Thursday 10 May 2018

Sir Nathaniel Lloyd bust by John Cheere Codrington Library, All Souls Oxford

The Codrington Library Plaster Busts by John Cheere

All Souls College, Oxford University.

Part 23. Sir Nathaniel Lloyd (1669 - 1741).

Fellow of All Souls, 1689.

Judge Advocate and Master of Trinity Hall, Cambridge.

Born in the Savoy Hospital 29 November 1669, eldest son of Sir Richard Lloyd by Elizabeth, his wife. He was educated at St Paul's School and Trinity College, Oxford, where he matriculated 9 April 1685. He was elected fellow of All Souls' College in 1689, graduated B.C.L. 22 June 1691, and proceeded D.C.L. 30 June 1696, in which year he was admitted a member of the College of Advocates (21 November).

Lloyd was appointed deputy admiralty Advocate during the absence of Dr. Henry Newton on 15 Nov. 1701, and was king's advocate from 1715 to 1727. 

He was knighted 29 May 1710, and the same year was incorporated at Cambridge, and admitted (20 June) master of Trinity Hall, the chapel of which he enlarged and to which he bequeathed £3,000  to rebuild the hall. He resigned the mastership on 1 October 1735, died at Sunbury-on-Thames on 30 March 1745, and was buried in Trinity Hall Chapel on 8 April.

info above from - ________________________________

For the painted portraits of Nathaniel Lloyd see -


Sir Nathaniel Lloyd (1669–1741)

Sir Nathaniel Lloyd. showing the front court of Trinity Hall finished in 1742.
 Thomas Gibson (1680 - 1751).
Oil on canvas
237.5 x 136 cms

All Souls College, Oxford.

A three-quarter-length version, possibly by Gibson, but attributed to Thornhill (below) is at Lincoln College. Oxford.

This, however, shows to the right the Front Court of Trinity Hall which was completed in 1742. 

A fine full-length at Trinity Hall, attributed to Thornhill, may also be the work of Gibson. It is a grander work than the portrait at All Souls but relates to it closely in composition and in the presentation of the sitter.

Image courtesy Art UK.

In, 1726 he informs the Warden of his desire to be buried at All Souls. On, February 1728 (O.S.) Dr. George Clarke' suggests to the Warden that great reliance may be placed on Lloyd's good inclinations towards the College. This hope is confirmed by Lloyd's offer in July 1729 to lend £ 1,000 to be employed ' towards turning the Hall'.

The first mention of the idea of having a portrait painted of Sir Nathaniel appears in a letter written by Lloyd to the Warden, Stephen Niblett. This was sent via another Fellow of All Souls, who was also a Member of Doctors'Commons and was later to be Lloyd's executor, Dr. Edward Kinaston.

12 November 1733

Mr. Warden

I immediately Acknowledgd the Honour to Dr. Kinaston, who sent mee the Order: I thought 'ere this he Had wrote my Purpose, in a familiar way expressed a If I must be Hang'd, I begg'd a Reprieve for Some times. I woud not Top upon Seniority, There is a much Finer, & Nobler Length to Grace Your Hall. The Anima of Our Mundis-' I added in mine to Dr. Kinaston that it being Sol. Col. I thought they shd. appoint the Hand, and Direct the whole of the Peice, and when I might sitt for my Phyis- I now add to Disgrace the Best Finish'd Room in Oxford. I Joy You of it. May it be yr. Damus Capitularis for the Election of Fellows, who may Prove Good and Great in Church and State.


Kinaston forwarded Lloyd's letter to the Warden together with a covering note that reveals the College's true motive in requesting Sir Nathaniel to sitfor his portrait.

13 November 1733

The Order. he means I sent him word of [what] was the result of the meeting where in I was desired by You and the Society to acquaint Sr. Nathaniel with the favour You ask of him to sit for his picture. The Hanging being reprieved alludes to an Expression of mine in my first letter to Sr. Nathaniel wherein I happend to say the College desired him to sit for his Picture of the same dimensions wch [sic] the Founder & ColI. Codrington's' to be hung in the New Hall. You'l perceive at what little twigs he catches at modestly to get a Reprieve but not as I think totally to decline the College Request but on the Contrary; after what he sayes, which I was glad to [see] ... ,of his senior in the College. N.B. my own thoughts the thing pleased Him and has Catchd him, not my own thoughts only but the sentiments of one who knows him intimately than I doe, who said, it was a Stratagem of the College & that he believed one day or another the College wd find this request answerd to their own advantage. This I desire may be kept inter nos. You'l please to answer the letter Yourself to Him.

It is possible to trace the stages of development of the portrait through four other letters. The first is from Dr. Kinaston and the other three from Lloyd. They are all addressed from Doctors' Commons to the Warden. They provide further illustration of the sitter's somewhat ponderous wit and his very individual spelling.

I had a letter last night from Sir N. which begins thus, Who better than Dr. Clark to name the Hand and direct the whole? Now Sr we have set the Wheels agoing and it falls into the Person You thought of to conduct them forward I doubt not but this affair will be done well & with satisfaction. Dr. Kinaston wrote mee, that Dr. Clarke has taken the Direction of the Affair and I shall Obey his Orders. Mr. Gibson has been at Drs. Commons already." I am here imured in yr. Service (and shall Let none See my Face but Mr. Gibson)." I attended Mr. Gibson the third time On Thursday; and am Dismissed, to return to Sunbury next week ... You will see an intire Obedience to the College Commands and Dr. Clark's Designing, With Due Respects to all-If the Original fails, may There bee ye Truest Copy of, 

Yr. most humble Servant, Nath Lloyd.

These letters show conclusively that the All Souls portrait was painted by Thomas Gibson and not, as Mrs. Poole suggested, by Sir James Thornhill." The fact that the full length portraits of the Founder and Colonel Codrington were painted by Thornbill perhaps led Mrs. Poole to believe that of Lloyd was by the same hand. The final confirmation is Thomas Gibson's signature and the date 1734 that appears half-way up the portrait to the left of the back of the cha ir. The portrait is mentioned by George Vertue in his otebooks. 'A whole lenght of Sr. Nath Lloyd for Queens College Oxon by Mr. T. Gibson.'734·'" However, Vertue was mistaken in believing the portrait was destined for Quern's-a college with which Lloyd had no affiliations. The choice of Thomas Gibson (1680?-1751) as the artist is perhaps a result of his earlier connection with Oxford. Vertue notes in July 1732: , Mr. Gibson removed to Oxford-for some time.'" Mrs. Poole mentions portraits by Gibson in six other Oxford colleges. He also seems to be the type of painter that might appeal to J 8th-century dons. , Mr. Thomas Gibson .. . many years courted & caressed for his excellent skill in painting of portraits true drawing and just likeness. alwayes exact. he alwayes practizd a correct & firm manner of drawing. as he rose to fame he still modestly continued the same price for ltis pictures.

information above from


Sir Nathaniel Lloyd (1669–1745), Benefactor (with Trinity Hall in the background)

Sir Nathaniel Lloyd with Trinity Hall in the background.
previously attrib. James Thornhill (1675 - 1734), but more likely Gibson
Oil on Canvas
152.4 x 101.6 cms
Lincoln College, Oxford.

Image courtesy Art UK.

This portrait has a view, not of the Wharton building, but of the Hall range of the Front Court of Trinity Hall. Sir Nathaniel, who died on 30 March 1741,'. left in his will £3,000 to Trinity Hall' to raise the Hall [to] conform to the Chapel then on the North [side].'.'" 

The refacing of the walls of the Hall in Ketton stone, the building of the cupola and the insertion of sash windows to match those already completed in the rest of the Front Court was carried out by Essex and Burrough in 1742." Therefore the buildings shown in the Lincoln portrait were completed after Lloyd's death and this suggests that the portrait is a posthumous copy perhaps by Gibson himself, who lived on until 1751.

 It is, however, possible that the portrait was painted earlier and the view of the Hall range added at a later date.


Sir Nathaniel Lloyd

Trinity Hall, Cambridge.

This portrait was first mentioned by Samuel Warren in 1742. Describing the new interior of the hall he writes: 'the hanging at the upper end taken away and an enriched baldachin with a Portrait of Sir Nath. Lloyd were set up in its stead.'

The facades of 1728-9 of Front Court represent a substantial benefaction from Sir Nathaniel Lloyd,
who presided over the College from 1710 to 1735. Lloyd, came to Cambridge from Oxford and
arrived with a reputation for being difficult, haughty and overbearing. And he was all those things.
A rich man and a successful civil lawyer [explained below], he practised all the arts of blackmail
which the wealthy employ to bend institutions to their wills. Lloyd was a Fellow of All Souls, Oxford, and, as Charles Crawley put it, “after bombarding the Warden with letters, he was allowed to retain his Fellowship at All Souls on becoming Master here, an outrageous abuse.”28 Lloyd took a robust view of giving. He had been an undergraduate at Lincoln College, Oxford, and in 1735 gave them the sum of £250 . 

In his will he wrote “it not being laid out as I directed - so no more from me.” He was equally difficult with the Oxford College All Souls to whom he bequeathed £1,000 “to finish the North Pile, or, if finished, towards completing the library”. 

All three of his colleges took pains to have his portrait painted and to be nice to him in other ways. Lloyd was not fooled. On his large marble monument in Trinity Hall Chapel he had inscribed in Latin: “epitaphs should be truthful; telling lies is wicked. This place is holy; go and tell lies outside.”

Like many benefactors before and since, he was careful with his money and knew exactly what he
wanted. In 1728-9 he concocted a deal worthy of the best modern campaign director. He gave £1,000
pounds to the College in return for an annuity of £50 so that they could start to replace the gothic
frontage in Front Court with the latest sash windows and ashlar facings. When he died, he left a
further £3,000 to remodel the Hall completely and to extend the College to the Cam, knocking down
the Old Library and flattening the gardens along the way. The plans had been drawn by Messers
James Burroughs and James Essex, fashionable architects of the time, to whom we owe Clare Chapel,
the only chapel in the University where, I am assured, it is impossible to pray to a personal God.
The great inflation of the eighteenth century, not the aesthetic reservations of the Fellowship, saved
the Old Library and the Fellows’ Garden. Lloyd’s £3,000 pounds proved insufficient for the scheme
and other benefactions came with strings. What was done was considered by contemporaries to be
an improvement. William Warren, who was a Fellow and Bursar from 1712 to 1745, tells us that the
former dining hall was “one of the most ancient buildings at present remaining in the University...
roofed with old oak beams, very black and dismal from the Charcoal which is burnt in the middle
of the Hall and over it an old awkward kind of Cupolo to let out the smoak”.

Lloyd’s legacy allowed the College to build an eighteenth century dining chamber, light and airy,
its fire place modern and equipped with a good draught. The ceiling must have been white and
curled with those vines, tendrils and sheaves of grain so beloved of the eighteenth century. It was an
expression of the age of reason. Its length was twice its width, and even today one can recapture its
proportions by walking ten paces from High Table so that the fireplace sits in the middle of the wall,
where it was intended. By the 1890s, undergraduate numbers had grown beyond the capacity
of Lloyd’s space, so the college engaged Messers Grayson and Ould to enlarge the Hall. They moved
Lloyd’s eighteenth century reredos with its coupled Corinthian columns further to the east, and, as
Pevsner puts it, “unfortunately and incomprehensibly - a Tudor roof was substituted for the

eighteenth century ceiling.

This information from -


All Photographs above taken by the author in difficult circumstances.


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