Paul Pechell, born at Owenstown, County Kildare, was the grandson of a Protestant who had fled Montauban for Ireland after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685. He entered the British army in 1744 as cornet-en-second in the First Regiment of Dragoons, and by 1747 he had become a distinguished officer, serving in Flanders. He married Mary Brooke of Paglesham, Essex, in 1752. In 1754 he was gazetted guidon and later captain in the Second Troop of Horse Grenadier Guards; in 1759 he was promoted to major. He appears in the Regimental List (Army) as a lieutenant colonel from 1762 until his retirement in 1768, and thereafter, until 1785, in the List of General and Field Officers. He was created a baronet in 1797 (Wood 1998). Portraits of his son and daughter-in-law by Hoppner are also in the Museum's collection (46.13.3
Pechell wears a red uniform coat with a high collar and epaulet, probably that of lieutenant colonel of the Second Troop of Horse Grenadier Guards. Waterhouse (1958) dated the portrait to the London period, after 1774, and it is difficult to be more precise. The work is in good state, although the varnish is moderately discolored. What seems from photographs to be a replica or a good copy was sold as by Gainsborough at Christie’s, London, December 12, 1952, no. 77 (location unknown).
[2010; adapted from Baetjer 2009]