Benjamin Pratt
1710 – 1717 (c.1669- 1721)

The son of a landowner, Benjamin Pratt was born in Garradice, County Meath in 1669.1 He graduated from Trinity College in 1692, and was elected Fellow the following year.  In 1710 he was appointed Provost on the recommendation of his predecessor, Provost Peter Browne, who had been invited by the Queen to make the nomination. As Swift noted, the provostship was ‘one of the great employments of Ireland’ and although the Queen reserved it for her personal dispensation, she would also have expected a recommendation from her viceroy in Ireland, the Duke of Ormonde.2 Pratt was well placed to secure this for he was domestic chaplain to the Duke, who was also Chancellor, although Wharton, Ormonde’s predecessor as viceroy, had tried unsuccessfully to block this appointment.  A time of unrelenting feud and faction inside and outside the College, the accession of George I in August 1714 tipped the balance irrevocably in favour of the Whigs. Pratt moved freely in high society, both in Dublin and in London, and this allowed his political enemies to undermine his position. 3 Although he was not an active Jacobite his strong Tory sympathies led him into Jacobite circles, and in 1717 he was induced to resign the Provostship by the threat of a commission of inquiry.  For the last four years of his life he was Dean of Down.

Painting Details

By an unknown artist
Oil on canvas

  1. Anne Crookshank and David Webb, Paintings and Sculptures in Trinity College Dublin (Dublin, 1990), p. 111.
  2. J.V. Luce, Trinity College Dublin, The First 400 Years (Dublin, 1992) pp 39-41.
  3. Anne Crookshank and David Webb, Paintings and Sculptures in Trinity College Dublin (Dublin, 1990), p. 111.