Fonds MC 3558 - Portraits of the children of William Paston, 2nd Earl of Yarmouth

Identity area

Reference code

MC 3558


Portraits of the children of William Paston, 2nd Earl of Yarmouth


  • nd [early 1680s] (Creation)

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Extent and medium

4 paintings

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Name of creator

(fl 1610-1730)

Biographical history

The Paston family of Oxnead, Norfolk

SIR WILLIAM PASTON, c.1610-1663, married (1) Lady Katherine Bertie, daughter of Robert Bertie, 1st Earl of Lindsay, and Elizabeth Montague, and aunt of Lady Bridget Bertie (1629-1704) who married Thomas Osborne, Earl of Danby. She died 3 January 1637.

He married (2) Margaret Hewitt on 27 July 1640 at St Mary Aldermanbury. She was alive in 1666.

By his first wife, Sir William had one surviving son:

SIR ROBERT PASTON was born on 29 May 1631 at Oxnead, Norfolk, and died on 8 March 1683. He was created Viscount Yarmouth in 1673, and 1st Earl of Yarmouth in 1679. He married Rebecca Clayton on 15 June 1650; she was a daughter of Sir Jasper Clayton and Mary Thompson, and died in 1694.

Their surviving children were:

1 WILLIAM PASTON, 2nd Earl of Yarmouth, born 1654; died 25 December 1732 at Epsom.

Married (1) Charlotte Howard on 17 July 1672, illegitimate daughter of Charles II, born c 1650, and died 1684.

Married (2) Elizabeth, daughter of Dudley, 4th Baron North, and widow of Sir Robert Wiseman, born 1647, and died 1730.

Children of William Paston by his first wife:

Charles (1674-1718) married Elizabeth Pitt; d.s.p.

Charlotte (1675-1735) married (1) Thomas Herne of Haveringland, 12 June 1703, and (2) Hon. Major Weldon.

Rebecca (born 1681) married Sir John Holland of Quidenham, 8 May 1699.

2 Margaret, married Hieronimo Alberti di Conti of Venice.

3 Robert married Anne, daughter of Philip Harbord and Anne Drury, and died 1705.

4 Mary, probably died in 1678.

5 Jasper, went to sea

6 Thomas (1663-1691), became a soldier

7 Elizabeth

Archival history

The portraits were presumably commissioned by William Paston, 2nd Earl of Yarmouth (1654-1732). After his death, they passed to the Earl’s sole surviving daughter, Lady Charlotte Paston, wife firstly of Thomas Herne of Haveringland Hall, Norfolk and then of Colonel Thomas Weldon. In 1911, Frederick Duleep Singh, antiquarian, saw the portraits at Threxton Hall, Norfolk, home of the Barton family (see Singh, ‘Portraits in Norfolk Houses’, 1927). T.F. Barton loaned them for the exhibition ‘The Pastons’ at Norwich Castle Museum in 1953, and later presented them to Paston College, Norfolk.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Received by the Norfolk Record Office on 26 September 2019 (ACC 2019/133). List completed on 1 December 2021 by JW.

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Scope and content

Pastel drawings (by an unknown artist) of four children of William Paston, 2nd earl of Yarmouth, and his wife Charlotte, one of the illegitimate daughters of Charles II.

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Publication note

There are photographs of the portraits and a short article about them in ‘The Paston Treasure Microcosm of the Known World’ ed. A. Moore, N. Flis and F. Vanke (Yale University Press, 2018).

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