This painting is of Sir William Ffaryngton of Worden Hall, Leyland, Lancashire. Sir William Ffaryngton (1537-1610) was part of one of the most powerful families in Lancashire. During his life, Sir William Ffayngton had many important roles including being Deputy Lieutenant of Lancashire, High Sheriff of Lancashire and Constable of Lancaster Castle. He was a well known man in his day and would have attended the Court of Queen Elizabeth I. Although he swore allegiance to the protestant Queen Elizabeth, Ffaryngton married into a Catholic family and had many catholic associates.
As Keeper of the privy purse of Ferdinando Lord Strange, he would also have known Shakespeare as he was responsible for paying the Shakespeare players. It is thought that the character Malvolio in Twelfth Night was based on him.
Ffaryngton was one of the first people in Lancashire to receive information about the famous "Gunpowder Plot". He was sent a letter two days before the event happened (this letter is now in Lancashire Record Office). It's not known whether he was told because of his official capacity as High Sheriff of Lancashire or whether he had some involvement and was being speedily tipped off that the plot had been discovered!
The portrait was painted in 1593 by Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger (c1561-1635). The portrait is in oil paints on canvas. Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger was the son of a painter from Bruges. He came to England soon after 1580, and was appointed painter to Queen Elizabeth I and Queen Anne of Denmark. He is particularly remembered for his portraits and paintings of Royal State occasions. He remained in England until his death in 1635.
This painting is undergoing painstaking conservation to remove layers of dirt which have built up over time. If you look closely you can see the original bright colours which are being revealed beneath.
The portrait was purchased for the Museum of Lancashire with generous grant aid from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Resource/V&A Purchase Grant Fund and the National Art Collections Fund.