Capt. Henry Peachey

Mary Byrne (1776-1845)


Born in 1787, Henry was just thirteen years old when he was commissioned as a midshipman. He was the second son of John Peachey, 2nd Baron Selsey and his wife Hester Elizabeth (née Jennings) of West Dean Park near Chichester. Within three years Peachey was promoted to lieutenant on HMS Cornwallis and in 1811 he captained HMS Hecate at the Invasion of Java during the Napoleonic Wars. The following year he was further promoted to Post-Captain.

Peachey became 3rd Baron Selsey in 1816 upon his father’s death, his old brother having died a few years previous. He married Anne Maria Louisa Irby the following year; the couple did not have any children. Peachey died in 1838 whilst staying in Florence whereupon the baronetcy passed to his younger brother but when he too died without an heir, the title expired.

Shown as a young midshipman in naval dress complete with anchor buttons, this portrait would have been commissioned by his mother as a precious keepsake of her son before he went to sea for the first time. It is signed by the artist ‘M. Byrne’.

The daughter of an engraver, Mary Byrne exhibited in London between 1795 and 1845. She married James Green of Rathbone Place in February 1805. Unusually she continued to paint and exhibit, signing thereafter with her married name. Foskett describes her as “a good artist who painted with freedom and charm”.

The portrait is set in a gilt-metal frame with a paste diamond border and pierced ribbon cresting – again no doubt the choice of Peachey’s mother!

Item Ref. 6241

Size: framed, 86 x 74mm + cresting