Bishop Charles Este

Bishop Charles Este (1696-1745) was the Church of Ireland bishop of Waterford from 1740 until his death in 1745 and as such commissioned Richard Castle, the German-born architect, to design the present bishop's Palace in Waterford, widely regarded as the finest of its type in Ireland. The first half of the 18th century witnessed a transformation of the medieval city with many fine municipal and private buildings being built and the quays being extended westwards, all indicative of flourishing commercial activity. Castle is the architect of Carton House in Co. Kildare, Russborough House, Powerscourt House both in Co. Wicklow; Westport House, Co. Galway; and in Dublin both Leinster House today the seat of the Irish Parliament (Dáil Éireann) and the Rotunda Hospital.

Este was born in Whitehall, London. Well educated and wealthy he indulged in the usual pastimes of his class and while bishop of Waterford sat to the leading portrait painter in London, the Anglo-French Jean Baptiste Van Loo (1684-1745) who also painted King Louis XIV of France and the Prime Minister of Britain, Sir Robert Walpole. Este is painted in his House of Lords robes. 

Este's will states To the Mayor and Corporation of Waterford, after my wife's decease, I bequeath my picture painted by Vanloe. There is every reason to believe this is that portrait. The painting was purchased and conserved, with the help of the Friends of Waterford Museum of Treasures, in 2000 and unveiled by His Worship the Mayor of Waterford, Alderman Davey Daniels on April 5th 2001.

Date/Period: c.1744 A.D./18th century

Collection: Waterford City Council

Dimensions: 870 height x 665 width mm

Material: oil on canvas

Inventory No.: 2000.012

Provenance: purchased in 2000 from the Auction House, Bridport, Dorset, with the help of the Friends of Waterford Museum of Treasures

Location: Waterford Museum of Treasures exhibition

Further Reading :

Julian C. Walton, 'The Library of Christ Church Cathedral Waterford ', Decies, 1989

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