William Aldersey, merchant and antiquary, was born and died in Chester.

He was a merchant ironmonger and so successful in overseas trade that he became a founding member of the East India Company in 1600. He served as mayor of Chester in 1595–6 and 1613–4 and was particularly interested in the troops and horses which sailed from Chester to support the standing army in Ireland. Between his work and his civic duties, Aldersey studied Chester’s Roman archaeology and the documentation of its medieval re-emergence. This is the earliest surviving portrait of a mayor of Chester. It will now hang in the Grosvenor Museum’s Stuart Dining Room as a pendant to the portrait of Thomas Cowper, mayor in 1641–2, joining portraits of two men William Aldersey knew – his distant cousin Thomas Aldersey and George Lloyd, bishop of Chester from 1604–15 and significantly strengthening the museum’s ability to tell the story of Chester in the 16th and 17th centuries.


Private collection, 1985; Weiss Gallery, 2011. An Art Loss Register search has been carried out.

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