Old Masters on display at Hatchlands Park

A wall of paintings in the saloon at Hatchlands

The Cobbe Collection doesn’t stop with the musical instruments, there’s also a group of remarkable paintings to discover. The collection of Old Masters originated in the 18th century with Archbishop Charles Cobbe (1686 – 1765) who collected a large number of Italian and Dutch paintings for his home, Newbridge House near Dublin. Pictures were added over the centuries and the collection continues to grow. Below you can find a few of the highlights.


This painting of Shakespeare and the portrait of Henry Wriothesley became well known when they were unveiled at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in Stratford-upon-Avon. Both paintings now hang in our library.
The portrait of William Shakespeare was unveiled in March 2009 at the exhibition Shakespeare Found: A Life Portrait. The exhibition revealed that after it was painted in about 1610, it seems to have been repeatedly copied. The copies were then claimed to be original representations of Shakespeare. The portrait’s status as the original of these copies has only recently been established by x-ray, infrared examination and tree-ring dating. Perhaps most excitingly, this portrait appears to have been taken from life.
The Shakespeare portrait at Hatchlands Park
The Shakespeare portrait at Hatchlands Park

Catherine Cobbe

Catherine Eliza Cobbe, the Honourable Mrs Pelham (1761-1839) by Jean-Laurent Mosnier |

Daughter of Thomas and Lady Betty Cobbe, Catherine Cobbe made her society debut at Dublin Castle in 1777, where she was described as ‘not so beautiful as, but vastly in the style of’ Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire. Astonishingly, to achieve her tiny figure, it's rumoured that the young Miss Cobbe used to hang herself from an iron staple fixed to a the ceiling, so that her maid could lace her bodice as tightly as possible.

Catherine Eliza Cobbe
Portrait of Catherine Cobbe

Barbara Villiers

Barbara Villiers, Countess of Castlemaine and Duchess of Cleveland (1641-1709) with her Daughter, Lady Charlotte FitzRoy (1664 - 1718) by Sir Peter Lely and Studio |

Barbara Villiers was a mistress of King Charles II who dominated the court for the first ten years of his reign. She had five children by Charles three of whom were daughters. The child in the picture was added slightly later by a studio hand, the aspect and colouring so closely matches another Lely picture of Lady Charlotte Fitzroy that this would appear to be her. The addition of the child suggests that the picture may have belonged to one of her parents.

Barbara Villiers, mistress of Charles II
A painting of Barbara Villiers at Hatchlands Park


Judith with the Head of Holofernes by Lambert Sustris |
Judith is the heroine in one of the books of the Biblical Apocrypha. When the city of Bethulia was besieged by Holofernes, an Assyrian General, she visited his camp. Under the pretence of betraying her city she seduced him and cut off his head. Lambert Sustris was the assistant of Titian whose influence here is clear. Sustris accompanied Titian on the journey to Augsburg where Titian painted his famous portrait of Charles V. This portrayal of Judith is thought to have been painted for the Emperor's banker, Jacob Fugger.
Judith with the Head of Holofernes
A painting of the bilblical figure Judith at Hatchlands Park