomas Hudson (1701-79). Hudson, who was master to Sir Joshua Reynolds, himself presented this portrait to the city.
Benjamin Heath DCL, Town Clerk 1752-1766
The city commissioned Robert Edge Pyne (1730-88) to paint this portrait from an original and ordered that it should to be placed in the most conspicuous part of the Guildhall. Heath was a member of a family of Exeter merchants and fullers. He was an able if conventional scholar. He led the opposition in the South West to the hated Cider Tax.
John Rolle Walter, MP for Exeter 1754-1776
The portrait, painted by James Leakey from an original by Sir Joshua Reynolds, was presented about 1835.
Sir Charles Pratt, Lord Chief Justice of the Common Pleas
Painted by Thomas Hudson. Sir Charles was presented with the Freedom of the City in 1764 for his famous judgement in the Wilkes Case, maintaining public liberty and the property of the subject. His portrait was placed here 'as a monument to his ... unbiased integrity and superior abilities'.
Mayor 1738 and 1749 and Sheriff 1732 and 1741. This portrait by Thomas Hudson c.1750 was presented in 1902.