The portrait on the left is at Sausmarez Manor: who is the artist?
And is this really the same man that is portrayed in the portrait in St Paul's Church?

There is at Sausmarez Manor, Guernsey, a portrait of Capt. Philip Durell holding a roll inscribed "A Plan of Louisberg," 1745. There is [another] portrait of him marked "After a painting by Sir Joshua Reynolds" hanging in the vestry [of St Paul's Church, the oldest Anglican Church in Halifax] , a memorial of one who had gone to the top of his Country's service.

Durell & Porto Bello
Other Durells

as well as

Louisbourg 1745
Louisbourg 1758

The brief article by A.C.Saunders in the Bulletin of La Société Jersiaise contains information about the Durell family not easily obtainable elsewhere. However, it also contains a number of typographical and other errors, is somewhat confusing, and raises one or two problems, which this and the next page will try to address, although they do not solve them.

The first problem is the statement that "In Traill's Social England Vol IV, page 17, there is a plan of Porto Bello made by Lt. Durell who must have been promoted shortly afterwards, for late in 1740 Capt. Philip Durell died of plague at Carthagena." Saunders must have had some otherwise undisclosed source for the unequivocal statement that a Capt. Philip Durell "died of plague at Carthagena." Or else he was just mistaken about this man's career. The only Philip Durell included in Charnock is the Vice-Admiral, 1707-1766.

Plan from Traill's Social England.

It seems reasonable to accept that there might have been two Philip Durells, the elder being the uncle of the younger. Saunders also appears to be suggesting that they were both mapmakers, which seems rather less probable. The problem is compounded by the existence of at least five portraits, all described as portraying Philip Durell. Two of these are clearly versions of the same painting, with the sitter wearing different clothes; but the three basic images are so different that it is hard to accept they show the same man. On the other hand it is possible that they do, and that the differences are caused by the singularly divergent styles of the painters.

In Sausmarez Manor

These two small paintings portray "Philip Durell" and his wife. Unfortunately her name is unreadable, and must wait for another visit to the Manor, but I think the label says Madelaine de Sausmarez. It is conceivable that the portraits are of a young-looking Philip Durell and his first wife, painted by a local Guernsey or Jersey artist. This might have been in 1736, at the time of their marriage, when the future Vice-Admiral was 29, and his cousin Madelaine was about 21. On the other hand, the pictures look early, and it is also just possible that they are of an elder Phillippe Durell and his wife; ie the putative Capt Philip Durell who "died of plague at Carthagena" late in 1740. An expert on wigs might say that the abbreviated mode marks the painting as not earlier than 1730, and it appears to match the convenient style favoured by the sitter in the other two portraits.

Below is the portrait said to be by Reynolds, and its copy. It has been remarked that this portrayal shows us how an Admiral ought to look. Presumably it would have been painted when Durell was at the height of his career, say about 1762, when he was C-in-C at Plymouth. Reynolds' dates are 1723-1792, and he is credited, unbelievably, with over 2000 portraits. The painting in the Plymouth museum, is now said to be by Zoffany; ie, the picture, right, below.

"After a painting by Sir Joshua Reynolds". The right-hand portrait appears to be the original.
Now de-attributed, and ascribed to Zoffany.

On the next page a Durell family tree is presented, assembled on the information supplied by Saunders, Balleine's A Biographical Dictionary of Jersey (Philip and Thomas Durell), the brief accounts of Philip Durell on the previous page, and the biographies in Charnock, Vols IV and V. Charnock is bemused by the plethora of naval Durells: John, George, Philip and Thomas. The John Durell he includes in the Biographia seems to have no existence outside his pages.

Below is some more information about the Durells.

Below: Aaron Durell encounters an armed footpad, 1730, and loses his wig, plus about 24 shillings. His friend, George Bailey, loses his watch and 39 shillings. The miscreant, Francis Hackabout, a self-confessed man of honour, is apprehended and condemned to death at the Old Bailey, along with the notorious Francis Charteris, who was similarly sentenced for rape on the same day.

philip durell & other durells
durell & louisbourg       durell & porto bello
porto bello picture tiles       louisbourg picture tiles
philip durell's maps
article 1981       article 1983
monamy/cornwall/durell family background
monamy site index

© Charles Harrison Wallace 2003, 2007
all rights reserved