John Henry North

The late 18th Century portrait of Henry John North, lawyer and Town Clerk of Woodstock from 1804 to 1829 is now in the possession of the Museum.

The oil painting is by Sir William Beechey a court painter to Queen Charlotte and many distinguished people of the period. Beechey also had Oxfordshire connections, having been born in Burford.

The Oxfordshire Museum is in good company amongst other owners of his work. Twenty five are held by the National Portrait Gallery in London, and in the U.S.A. very many galleries, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art In New York, Boston Fine Arts Museum and the Smithsonian in Washington D.C. own paintings by him.

This is another example of roles that the Friends can play. The portrait, a second portrait and other documents were donated to the museum (via the Friends Charity) by descendants of North.

The cleaning of the painting, minor restoration of the frame and arrangements for displaying it were paid for from the Friends Collections Reserve before it was given to the Museum.

The portrait was revealed on 25 October at a reception of invited guests, including the Woodstock Mayor and Woodstock’s current Town Clerk who was photographed standing next to the portrait of a predecessor who took up the same post 209 years earlier.