A wealthy London silk merchant
Samuel Fortrey built Kew Palace as a country retreat in 1631.
All the quirky, ostentatious decoration of the palace reflects his taste in architecture.
Fortrey was born in France but in the turbulent period of religious conflict around his birth the Protestant Fortreys were soon driven out and found themselves in England.
It was here they set up business as silk merchants near the Tower of London.
By the time of his death, Samuel Fortrey was a wealthy man.
In his will, the house was left to his son, but the best furniture he gave to his daughters.