Oil on canvas, 151.1cm by 114.3cm. Charles Cecil was the third son of John, 5th Earl of Exeter (1648-1700) and his wife Anne Cavendish. The portrait is recorded in the 1738 Burghley Inventory: “Red Velvet Bedchamber…..Mr Charles Cecil’s Picture over the Chimney, done by Wissing; he is drawn a little Boy by a Fountain holding a Shell in his Hand, by him a Lamb, 3 qrs Square.”
Willem Wissing arrived in England from Holland in 1676 to study under Sir Peter Lely. An immensely talented artist, he would no doubt have enjoyed great fame, had he not died at the tragically early age of 31. He painted many portraits for the Cecil family and died whilst working at Burghley.