Squire John ffrance (1727–1817) of Rawcliffe Hall, Lancashire

Image credit: Lancashire County Museum Service

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Squire John ffrance (1727–1817), was the son of John ffrance Senior and Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Roe, and he lived at Rawcliffe Hall in the Fylde, about 5 miles from Cockerham. Described by the artist himself as 'a new species of painting,' this portrait is actually viewed through the glass sheet on which it is painted. The method required the artist to paint his subject as a mirror image for it to look correct when viewed from the other side of the glass. It was also necessary for highlights and objects nearest the spectator to be painted first, with shadows and more distant forms to be added in the final stages. This procedure, which completely reversed the traditional method of application of paint, was a shortlived fashion, principally because of the great difficulty in capturing any subtle transitions in shading.

Judges' Lodgings, Lancaster



Squire John ffrance (1727–1817) of Rawcliffe Hall, Lancashire




oil on glass


H 23 x W 18 cm (E)

Accession number


Acquisition method

purchased at Sotheby's with the assistance of the Victoria and Albert Museum Purchase Grant Fund

Work type



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Normally on display at

Judges' Lodgings, Lancaster

Church Street, Lancaster, Lancashire LA1 1YS England

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