Gandy, James (1619–89), portrait painter, was born in Exeter, England, and is thought to have been a pupil or assistant of Sir Anthony Van Dyck (d. 1641). He was one of the many artists influenced by the French and Dutch schools, and he moved to Ireland (1662) with his patron the duke of Ormond (qv), lord lieutenant of Ireland. His life and work remain obscure, although he is known to have executed portraits of the nobility in the style of Van Dyck and made copies of his work for the duke's collection. Indeed, many of his copies of Van Dyck paintings were reputedly sold as originals in Kilkenny castle (1718). Strickland lists some portraits by him, but to date there are no certain identifications. He remained with the duke until his death in 1689.
His son William Gandy (c.1655–1729) very likely travelled to Ireland with his father. He may have studied in London under Gaspar Smitz sometime before 1681, although his work shows little sign of his influence. It is more likely he learned his art in his father's studio, as his portraits are often reminiscent of Van Dyck. Unlike his father's, most of his portraiture is linked to Exeter, where he painted his finest portrait, that of Master Wilcocks, son of the sheriff of Exeter (c.1700). However, there are at least five portraits held in private collections that connect him to Ireland, and it is possible he worked in Dublin for a period. He painted (c.1686) two versions of James Butler (qv), Lord Ossory (later 2nd duke of Ormond), one of which is in the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich; a portrait of Richard Parsons (qv), 1st earl of Rosse (c.1698); a standing portrait of Kendrick Fownes; and his latest known portrait painted in Ireland is signed, and is of Henry Stewart of Killymoon (c.1700). These were all young men who had seats in Ireland. They are lively and skilfully painted in oil on canvas, and the fact that he was commissioned to paint such eminent personages suggests he was highly regarded. He was living in Exeter after 1700 and most of the portraits painted by him after this period are to be found in this area. Some of his later work was considered slovenly, but certainly his Irish portraits show no sign of poor workmanship. There are no records of the family connections of either the father or son, but William died in 1729 and was buried in St Paul's churchyard, Exeter.