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William III and the War in Ireland in Twelve Objects: 5. Earl of Portland Chair

Updated: Jun 1, 2020

This carved chair was made for William Bentinck, a close advisor of King William III and first Earl of Portland.

The scene depicted as part of the main carving shows the ‘fortunate escape of the Prince of Orange’.

On the night before the Battle of the Boyne William led a party of his advisors along the north side of the river Boyne to see the deployment of the Jacobite forces on the far side. A group of Jacobites saw this and fired small cannons from a concealed position. William was struck by a ricochet, which damaged one of his boots and injured him in the shoulder.

Seeing him fall from his horse, the Jacobites thought he had been killed. In actuality, his wounds were bandaged, and he was able to show himself to his soldiers by campfire light that evening.

This chair is a wonderful demonstration of craftsmanship. It also contains another representation of the changed nature of the political settlement.

At the bottom of the backboard are carved images of both King William III and Queen Mary II, again a reflection of the fact that the British Isles now had a Joint Monarchy. This chair was carved in 1692 and was part of a set for the Earl of Portland’s estate.


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