Oil on canvas, 140.3cm by 114.3cm. In a carved wood frame.
William Cecil was the second son of John, 5th Earl of Exeter (1648-1700).
As an adult he would become known as William of Snape, referring to the Cecil property in Yorkshire where he lived.
The 1738 Burghley Inventory records: ‘The Blue Velvet Bedchamber ….. A Picture over the Chimney, of Mr Wm Cecil when a Child, by Wissing, he is playing with a Dog, and points to a Parrot, wch sits in a Tree, 4 1/2 F.long, 3 1/2 broad, fine carved Work round it.’
The Dutch-born Wissing was an extraordinarily talented portrait painter who studied with, and later assisted, Sir Peter Lely (1618-1680); emerging as one of his most talented pupils.
He died at Burghley at the age of only 31, having painted the portraits of many members of the family.