Valence House Museum is proud to possess one of the best collections of gentry portraits in the country. The Fanshawe family donated 49 paintings in 1963, followed by a further seven in 2004.
One branch of the family lived at the Barking manor of Jenkins
, covering what is now Mayesbrook Park, while another purchased the manor of Parsloes
in Dagenham in 1619. The Fanshawes also owned Valence House
and its estate for a while, and played a major role in local society, being Lords of the Manor of Barking from 1630 to 1857. A large family tree in the gallery demonstrates the relationships between the individuals in the portraits.
The earliest portrait on display is of Henry Fanshawe (pictured top right), who held the office of Queen's Remembrancer to Elizabeth I.
The permanent exhibition is supplemented by temporary themed displays. The current one has been curated by the broadcaster and journalist Simon Fanshawe, a descendant. It includes the highly-regarded portrait of Sir Richard Fanshawe by William Dobson.
Over 130 works from the Valence House collection, including Fanshawe family portraits, can now be viewed on the BBC Your Paintings