Collins, Samuel - portrait of James Wills

This miniature portrait is signed "Collins" for Samuel Collins (1735-1768). The sitter is identified on several notes within the overall frame, as James Wills. However, there are conflicts within the notes, as one describes him as the son of the James Wills who died in 1731 and another describes him as a grandson. Judging upon his age and costume, it would seem more likely he is a son of the earlier James Wills. The notes mentioning him read as follows.

"James Wills, son of above and father of Robert, Godfrey, Lucretia E (Burleigh) and Charlotte Wills. Died 1854 age 83."

"James Wills 2 married Lucretia Anne Kingsley, had issue Robert Wills, Godfrey Wills, Lucretia m W Burleigh, Charlotte. He died 1854 aged 83."

If he died on 1854 at age 83, he would have been born in 1771, but the artist Samuel Collins died in 1768 and the costume of the sitter is from around 1765. Thus it seems more likely that the sitter is a generation older than the notes suggest. It seems more likely that he is Godfrey Wills, the son of the James Wills who died in 1731 and the father of the younger James Wills. Godfrey Wills married second, Charlotte Elizabeth Stirling on 6 Jun 1771.

Another alternative that could fit the chronology associated with his age and costume, is that he is the Charles Kingsley (1743-1786) who married Elizabeth Ann Westney (1747-?), the sitter in the next portrait, on 24 Nov 1778. This would make him the grandfather of the author, Charles Kingsley. 18b

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