This ambitious large-format group portrait depicts three children of the aristocratic Wharton family – Anne (d. 1689), Philadelphia (1655 – 1722) and their brother Thomas Wharton (1648 – 1715), later 5th Lord Wharton. Their identification is based on the very distinctive inscription with which the 4th Lord Wharton had all portraits in his collection labelled, described by Sir Oliver Millar as ‘a rounded script, in white paint, with a consistent set of quirks in the formation of letters and abbreviations.” The painting itself has a charmingly awkward style, redolent of the female artist Joan Carlile, one of the earliest British female artists to work professionally in oil. The play of light and precise highlights on the silk folds of the children’s clothing, and their delicately handled faces are typical of her work. Baby Philadelphia is flanked by her two elder siblings, and they are positioned in front of a classical column draped with a red velvet curtain, and extensive capriccio landscape behind. Their attire is fashionably courtly, with seven-year-old Thomas in blue satin doublet and breeches reminiscent of Van Dyck. Anne Wharton holds a small posy of roses in front of baby Philadelphia, an emblem of their youth, innocence and femininity.
Philip, 4th Baron Wharton (1613 – 1696); by descent to
Philip, 1st Duke of Wharton (1698 – 1731), Wooburn House, Buckinghamshire, until 1728;
private collection, Italy, until 2004.
Philip, 4th Lord Wharton (1613 – 1696), was the son of Sir Thomas Wharton of Easby, Yorkshire, and Philadelphia Carey, daughter of the 1st Earl of Monmouth. On the death of his grandfather in 1625, Philip had inherited the baronetcy of Wharton as well as extensive estates in North Yorkshire which included profitable lead mines. Through his second marriage in 1637 to Jane Goodwyn (1618 – 1658), the only daughter and heiress of Arthur Goodwyn, he acquired the additional estates of Wooburn and Upper Winchendon. This combined wealth enabled Wharton to amass one of the largest and most renowned collections of art in England, built up over fifty years, spanning both the years of the Commonewealth and Restoration, with notable portraits by Sir Anthony van Dyck and Sir Peter Lely. As the collection grew, Wharton commenced a major rebuilding of Wooburn Manor House, to include a long picture gallery for his collection of royal portraits.
Our painting is one of a series of portraits of the Wharton family painted by the same hand – a triple portrait of the sitters’ father Philip, 4th Lord Wharton, with Lady Jane Wharton and their infant son Henry Wharton(Wycombe Museum, Buckinghamshire), as well as a set of four small oval portraits of Anne and three of her other siblings, Mary (1649 – 1699), Margaret (1646 – 1730), and Goodwin (1652 – 1704) (Southside House, Wimbledon), of which the small version of Anne Wharton is virtually a mirror image of ours. Assuming they are all the work of Joan Carlile, it would have been an important commission for the artist.
Portraits by Joan Carlile are rare and of her corpus there are approximately only ten that have be identified with certainty. Of these, three are in public collections (Tate Britain, Ham House, Surrey, and The National Portrait Gallery, London), while others are held in historic house collections, for example Lamport Hall, Burghley House and Berkeley Castle. Carlile is known to have specialised in small-scale portraits of figures, usually female, set in large landscape or garden settings. The larger format employed here, represents an important addition to an understanding of her oeuvre and capabilities.
Joan Carlile was married to Lodowick Carlile (or Carlell), a minor poet and dramatist who also held the office of Gentleman of the Bows to Charles I, and she lived with her husband in Petersham, a suburb of south-west London. However, by 1653 their neighbour, Brian Duppa, recorded that ‘the Mistress of the Family intends for London, where she meanes to make use of her skill to som more Advantage then hitherto she hath don’. In 1654, shortly before the approximate date of the present portrait, Carlile is recorded as living in London’s Covent Garden, then the heart of London’s artistic community. It was here that she presumably set up her own professional studio.
Anne married William Carr, son of the Hon. Sir William Carr, Baron of the Exchequer. Philadelphia married firstly Sir Geoffrey Lockhart, Knight of Carnwarth, in 1678, and secondly, Capt. John Ramsey, son of the Bishop of Rosse in Scotland. Thomas, 5th Lord Wharton, succeeded to his father’s title in 1696 and was later created Earl (1706) and Marquess (1715) of Wharton. He was reputed to have a very different character to his rather prudent father. In his younger days Thomas was a noted rake, celebrated duellist and lavish patron of the ‘turf’. He married firstly Anne Lee (1659 – 1685), daughter and coheir to the extensive properties of her father, Sir Henry Lee,  and secondly, Lucy (c.1669 – 1717), daughter and sole heir of Adam Loftus, Viscount Lisburne. In 1715, the family’s collection of paintings was inherited by Thomas’s son, Philip (1699 – 1731), Marquess of Wharton, Malmesbury and Catherlough, (created Duke of Wharton in 1718). Unfortunately, his profligate ways caused the estate to be broken up, forcing him to sell a number of Van Dycks to Sir Robert Walpole in 1725, just before his estates were forfeited.
 O. Millar, Philip, Lord Wharton, and His Collection of Portraits, The Burlington Magazine, Vol. 1, 1097, p 517.
 Wheals, B.B. (1984) ‘Theirs Were But Human Hearts. A Local History of Three Thameside Parishes: Wooburn, Lilttle Marlow and Hedsor,’ p. 77. H.S. Publishing
 In 1713 Arnold Houbraken recorded seeing the van Dycks in the gallery at Upper Winchendon. See O. Millar, Philip, Lord Wharton, and his collection of portraits,The Burlington Magazine, vol. I, 1997, pp. 517 – 530.
 Anne was born on 20 July 1659, four months after the death of her father and a few days before the death of her mother. Her guardian was her paternal grandmother, the dowager countess of Rochester. It was the countess and Sir Ralph Verney, a trustee of Anne's estate and a long-time neighbour of the Whartons, who arranged the match. The settlement gave Wharton £8000 in cash and an annual income of about £2000 and enabled him to pursue his interests in politics and horse-racing. Wharton's devotion to horses and racing became legendary.
 Lisburne, who had died in the Irish war, on 15 September 1691, left his daughter, then twenty-one, estates worth about £5000 per year. They included Rathfarnham Castle in Ireland.
 Between 1723 and 1730 all his estates were sold off to pay debts and Wooburn House, together with the extensive art collection it had contained, was sold in 1728.