William 3rd Viscount Courtenay by Richard Cosway

William Courtenay inherited the title of 3rd Viscount Courtenay of Powderham and later revived the title of Earl of Devon for the Courtenay family.


Watercolour on ivory
Height: 7.2 cm
Art Fund grant:
£7,000 ( Total: £24,500)
Acquired in:
Private vendor

His relationship with William Beckford of Fonthill caused a nationwide scandal and forced Beckford to depart on an extended Grand Tour of Europe. Courtenay was a significant patron of the arts and notorious for his extravagance. He was responsible for the addition of the Music Room in Powderham Castle near Exeter and was one of Cosway's most important patrons. The castle is still owned by the Courtenay family today. The museum had been searching for an important miniature by Cosway of a sitter with close connections to Devon and Exeter for some time.


? collection of Edward Joseph, 1889; ? collection of Frank Woodroffe; John Pierpont Morgan (1837-1913), New York; Christie's, 1935; ? Frank Partridge; Christie's, 1974; private collection; Christie's, 2002; private collection.

Venue details

Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art Gallery Queen Street, EXETER Devon EX4 3RX 01392 665858 www.rammuseum.org.uk

Entry details

Free to all

Daily, 10am – 5pm Closed Mon and Bank Holidays