In December 2013 the Friends celebrated the return to
Lydiard House of two important 17th Century St. John family
portraits following conservation works which we were
delighted to fully fund.
Both of these oil paintings were part of a large body of
St. John family portraits which were removed by 6th Viscount
Bolingbroke prior to the sale of Lydiard House to Swindon
Corporation in 1943. Thanks to sensitive negotiations
conducted by the Friends in the 1960’s Lord Bolingbroke
firstly loaned and then sold the pictures to the council for
the benefit of public display in his old ancestral home.
Both pictures had suffered the effects of many years of
smoky fires and poor conditions prior to the council’s
restoration of Lydiard House. Conservation work has
included the cleaning, relining and re-varnishing of the
paintings as well as repairs to the battered frames. The
pictures have been returned to the State Bedroom where they
Barbara St.John (d.
1672) was the daughter of Sir John St.John and his wife Lady
Lucy Hungerford. Barbara had married Edward Villiers (c.
1585 - 7 September 1626). Barbara's son William Villiers
was the father of the notorious Barbara Villiers who became
the Duchess of Cleveland.
Oliver 2nd Earl
Bolingbroke (1634 - 1688) married Frances, the
daughter of William Cavendish 1st Duke of
Newcastle-upon-Tyne. The Lydiard collection has both of the
known portraits of Oliver.
Both portraits are by the English School.