Nicolas Lanier 1588-1666 a portrait revealed

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N I C H O L A S L A N I E R ~ a portrait revealed



✼ NICHOLAS LANIER 1588 ~ 1666 Oil on panel, transferred to canvas 35 5/8 x 28 3/8 ins 90.5 x 72 cms


NICHOLAS LANIER 15 8 8 ~ 1 6 6 6

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a portrait revealed



Nicholas Lanier (1588 ~ 1666 ) with The Liberation of St. Peter by Hendrick van Steenwyck the Younger (c.1580-1649) signed and dated 'S...NWICK 1613' (lower centre) oil on panel, transferred to canvas 35 5⁄8 x 28 3⁄8 in. (90.5 x 72 cm.) Provenance Acquired by the Wood-Martin family, Ireland, in Florence 1779, as ‘Van Dyck’ (according to an inventory); thence by descent to Col. William Gregory Wood-Martin (1847-1917), Cleveragh, Co. Sligo. Acquired in 1936 by Derek Haig (d.1963); thence by descent until sold Christie’s London, 8 July 2009, lot 187. Literature Jeremy Howarth, The Steenwyck Family as Masters of Perspective, 2009, cat. no. II. F 25, p. 275, p. 288 fn 79, p. 292, fn 79.






P R E FAC E ~ M a r k We i s s 11


A U N I Q U E A N D C O M P E L L I N G I M AG E ~ S i r R o y S t r o n g 29

I C O N O G R A P H Y A N D AT T R I B U T I O N ~ D u n c a n T h o m s o n 39

C O N N O I S S E U R S H I P O F T H E A RT S ~ Je r e my Wo o d 51

T H E PA I N T I N G S W I T H I N ~ T i m W i l k s 61

T H E S TAT U E T T E ~ T i m W i l k s 71

L A N I E R A N D T H E C O U RT LY M A S Q U E ~ Pe t e r Wa l l s 79

THE LUTE AND THE LUTENIST ~ Benjamin Hebber t 85

THE EPIGRAM ~ Benjamin Hebber t 91

R E S TO R AT I O N A N D R E V E L AT I O N ~ K a t h e r i n e A r a 104

T H E AU T H O R S 106

G H E E R A E RT S, O L I V E R & L A N I E R ~ FA M I LY T R E E S 107



AC K N OW L E D G E M E N T S As well as thanking all the authors for their enthusiastic assistance in producing this book, in particular Duncan Thomson for the editing, I would like to record my gratitude to Ashted Dastor for the design and production, to Katharine Ara, Bronwyn Leone, and Harriet Hunter Smart for the restoration, and, for all their hard work, my research assistant Natasha Blumenthal, my associate director Florrie Evans and my beloved wife Catherine. âœť



P R E FAC E ~ M a r k We i s s


he various essays in this book, which commences with a concise synopsis of Lanier’s life by his biographer Michael Wilson, offer many differing and fascinating insights and interpretations of one of the most remarkable paintings ever to be produced in Jacobean England. For an English portrait dated 1613, it is truly without precedent both in its quality and composition and for the window that it opens upon the culture and connoisseurship of the day. However, as will be seen, enigmatically, many questions remain and may continue to remain unanswerable. For example, we know nothing of the painting’s early history, and its provenance is only secure from the end of the nineteenth century when it was recorded in the possession of an Irish antiquarian and historian. According to that family’s tradition, the painting was acquired in Florence as a Van Dyck in the 1770s, though the inventory that mentions this has since been lost. This information was recorded in 1939 in a letter of expertise written in London by Gustav Glück, the eminent Austrian art historian and former Director of the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. As a testament to its quality, he considered the painting to be by the youthful Van Dyck, though at this time the sitter’s identity remained unknown. He also noted that a lute player by Van Dyck of about the same size was recorded in the collection of Blondel de Gagny in 1776: ‘Ant. van Dyck. Un jeune homme qui joue du lutte, vu de trois-quarts, jusqu’aux genoux. Trente-six pouces sur vingt-neuf…900 liv’. However, that painting was on canvas, and our Lanier was painted on panel. Both Roy Strong and Duncan Thomson in their respective essays propose alternative attributions, but as yet a question mark must still remain as to the painting’s authorship. Thomson also discusses Lanier’s surprisingly extensive iconography, which convincingly confirms the indentification that was perceptively first proposed for our portrait by the late Sir Oliver Millar. Further essays by Jeremy Woods, Tim Wilks and Benjamin Hebbert explore the intriguing ancillary elements that give this painting so much of its extraordinary allure. Whilst conundrums persist, such as the identities of the artist and sitter in the oval portrait depicted in the background, or indeed its raison d’être, their research offers new and enlightening thoughts.These significantly add to our understanding of this important work and of Lanier himself, as does Peter Walls’s study on Lanier’s role in the development of Jacobean court music. Finally Katherine Ara, whose studio undertook the restoration work, elucidates the technical aspects of the the painting’s construction and conservation. I hope that the revelation of the newly restored portrait and the studies published here will now be the catalyst for further research and debate on this complex and beguiling painting.

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1 John de Critz Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury c.1608 Š The Weiss Gallery


NICHOLAS LANIER – HIS LIFE IN BRIEF ~ M i c h a e l W i l s o n


n 30 October 1665 the diarist Samuel Pepys gave a party for a select group of friends. One of the guests was a singer, Edward Coleman, who had brought along a Mr Lanier, ‘with whom, with their lute, we had excellent company and good singing till midnight, and a good supper I did give them… Lanier sings, in a melancholy method, very well, and a sober man he seems to be.’1 This is an extraordinarily laid-back attitude towards a man who, although by now elderly (he was seventy-seven), was nevertheless still nominally Master of the King’s Musick, a composer of repute, a gifted singer, lutenist and viol player, and an influential connoisseur and collector of paintings, drawings and engravings.Yet it can be explained easily enough in terms of the generation gap, as potent in the seventeenth century as it is today. At thirty-two, Pepys was still a young man, with a young man’s self-confidence, and he had no qualms at all about singing his own recitative-style song ‘Beauty, retire’ in the presence of Nicholas Lanier, who himself had done much to develop the style in England some fifty years earlier. As Lanier listened to Pepys singing he may perhaps have been reminded of his own youth as a singer and lutenist in the household of Robert Cecil, Earl of Salisbury (fig.1), which he joined in about 1601. He had strong musical antecedents. In 1561 his grandfather, the first Nicholas Lanier and a Huguenot musician originally in the service of King Henri II of France, was recruited to join the royal court band or Musick of Queen Elizabeth. This Nicholas Lanier had six sons, all of whom followed their father into the Musick, and one of whom, John Lanier (a sackbut player) was the father of the composer.While the younger Nicholas Lanier (born in London on 9 September 1588) may have entered the Salisbury household as a ‘singing boy’,2 it was probably also during this period that he developed his skills on the lute and viol. By 1605 he was acting as music tutor to Robert Cecil’s son William, Lord Cranborne, with whom he seems to have had a friendly relationship. He was also the curator of the family’s extensive collection of lutes and viols, arranging for their purchase, repairs and transport.

Whilst in Lord Salibury’s employ Lanier benefited from associating with the composer and viol player Giovanni Coperario (alias plain John Cooper) who was also attached to the household, though more loosely. In December 1613 Coperario provided most of the music for The Squires’ Masque, an extravaganza of song, dance and spectacle typical of masques in general and of those at the court of King James I in particular, thanks to a long-lasting collaboration between Ben Jonson and Inigo Jones. Most were performed in the palace of Whitehall, and it was here in The Squires’ Masque that Nicholas Lanier made his first significant public appearance as a singer and composer, performing his own song ‘Bring away this sacred tree’ (fig.44).3 This song marked Lanier’s first tentative use of the Italianate declamatory or recitativo style which was to distinguish many of his future vocal compositions. His introduction to it was probably mainly via the work of three composers – Coperario, the younger Antonio Ferrabosco (Lanier’s uncle by marriage) and the Venetian Angelo Notari. Both Ferrabosco and Notari were attached to the court of the young Prince Henry, and there is a theory that Lanier himself was part of the Prince’s household for a time. However,


1. Samuel Pepys, The Diary of Samuel Pepys, ed. R. Latham and W. Matthews, London, 1970-83, vol. VI, p. 283 2. See Michael Wilson, Nicholas Lanier, Master of the King's Musick, Aldershot, Scolar Press, 1994, pp. 9-11 3. The first solo item of Thomas Campion, The Description of a Masque: Presented in the Banqueting Room at Whitehall, on Saint Stephen’s Night Last, At the Mariage of the Right Honourable The Earle of Somerset: And the right noble the Lady Frances Howard, 1614, Bodleian Library, Oxford; see A Scolar Press Facsimile, The Masque at the Earl of Somerset’s Marriage, Thomas Campion, The Scolar Press Ltd, London and Yorkshire, 1973


there is no firm evidence for this, and he remained nominally on the Salisbury payroll until October 1613. But there can be little doubt that during the later years of his employment he sought out every opportunity for personal advancement, above all the entrée into that select private body, the King’s Musick, which included not only members of his own family but also such eminent musicians as the great John Dowland. In 1605 his father had petitioned Lord Salisbury to secure a place in the Musick for his son (though, curiously, as a flautist), but this had come to nothing. Apart from any other considerations, at the age of seventeen or eighteen Nicholas would have been considered too young for such a post. By 1613, now aged twenty-five, he had developed into a musically-gifted, talented and self-confident young man of striking appearance, apparently well fitted to join his several relatives in the royal band. And this is indeed how we see Nicholas in the portrait which is the subject of these essays, and which is dated 1613. As yet its origins are unknown. Was it perhaps some kind of public relations exercise, a plea to a patron: ‘This is how I am; what you see is what you will get; I am a skilled musician who also knows something about art?’ Was it painted in response to a request, or as a commission? Time may tell. What is certain is that on 12 January 1616 Nicholas Lanier at last got his heart’s desire and was appointed as a singer and lutenist to a vacancy in the King’s Musick. He applied himself diligently to his work and between the years 1616 and 1625 is known to have participated in several of the masques which were regularly given at court, most often at Twelfth Night. Two of those specifically linked with his name were The Vision of Delight (1617) and The Masque of Augurs (1622). Also in 1617 he made an important debut in the masque Lovers Made Men, which was not given at court but at the London home of Lord James Hay (later Earl of Carlisle).The text was by Ben Jonson, who himself stated that not only had Lanier provided the music, in the new stile recitativo (and had sung at least some of it himself), but that he had also designed the stage set and costumes. Lovers made Men was not an elaborate masque on the scale of the Whitehall ones (there was only the single set, and no spectacular scenic effects), but it apparently marks Lanier’s first public appearance as a practising artist.

4. The details of James I’s funeral procession are recorded in BL Lansdowne MS.885 and by J. Nichols, vol. III, p. 1044 5. Ed. A. Ashbee, Records of English Court Musick, vol. III, pp. 17-18,19,55.

There were precedents for this within his own family. His brother-in-law was Edward Norgate, who was not only a lutenist for the King’s Musick but also an artist and a skilled heraldic illuminator. His uncle Jerome, who played sackbut in the Musick, was an amateur artist and a collector, and the miniaturists Isaac Oliver and his son Peter were close friends of the family. Between them, these could all have nurtured any budding artistic promise shown by the young Nicholas. But he must surely also have shown a wider interest in connoisseurship, as is suggested by the reduced plaster cast of the Belvedere Antinous which stands on the table before him in the 1613 portrait. Early in 1611 he was in Venice, having been sent there as a courier by Lord Salisbury. (At the time, musicians and artists were often used as covert government messengers and sometimes spies.) The possibility must be allowed that the visit greatly stimulated his wider artistic interests and the Antinous figurine was a valued souvenir which made a useful point of reference in the portrait, clearly indicating his credentials as a budding connoisseur. Once admitted to the Musick, it would not have been long before Nicholas attracted the attention of Prince Charles (fig.2), who had not only inherited his brother’s mantle



as heir to the throne after Henry’s tragically early death in 1612, but also Henry’s keen interest in the arts. In this Charles was ably tutored by two great collectors, the Duke of Buckingham and the Earl of Arundel, both of whom also knew Lanier well, especially Buckingham who was to some extent his patron. The decade 1616-26 thus stands out as the probable period in which Lanier grew in the estimation of the Prince, both as a musician and as young man of taste and discernment. Public recognition came in May 1625 with the first documented appearance (in the funeral procession of James I) of the Master of the Musick, who although unnamed was undoubtedly Lanier, the first to hold the title.4 Positive identification is found in documents of June 1626 which allow for liveries for ‘Nicholas Lanier, Master of our Musique’5 and other court musicians. He was thirty-seven years old. Lanier was given little time in which to establish his authority as Master. The funeral of King James took place on 7 May 1625, but it was scarcely over before he found himself being entrusted with a mission of alarming responsibility. His instructions were to


2 Daniel Mytens Charles I, as Prince of Wales 1624 © The Weiss Gallery


proceed at once to Italy, where he was to search out and acquire paintings for the royal collection, which the new King Charles was determined to enlarge and develop to a status befitting the English crown. Lanier’s qualifications for this task were impeccable. He had, in the king’s view, already shown a high level of expertise as a connoisseur, he spoke Italian fluently (his mother and several other relatives, to say nothing of various colleagues in the Musick, were Italian), and as a musician he was ideally placed to carry out a secret mission. Diplomatic letters prepared the way for him, and his first goal was Venice, where he arrived in the summer of 1625. Lanier’s contact in Venice was Daniel Nys, a shady entrepreneur with a finger in several pies, one of which was dealing in paintings and sculpture. Nys lost no time in arranging for Lanier to visit the legendary art collection of Ferdinando, Duke of Mantua, which was well-known by repute to be amongst the finest in Europe. Lanier did not stay long in Mantua, but he was there long enough to be able to form a highly favourable impression of the great collection.‘Mr Lanier has returned [to Venice] with all speed and in unutterable raptures over the honours he has received,’ wrote Nys.The wily dealer now received instructions from Lanier to begin serious negotiations with Mantua about the purchase of the collection, and the Master of the Musick set off for his next port-of-call, Rome. In Rome Lanier probably participated in recitals and other musical activities, partly in order to deflect suspicions from his true mission, partly because he was genuinely interested in the progress of contemporary music, which in Rome at that time was instrumental rather than operatic. But he also bought an impressive tally of over thirty paintings by artists such as Guercino, Palma Vecchio and Sebastiano del Piombo, and secured for them a papal export licence issued to ‘Sig. Nicolo Laniere inglese’ and dated 29 January 1626. While certainly of historic and indeed (in some cases) artistic interest, they are overshadowed today by the presence in their midst of a single portrait, tersely described on the licence as ‘ritratto del ditto Sig. Nicolo.’ This is now generally accepted as the portrait by Van Dyck which is in the Vienna Kunsthistorisches Museum, and was probably painted in Genoa (where Van Dyck was then living) in late 1625, while Lanier was en route from Venice to Rome (fig.12). 6 In it, Lanier appears very much as a selfconfident, fashionable man-about-town – more austere and distant than the romantic figure in the portrait of 1613, but recognisably the same man. Lanier and the paintings were back in England by April 1626 and he resumed his musical duties at court. He was now married, probably on his return home. However, he had little time to enjoy his new domestic status or his musical activities, for a crisis had arisen in Mantua and the whole future of the collection there had been thrown into doubt by the death of Duke Ferdinando in October 1626. Daniel Nys reopened negotiations with Ferdinando’s successor,Vincenzo II, but they proved to be complex, and King Charles and his advisors hesitated to make the final commitment. Someone with authority to complete the deal was needed on the spot. There was only one possible candidate. By mid-June 1627 Lanier had left again for Venice. On arrival there he was able to sanction payment for the first part of the collection (eventually totalling a modern equivalent of some £15,000), and the paintings were assembled in some secrecy on the island of Murano, whence they were despatched by sea to England in April 1628. Secrecy in fact was essential, as there was public disquiet in



3 Studio of Daniel Mytens George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham c.1628 Š The Weiss Gallery



Mantua at the way the collection had been so comprehensively dispersed. Negotiations for the second part – much of it devoted to sculpture – were again delegated to Nys, and Lanier returned home overland with two Correggios and a Raphael in his baggage. He was back by early July, having stopped off in Antwerp to examine, with some trepidation, the precious cargo of paintings which had eventually arrived there after running through a severe storm in the Gulf of Venice. All seemed well, but when the collection finally arrived in London and was unpacked, it was found that in fact some paintings had been damaged in transit. Fortunately the majority of these were saved by the efforts of Lanier’s uncle Jerome, who, as a minor collector and dealer himself, had apparently acquired some technical knowledge of elementary restoration. The collection was ceremonially installed at Whitehall and Lanier once again returned to his duties as Master of the Musick. (The second part of the collection, in the purchase of which Lanier was not involved, followed in 1631 and included Mantegna’s magnificent Triumph of Caesar sequence which is now at Hampton Court.) It is ironic that Lanier’s stature as a composer may have increased at this time through as violent and, to some, tragic event as the assassination of the Duke of Buckingham, which took place on 23 August 1628.Though reviled in the country at large, Buckingham (fig.3) was deeply mourned by King Charles and, to a lesser extent, by others including Lanier, to whom the Duke had been a generous patron. Although concrete evidence is lacking, it seems probable that Lanier’s most celebrated composition was directly inspired by the Duke’s untimely death. This was his dramatic setting for solo voice, in stile recitativo, of a poem (perhaps by himself) on the tragic Greek legend of Hero and Leander. It shows him at the highest peak of his expressive powers, and whilst inevitably owing something to Italian influence, notably that of Monteverdi (whom he may well have met in Venice), demonstrates a high level of originality. It was much admired, especially by King Charles, who, according to Roger North, ‘was exceedingly pleased with this pathetic song and caused Lanier to sing it to a consort attendance, while he stood next with his hand upon his shoulder’. Of wider appeal at the time were his numerous tuneful songs in more traditional style and with alluring titles such as ‘Fire, fire!’ and ‘Silly heart, forbear’, which could be sung with effect by competent amateurs. 7

6. A later date of 1628 is preferred by some. See Horst Vey in: Barnes, S.J., De Poorter, N., Millar, O., Vey, H.,Van Dyck: A Complete Catalogue of the Paintings. New Haven, London, 2004, p. 321, no. III-92. Cf Wilson, Nicholas Lanier, Master of the King’s Musick, Aldershot, pp. 96-97. (See also the last named publication for all other sources relating to this essay. 7. It is good to know that in recent years a significant amount of Lanier’s music has found its way onto CD and is now more widely accessible than he could have dreamed. 8. See Wood, J., ‘Nicholas Lanier (1588-1666) and the origins of draw-ings collecting in England’, Collecting Prints and Drawings in Europe, c.1500-1750, ed. Baker, C., Elam, C. and Warwick, G., 2003.

As a connoisseur Lanier was amongst the first to recognise the importance of drawings as artworks in their own right, collecting them on his travels both for himself and on behalf of discerning patrons such as Lord Arundel. He is also credited with stamping the drawings with distinctive star-shaped marks, apparently using differently-shaped stars to indicate different collectors (although the precise significance of these stars still presents something of an art historical problem). 8 Soon after the outbreak of the Civil War in 1642 Lanier followed the king and court to Oxford, where he painted a rather sombre self-portrait reflecting the spirit of the times (fig.25). By 1645 he had left England for mainland Europe, although over the next fifteen years he travelled on several occasions to and from home on special licence, in the capacity of an art dealer and collector. He was present on six occasions at the celebrated sale of ‘the late king’s goods’ (1649-50) and for £10 bought his own portrait by Van Dyck. He followed the exiled court of Charles II to its various temporary homes in Paris, Cologne, Brussels and Bruges, and continued to provide music for it. At the Restoration in 1660 Lanier was immediately re-instated in his old post as Master of



the Musick, despite advancing age and infirmity. Our last glimpse of him is at another of Samuel Pepys’ parties (fig.4), on 3 January 1666, though what part he took in that cheerful event is not related. He died a few weeks later, and his funeral took place on 24 February at East Greenwich. Today this great figure in the world of English seventeenth century music and art has no known grave and no memorial, but he lives on in his music, in the legacy of his connoisseurship, and in his portraits, not least – we believe - in this striking image of 1613.

4 John Hayls Samuel Pepys 1666

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© National Portrait Gallery, London


5 George Geldorp William Cecil, 2nd Earl of Salisbury 1626 Š Reproduced courtesy of the Marquess of Salisbury


A U N I Q U E A N D C O M P E L L I N G I M AG E ~ S i r R o y S t r o n g


ICHOLAS LANIER 1 was twenty-five when he decided, for the very first time, to have his portrait painted sometime during the calendar year 1613 (the date on the panel), which then ran from 25 March 1613 to 24 March 1614. Sitting for his portrait was to become something of a fixation for Lanier, for we are looking at the features of a man who was to sit for Van Dyck,William Dobson, Jan Lievens, Guido Reni and possibly even Rembrandt, as well as leaving us with a feeble self-portrait. Each picture reflects an obsession with self-fashioning and the fact that one of them was engraved shows that he wished his image to be multiplied (fig.22). All of those encounters lay ahead in the months spanning 1613 to 1614 when he was as yet quite low in the pecking order of Jacobean England. The buoyant, handsome young man we see here plucking his lute and singing for posterity was not as yet Master of the King’s Musick, nor the connoisseur-companion of kings, someone who was to help fashion one of history’s greatest art collections. Instead he was only one of a small body of musicians in the service of William Cecil, 2nd Earl of Salisbury (fig.5) with an annual salary of £20 a year. The portrait, however, is a monument to aspirations, and one which fully demands contributions from a wide range of the scholars who during the last few years have re-drawn the cultural landscape of Jacobean England. Inevitably their standpoints will sometimes be at odds, although all unite in recognising this to be a quite extraordinary visual document. Nicholas Lanier had joined the Cecil household in 1605 at the age of sixteen as an apprentice in the musical establishment of the 2nd Earl’s father, Robert Cecil (fig.1), chief minister of James I and the man above every other who had achieved the smooth accession of the king to the English throne in 1603. 2 Two years later Lanier graduated to being a fully qualified singer and player of the viol, lute and flute. He was also tutor in music to the young lord in whose service he now was and indeed continued to be until well into the year 1614. However, it was precisely during this period that this clearly ambitious young man began to impinge upon a wider consciousness. On 27 December 1613 he played the female role of ‘Eternity’ in Thomas Campion’s Somerset Masque, staged in honour of the marriage of Frances Howard to Robert Carr, the recently created Earl of Somerset (fig.43). In it he wore ‘a long blue taffeta robe, and on her head a crown.’ From this description we gather that he must have shaved off his moustache for the occasion. Although the text of the song, ‘Bring away this sacred tree’, was by Campion, both the music and its performance were by Lanier. Two other songs in the masque, composed by Giovanni Coperario, were also sung by him.3 We do not know how Lanier became involved but the bride was Lord Salisbury’s sister-in-law. The designer, whose sets proved to be a disaster, was an architect who had been in the service of Prince Henry, Constantino de’Servi, a Florentine polymath from the court of the Grand Duke of Tuscany.4 Things Italianate were much in the air, cultivated as they had been by the late Prince and, although, on his death in November 1612, the household had fragmented, fascination with all that had been and was being achieved in the arts in Italy continued. That did not only affect architecture but all the other visual arts and music. In the case of the latter the Master of Musick in the Cecil household was Coperario, the great exponent of, and composer for, the viol. He had been in Italy in the 1590s and Italianised his surname, Cooper, on return. Another Florentine had been a member of the Prince’s household, Angelo de’Notari, who was to dedicate his Prime Musiche Nuove to the newly ennobled Earl of Somerset that autumn (fig.50).5 All were advocates of the musical revolution which was to result eventually in opera. Lanier, who


1. For Lanier see Michael I. Wilson, Nicholas Lanier. Master of the King’s Musick. Scolar Press, 1994; Susan E. James, ‘Nicholas Lanier. A Greenwich Notable’, Journal of the Greenwich Historical Society, n.d., I, pp. 50-60, ii, pp. 81-8. 2. Lynn Hulse, ‘The Musical Patronage of Robert Cecil, First Earl of Salisbury (1563-1613)’, Journal of the Royal Musical Association, 116, no.i, 1991, pp. 24-40. 3. See Peter Walls below. 4. Roy Strong, Henry, Prince of Wales and England’s Lost Renaissance, London, 1986, pp. 95-6. 5. Ibid., p 173.


had travelled in Italy with the young lord, also belonged to this group who espoused the new recitative style of the Florentine camerata in its quest to revive the music of the Ancient Greeks. As the succeeding chapters demonstrate, all of these strands and others besides find their place in this unique and compelling image in which Lanier deliberately presents himself as the renaissance musician in his guise as vates and poet attended by attributes articulating his interest in music, painting, sculpture and, by implication, classical antiquities. Here he is recorded singing to the lute, his lips parted, his eyes turned forcefully towards the onlooker. The wall behind him is marbled and on it hang two sparkling pictures, one by the younger Steenwyck depicting The Liberation of St Paul and the other presenting us with a bearded painter at work in his studio, someone who, like the main sitter, turns his face to engage the onlooker. In the case of that vignette the technical evidence suggests it could, and as equally could not be, by the painter of the actual portrait. Lanier belonged to a family which was part of that network of foreign professionals which provided the Tudor and early Stuart courts with several generations of musicians, composers, painters and miniaturists.6 His grandfather was another Nicholas, a Huguenot, a French court musician who had come to England in the 1560s and who was to die only the year before this portrait was painted. His son, John, a sackbut player at court, was, in 1585, to marry Frances Galliardello, daughter of another musician in royal service. Nicholas the Younger was born in the year of the Armada and a sister, Judith, followed two years later. In September 1613, the date of the picture, she was to marry Edward Norgate, author of Miniatura, that treatise which described the art of limning as practised by Nicholas Hilliard and Isaac Oliver. Surely her brother would have been present and contributed to the merry making? 7


Isaac Oliver Self-portrait c.1590 © National Portrait Gallery, London 7

Isaac Oliver Henry Prince of Wales c.1610 © Fitzwilliam Museum, University of Cambridge/ The Bridgeman Art Library

That alliance provides us with yet another clue, for Norgate refers to Isaac Oliver (fig.6) as ‘my deare Cozen’. Norgate would have fitted easily into that circle of interconnected artistic families for he was an organist of distinction as well as a limner and shared with his brother-in-law, Nicholas, a passionate interest in the visual arts. The cousinage of the two could only have come through the Lanier family for both families came from Rouen .8 What exactly that link was remains unknown and probably predates the arrival of the families in England but it must have been close. The Laniers were already part of the network of musicians which dominated the court but the connexion with the Olivers brought them into contact with the two main portrait painters of the day. Isaac Oliver married as his second wife in 1602 Sara Gheeraerts, daughter of Marcus Gheeraerts the Elder, thereby becoming the brother-in-law of Marcus the Younger, the painter most patronised by the Queen, Anne of Denmark. He, in his turn, had married in 1590 Magdalen de Critz, step-mother of John de Critz, the Sergeant Painter.9 Of these the only painter to travel extensively abroad and who was cognisant with some of the achievements of late mannerist painters was Oliver . 10 Although it cannot be proved,



Oliver is surely the missing link who explains the advent of Nicholas Lanier, a man who was endowed with what we call an eye and who was to acquire a taste for collecting drawings, something completely new in Jacobean England. All the evidence indicates that Oliver was in France and the Netherlands in the 1570s and early 1580s. We know that he was in Venice in 1596 and evidence that he may have been aware of an altarpiece Rubens painted in Rome in 1609 indicates that he could have been in Italy again then. From the 1580s onwards Oliver was to produce a steady stream of drawings, often highly finished ones, works of art in their own right. They reveal, as I wrote, ‘someone probably trained in France, who practises drawing from the life, who knows about linear and aeriel perspective, who has been in direct contact with the work of artists at the Valois court and who can start from a premise that a drawing can be a work of art in its own right, an idea which was not referred to in England until well into the first decade of the next century.’ As early as the 1430s Alberti had recognised a drawing could be a work of art in its own right but it was not until 1606 that Henry Peacham in his Arte of Drawing presented it as a skill worthy of cultivating by the aspiring classes in England. Oliver would have been surely the person who opened the eyes of his young cousin Lanier. Vertue records a visual testament to their relationship which was in the collection of James II: ‘two heads in one Frame in limning one Lanier the other Isaac Oliver. 11 Oliver, unlike Hilliard, did drawings preparatory to his miniatures.Vertue records seeing a sketchbook full of them, including ones of the Queen and the Countess of Arundel.12 But in the context of the year of the Lanier portrait, 1613, there is a further twist because in December 1612, only months before this picture was painted, in the funeral procession of Prince Henry (fig.7), Isaac Oliver walked as his ‘paynter’ and a Mark Bilford as his limner. So far Oliver has been written out of large-scale Jacobean portraiture but his oil paintings were known to Vertue. He saw a group of them which had descended, along with a large collection of Oliver’s subject drawings, to the painter Theodore Russell whose son, Anthony, was Vertue’s informant.‘Isaac Oliver the Limner certainly painted in Oyl very well’, he wrote. He goes on to describe a subject picture of John the Baptist, the model being a gardener:

‘… the face apeard to be a man of 50 years Old. Painted certainly from the Life for the face & hands were tinctur’d with the sun as most Labouring men are.The body of a paler & Clearer colouring. The drapery well folded the Landskip & sky not so well finiosh’d – the face painted with a pointed pencil, the hair curiously neat the Eys nose & mouth firmly drawn. & the whole head for strength of Colouring, light and shade. Of great force highly and perfectly finisht equal I think to any of those Masters of that time of day. The hands well drawn & the whole in a great manner ‘tho wanting the Sublime…’ 13


6. For which see Mary Edmond, ‘Limners and Picturemakers’, Walpole Society, XVII, 1978-80, pp. 63-224. 7. Ibid., pp. 77-8. 8. Ibid., loc.cit. 9. Ibid., p.90. 10. For Oliver see Roy Strong, The English Renaissance Miniature, London, 1983, pp. 142-85; Jill Fensten, Isaac Oliver, Garland Publications, 1981; Mary Edmond, Hilliard and Oliver. The lives and works of two great miniaturists, London, 1983; Roy Strong and V. J. Murrell, Artists of the Tudor Court. The Portrait Miniature Rediscovered 1520-1620 (Exh. cat., Victoria & Albert Museum, London,z 1983), London, 1983, pp. 97-116. 11. Roy Strong, The English Renaissance Miniature, p. 197 note 16. 12. Ibid., p.151.


Vertue bought the picture but goes on to praise a Holy Family by Oliver at length and, later, a self-portrait of the artist, which he saw in 1716 and along with it a miniature selfportrait.14 Could our portrait be Oliver’s portrayal of another dear cousin? The technique may be Northern European but the contents of the picture’s surface, like the oval portrait on the easel, could only ever be English. Katherine Ara’s comment that the highlight at the end of the sitter’s nose was put in ‘with the precision of a miniaturist’ is suggestive.

8 Isaac Oliver The Adoration of the Magi after c.1596 © The Trustees of the British Museum, London

8a Detail of the statuette

The Lanier portrait sits well into the extraordinary gallery of works which Oliver produced during this period which are so variable and innovative, among them the portrait of his third wife, Elizabeth Harding, which suggests he knew the early work of Frans Hals, the astonishing Madonna and Child in Glory which it is difficult to explain without a recent visit to Rome, the puzzling Head of Christ executed entirely in stipple and the extraordinary miniature of Diana dated 1615 executed in gouache on cambric and with a stylistic pedigree stretching back to Goltzius and Spranger. Further, a portrait such as this of Lanier was not cheap, arguably beyond the modest means of a household musician but fully explicable in terms of family kinship.



All of this cannot remove the fact that there are no certain oil paintings by Oliver known today. All we have is Vertue’s response to what he saw and it is difficult to imagine what an oil portrait by him might have been like. There is, however, one thing in the portrait which can be related to the Oliver oeuvre and that is the elegant elongated figure of Antinous.This is a late mannerist interpretation of the human figure which sits well with what we see in Isaac Oliver’s drawings. One of the magi in an Adoration composition by him after 1596 shows a parallel treatment of the male figure, a perennial elongation along with strong chiaroscuro casting one side of the figure into heavy shadow (fig.8). Oliver had also acted as an agent for the acquisition of paintings for the Prince’s collection, most of which were Netherlandish and which again would suggest that he travelled.These included a group whose focus was the new art of single-point perspective. The nearest we get to what those were is an entry for a picture in the gallery at St James’s Palace in Van der Dort’s catalogue of Charles I’s collection:‘A Perspective Peece of Stenwick being in it a large Church’.15 Such a picture, as the essays below flesh out, were instances of a new way of looking at the world, one in which the scenery designs of Inigo Jones for the court masques were to have such an important role in popularising. In this way the portrait is not only a statement on the musical revolution embodied in the stile recitativo but equally on the visual revolution which was taking place. What we see should be set into the context of the icon tradition of Elizabethan England, living on at the time in the work of Robert Peake, John de Critz and, to a lesser degree, Marcus Gheearerts. Nothing could emphasise the revolutionary nature of Lanier’s portrait more vividly than placing it side by side with the two full-length portraits of the Earls of Dorset painted in the same year by that sunset master of the icon, William Larkin (fig.9). But that is not quite the end of the story. The two framed pictures at the top right sit uneasily in the composition, as though they were afterthoughts added during the painting. And the conservation evidence points that way too, for parallel vertical lines in the area indicate that the plan originally was for some kind of opening, a window perhaps.This must have been abandoned sometime during the painting by the decision to include the oval picture by Steenwyck which fits the least awkwardly on the picture’s surface. Then must have followed the artist’s self-portrait tucked in the corner, only just missing impinging on the lute. The context into which these two small paintings fit is surely the tradition of the album amicorum, a format hugely popular in intellectual and artistic immigrant circles moving between London and the Low Countries during these decades. Emmanuel van Meteren, the historian, kept one which is now in the Bodleian Library, Oxford.16 It is typical of the genre, one in which his friends ranging from the likes of the painters Lucas de Heere and Hendrik Goltzius to the geographer Ortelius and the Antwerp engraver and print-dealer, Philip Galle, drew some scene or emblem on a page. And that is surely what is indicated here. Steenwyck contributes as a friend of the artist, and so does the unknown painter at his easel. In the case of Steenwyck, it probably indicates that he was in England sometime in 161314,but what about the painter? He sits at an easel on which rests an oval portrait of a young man with an open-necked shirt. Oval-shaped portraits are peculiarly English and must have evolved from the miniature. Oliver depicts just such a gallant consumed in the flames of passion. Actual ovals or rectangles containing a painted oval became a well-known Jacobean and early Caroline portrait format. So our painter must be English, or rather


13. Ibid., p. 174. 14. Ibid., loc.cit. 15. Roy Strong, Henry, Prince of Wales and England’s Lost Renaissance, London, 1986, p. 192. 16. Frances A. Yates, The Valois Tapestries, London, pp. 27-28.




working in England. He turns his head towards the onlooker revealing a moustache and a fairly substantial beard. Who is he? One possibility would be that it is Isaac Oliver. We have three likenesses of him, two self-portrait miniatures from the 1590s (fig.6) and the third an engraving by Hendrik Goltzius, which, judging from the dress, goes back to a portrait in the Jacobean period.17 Attractive although it would be, Oliver’s facial hair was never as substantial as the artist at our easel, being largely constrained to a moustache and lip-tuft. A more likely candidate is Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, who was Isaac Oliver’s brother-in-law by his first marriage. The engraving of Gheeraerts by Wenceslas Hollar (fig.10) is after a self-portrait of 1627 and the moustache and beard would certainly fit, although such an identification can never arise above the speculative. The political and social tapestry of the months 1613 into 1614 should not be ignored either. This was a period which witnessed the ever-ascending rise of the king’s favourite, Robert Carr.The letters of John Chamberlain, always an irresistible read, tell the story of a royal


9 William Larkin Richard Sackville, 3rd Earl of Dorset 1613 Suffolk Collection, Kenwood House © English Heritage Photo Library

10 Wenceslaus Hollar Marcus Gheeraerts 1644 © The Trustees of the British Museum, London

10a The portrat of an artist that is within the portrait of Nicholas Lanier


11 Nicholas Lanier Letter to Dudley Carelton February 1613 (SP 14/72 f 120) Š The National Archives, UK



obsession. In April the king ‘still did take more delight in his companie and conversation then in any mans living’.18 By then Carr had fallen in love with the notorious Frances Howard, the new Lord Salisbury’s sister-in-law.The summer months are full of nothing but the saga of her divorce from the Earl of Essex, achieved only by the king’s intervention in October. Meanwhile he had had Carr’s chief adviser, Sir Thomas Overbury, consigned to The Tower where he died ‘of the poxe or somewhat worse’.19 Just how much worse was not to be revealed until 1615. Meanwhile, the ascent of the couple (fig.43), with lands and offices being showered on Carr who was made Earl of Somerset, culminated in the great marriage in which Lanier was to play an acting and singing role. Somerset was to display a taste for Venetian pictures and a passion for music and those who had lost their patron on the death of the Prince began to turn their attention to this ascending star. One of them was the musician, Angelo Notari, who dedicated to Somerset his Prime nuove musiche in the autumn (fig.50). It is difficult not to speculate that the ambitious Lanier might well have turned his attention too towards Somerset.The death of the old Lord Salisbury had hit him hard, for the son was no match for the father. In February 1613, only weeks before the period when the portrait was painted Lanier had written to Dudley Carleton in The Hague: ‘Only this I must let your Lord know, that to me the world simes so much altered, since the death of my good Master, that I scarse know which is the more dangerous attempt, eyther to turne Courtier, or Cloune’ (fig.11).20 In this portrait he is recorded at a pivotal point in his career in which two paths stretched ahead of him. History tells us the one he chose to tread.

✻ ✻ ✻ ✻


17. A. M. Hind, Engraving in England in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries, Part II, The Reign of James I, Oxford, 1955, pp. 398-99. 18. The Letters of John Chamberlain, ed. N. E. McClure, Philadelphia, 1939, I, p. 444. 19. Ibid., p.478. 20. PRO SP14/72 f. 65v; CSP Domestic 1611-18, Lanier to Carleton February 1612/13. 20. PRO SP14/72 f. 65v; CSP Domestic 1611-18, Lanier to Carleton February 1612/13.







a b c d e f c


Anglo-Flemish School 1613 William Dobson Nicholas Lanier Guido Reni Lucas Vorsterman after Jan Lievens Sir Anthony van Dyck

I C O N O G R A P H Y A N D AT T R I B U T I O N ~ D u n c a n T h o m s o n


ne of the more extraordinary aspects of the life of Nicholas Lanier is the sheer number of portraits that were made of him, often by artists of the highest accomplishment. Foremost among them, of course, is the great three-quarter length by Anthony van Dyck, now in Vienna.1 That he should have been portrayed on so many occasions cannot simply be a reflection of his social role, a musician and singer with easy access to Jacobean Court circles, an intimate of Charles I in the matter of picture collecting and, of course, ‘Master of the King’s Music’. This plethora of portraits, of which that painted in 1613, and the subject of this book, is the earliest, is in marked contrast to the paucity of images of other outstanding figures in the culture of his age – Shakespeare, John Donne, Ben Jonson and William Drummond among the writers, for example.

The explanation for this startling fact may lie in the aspirations that he himself had to be a painter. It is not known how he trained, but he clearly became a reasonably accomplished artist as his late self-portrait in Oxford attests – where his musicianship and his dedication to painting are given near equal emphasis (fig.25). His love of the visual arts is further emphasised by what must have been an intense concern with the actual making of visual imagery, manifest in the collection of artists’ drawings that he built up during his lifetime, so that he was one of the earliest collectors of such things – something that in later times became almost a rage. In addition to these factors, however, it might be guessed that Lanier had something of an addiction to his own appearance, a belief that he represented the canons of male beauty. That he had sufficient grounds for such an obsession is borne out by the images that have survived (and there may have been others). Although someone in Lanier’s position – a commercial one, where he had to promote the value of his own abilities – would have seen the obvious advantages of these reminders of his own existence, it also seems probable that he had a deep-rooted attachment to his own physical presence. In psychological terms this is not necessarily belied by what is otherwise known of his quite modest demeanour. The earliest manifestation, and in many ways the most complex of the series of images of Lanier is the portrait painted in 1613,2 when he was twenty-five years of age and working for Lord Salisbury. It was followed about a dozen years later by a drawing in black and red chalk by the Bolognese painter, Guido Reni (fig.21), which must have been made, probably in Reni’s home town, in the three years following June 1625 when Lanier set off for Italy to negotiate the purchase of works of art from the Duke of Mantua’s collection for Charles I. The precise nature of the circumstances surrounding the meeting between Lanier and Reni are not known but Susan E. James, who identified the formerly unidentified subject of the drawing as Lanier, has adduced both musical and familial links 3 – links which were presumably also activated by Lanier’s marked disposition to have his portrait made which has already been mentioned. The identification of the drawing as Lanier was made on the basis of detailed physiognomic comparisons with the three portraits that at that time were, with a whole range of evidence, accepted as images of Lanier – an engraving by Lucas Vorsterman after a lost portrait by Jan Lievens (fig.22), the Van Dyck in Vienna (fig.11) and the Oxford self-portrait of the early 1640s which, though a relatively provincial image, has the distinct advantage of containing meticulously recorded physiognomic information that enabled precise comparisons with the drawing to be made. However, if any residual doubts had remained about the identity


1. Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, oil on canvas, 111 x 8.76 cm. Inv. no. 501. There is a chalk study for the painting in the National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh, inv. no. D 1846. 2. The Weiss Gallery, London, oil on canvas (previously transferred from panel), 92.6 x 73.5 cm. Bought at Christie’s, London, 8 July 2009, lot 187. 3. Susan E James, ‘Reni’s drawing of Nicholas Lanier’, Apollo, October 1996, pp. 14-18. She prophetically remarks that ‘There may be other, as yet unknown, portraits of Lanier still to be discovered.’


of Reni’s subject, they would have been resoundingly swept aside by the 1613 portrait if it had been known at the time. The degree of consonance between the heads in the two images is so extraordinary that the full-face drawing could easily be imagined (and, of course, only imagined) as a preliminary study for the painting – though the degree of aging between the two (Lanier’s hair is a little less luxuriant) is subtly marked by Reni.

4. See Susan J. Barnes, Nora de Poorter, Oliver Millar and Horst Vey, Van Dyck: A Complete Catalogue, New Haven and London, 2004, p. 321 (III.92, entry by Horst Vey). 5. O. Millar, ed., ‘Abraham van der Doort’s Catalogue of the Collections of Charles I’, Walpole Society, vol. XXXVI, 1960, p. 7. 6. ‘Vertue Notebooks’, vol. IV, Walpole Society, vol.XXIV, Oxford, 1936, pp. 168-9. Vertue is quoting from a notebook kept by Charles Beale, husband of the painter Mary Beale. Lely called on the Beales on 20 April 1672 to view Mary’s works and his remarks on Van Dyck’s working methods, as told to him by Lanier, were made to Charles Beale. 7. See Henry Hymans, Lucas Vorsterman, 1595-1675, et son oeuvre gravé, Amsterdam (reprint), 1972, p. 172. Hymans notes that there are four states which may imply that Lanier took a direct interest in the making of the engraving and that it contains features different from the lost painting. 8. Susan James (see footnote 3) appears to take seriously the proposal made by André Hevesey in ‘Rembrandt and Nicholas Lanier’, Burlington Magazine, vol. LXIX, 1936, pp. 153-4, that a portrait of a male musician attributed to Rembrandt in the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, is actually of Nicholas Lanier.There is, in fact, little or no resemblance to Lanier. 9. See Malcolm Rogers, William Dobson 1611-1646, exh. cat., National Portrait Gallery, London1983/4, pp. 88-90 (no. 46). Rogers remarks that the portrait ‘appears to embody some dramatic situation in which Dobson is protected from Lanier by Cotterell … [not] a real quarel … [but] a conventional philosophical debate in which the artist, placed between two opposites, is asked to choose.’

The portrait by Van Dyck in Vienna was identified as Lanier in 1936 and there are no cogent reasons to doubt this and many to support it.4 The identification was originally made on the basis of a convincing comparison with an engraving by Lucas Vorsterman after a portrait by Jan Lievens (fig.22). The facial features are strikingly alike and, less tangibly, there is a marked similarity in the way in which the sitter so emphatically imposes himself on the artist (and viewer) whether by gaze or the dictates made by the emphatic gesture of his hand in each case – aspects of an agenda which are also so important in the 1613 portrait.That Van Dyck painted Lanier is, of course, well documented (fig.12). Such a portrait is recorded in Abraham van der Doort’s inventory of Charles I’s collections of 1639, noting that it was painted ‘Beyond the Seas’ 5 – which leaves open the question whether it was painted in Italy in the years 1625 to 1628 when Van Dyck and Lanier were both there – perhaps coinciding in Genoa – or in Antwerp in 1628 when subject and artist were present in that city. In addition, there is a record by Sir Peter Lely of a description he was given by Lanier of the actual process of the making of the portrait. Lanier had told Lely that he sat to Van Dyck over seven consecutive days, both morning and afternoon – ‘so often & so long’, and was not shown the result until Van Dyck ‘had perfectly finisht the face to his own satisfaction’.6 This is a description perfectly in keeping with what is one of Van Dyck’s most intensely focused, highly wrought portraits, where every mark on the canvas is from his own hand. Lely (or perhaps Vertue) goes on to remark that when the result was shown by Lanier to Charles I, the latter determined that Van Dyck should be invited to England. Lanier presumably then gave the portrait to the king – though, ever conscious of his own image, he retrieved it at the sale of the king’s goods in 1649. The portrait by Jan Lievens, now only known through Vorsterman’s engraving,7 is likely to have been painted during the 1630s, perhaps shortly after Lievens and Rembrandt ceased sharing a studio in Leiden. In these years Lievens appears to have been more highly regarded than his great compatriot and the portrait is again a rich example of what Susan James has called Lanier’s ‘penchant for having his own likeness drawn by fashionable artists’.8 Like the Van Dyck, it is fiercely focused and hints at an exceptionally close relationship between the artist and Lanier who must have chosen to be portrayed clasping his staff with a supremely elegant hand, a broad-brimmed hat held against his midriff and a fur drape encompassing his doublet. As middle age approached, Lanier would make two final appearances in the imagery of his time. In the early 1640s, as the realm lurched towards disintegration, he appeared in a triple portrait by William Dobson (fig.14), virtually ‘a conversation piece’, along with Sir Charles Cotterell and the artist himself, a native English painter of real distinction, whose short career is always associated with the flight of the king from London.9 The programme for such a painting must necessarily have been quite different from the singular images, but the painting’s precise purpose remains unclear. Curiously, although Dobson is centrally placed and is the only man of the trio who engages the viewer, Lanier takes



12 Sir Anthony van Dyck Nicholas Lanier 1628 Š Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

13 Sir Anthony van Dyck Study for the portrait of Nicholas Lanier 1628 Š National Gallery of Scotland



14 William Dobson Portrait of the Artist with Sir Charles Cotterell and Nicholas Lanier c.1644 Š Photographic Survey, The Courtauld Institute of Art, London. Private Collection

15 Abraham van Blijenberch Robert Kerr, 1st Earl of Ancram 1618 Š The Marquess of Lothian



up virtually the whole of the left half of the picture and appears to push the other two aside with a marvellously grandiloquent gesture of his left arm terminating in a beautifully turned hand at the bottom edge of the painting. As in the portrait of 1613 there is a classical allusion, with Lanier leaning his right arm on a bust of Apollo. Here the sheet of music of the earlier painting has been replaced by an old master drawing clutched between the fingers of Lanier’s left hand. However, the musical theme reappears in the self-portrait that Lanier painted perhaps a year or two later, a portrait with a marked self-valedictory air.10 In a way it reiterates some of the themes of the 1613 portrait, particularly the arts of music and painting, but this time with the ominous addition of death. Its sense of looking back on a long life of achievement is underscored by repeating the Van Dyckian form of a crumbling wall, or perhaps a cliff-face, from which a few leafy shoots grow, with a glimpse of a distant, elegiac landscape beyond the sitter. Strangely, what it does not recall is any of the sophistication of the major artists who had made Lanier’s likeness in the past, for it is in essence a provincial portrait – Lanier, despite the vast range of his cultural reach had never become more than a very ordinary painter. Taken together, these two very different depictions of the same man, in the portrait of 1613 wildly conscious of his own promise, in the late self-portrait placidly accepting his coming end, can be seen as an extended paradigm of youth and age spanning more than thirty years. As it happens, Lanier’s end was not nigh for he lived on until 1666. While Lanier’s self-portrait is bland and conventional, the portrait of 1613 is fresh and innovative to an extraordinary degree. Only around 1600 did such portraits of poets, writers, musicians – what a later age would call the intelligentsia – become a social possibility and it is against this background of quite isolated examples, such as the portrait of John Donne now in the National Portrait Gallery, which the poet left in his will to the Scottish nobleman, the Earl of Ancram (fig.15), or the portrait of 1599 believed to represent Michael Drayton, that the aesthetic aspects of the portrait of Lanier have to be judged.11 Though the portrait of Donne has its own compelling qualities, it is essentially naive in artistic terms, plainly English and ‘provincial’ if placed in a European context. The Drayton too, and the handful of other portraits of this type are all unmistakably English, with only hints of a knowledge of how continental painters would tackle such subjects, gleaned from the Netherlandish painters usually working for the higher echelons of society in London or else native painters who rubbed shoulders with that immigrant community. The portrait of Lanier is by comparison far more sophisticated, its untrammelled approach to the matter of defining a personality much more ‘modern,’ far from the ‘iconic’ stiffness of the English portrait of this time, and it is this sense of a living engagement that impels the need to attempt to define – or even identify – the artist. An immediate and lasting


10. The Faculty of Music, University of Oxford, oil on canvas, 66 x 58.5 cm. See Oliver Millar, The Age of Charles I. Painting in England 1620-1649, exh. cat., Tate Gallery, London, 1972, p. 95 (no. 150), who records the words on the sheet of music: ‘…thus at last wee must reduced/be to naked boanes and dust’. 11. The portraits of Donne and Drayton are discussed in Tarnya Cooper, et al., Searching for Shakespeare, exh. cat., National Portrait Gallery, London, and Yale Centre for British Art, New Haven, 2006, pp. 175-8 (nos. 80 and 81).


16 Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger Tom Derry, Jester to Anne of Denmark 1614 © Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh

17 Abraham van Blijenberch William Herbert, 3rd Earl of Pembroke 1617 Powis Castle, The Powis Collection (The National Trust) © NTPL

impression is that there is an ‘Antwerpian’, even Rubensian, feeling about the figure of Lanier, particularly the flesh areas of face, arm and hands. A settled painter working in the Netherlandish tradition like Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger was sensitive to such things, as portraits like his full-length Captain Thomas Lee or the little oval portrait of Tom Derry (fig.16) (which has some of the compelling oddity of the Lanier) demonstrate,12 but there is not the same sense of blood flowing within the flesh as a direct expression of the way the paint itself is applied. On the other hand, despite these suggestions of a continental manner, there is in what can be termed the narrative, or iconological aspects of the portrait, something which is essentially English and which raises the question of who, working in London in these years, could combine these qualities. It is argued not unconvincingly by Roy Strong elsewhere in this book that such a figure might be the miniaturist Isaac Oliver. Oliver, a painter of immense sophistication, is known to have painted life-size portraits, but unfortunately none are known to survive, so that their appearance can only be guessed at. One other painter, however, does match the required criteria – a manner brought from Antwerp but combining with a strong



infusion of Englishness – and that is Abraham van Blijenberch. There appears to be no other painter of the period who fits this description, but he presents two immediate problems. The first is that he is not recorded in England until 1617, and the second is that the style of the handful of portraits associated with him (only two are signed) is not entirely consistent. On the first of these two issues, it is far from impossible that he might have been in England at an earlier date – and the evidence of Hendrick van Steenwyck the Younger’s hand, signature and the date 1613 in the little nocturnal painting within Lanier’s portrait, shows that the records of immigration cannot be considered watertight, for the earliest known record of Steenwyck’s appearance in England is also 1617. The second issue involves an adequate definition of Blijenberch’s style. His two signed portraits, both three-quarter lengths, are of noblemen firmly lodged in the cultivated circles of the time: Robert Kerr, 1st Earl of Ancram (fig.15)13 and William Herbert, 3rd Earl


12. The portraits of Lee and Derry are discussed in Karen Hearn, ed., et al., Dynasties. Painting in Tudor and Jacobean England 1530-1630, exh. cat., Tate Gallery, London, 1995/6, p. 176 and pp.194-5 respectively (nos. 120 and 131). 13. Collection of the Marquess of Lothian. See Oliver Millar (footnote 10), p. 20 (no. 14) who records the signature as ‘A V blijenberch’. It is in fact in the form ‘A V [joined] blyenbach’.


of Pembroke (fig.17).14 Pembroke, whose portrait is dated 1617, was a central figure in Jacobean affairs, an important collector of paintings and, of course, one of the two Herbert brothers to whom the first folio of Shakespeare’s plays was dedicated in 1623. Ancram, his portrait dated a year after Pembroke’s, was less central, an intimate of John Donne, who bequeathed to him the portrait discussed above, and best known now perhaps as the first person to import a painting by Rembrandt into Britain. Both portraits have a finely measured sense of space, the rather angular hands carefully placed and contributing significantly to the aura of the painting – something that is a marked feature of the portrait of Lanier. Although it might stem simply from fashion, there seems to be a distinct concentration on the vagaries of brushed back hair, especially in the Ancram.The head of Ancram is much more smoothly modelled compared to the freer, more open and emphatic handling of the paint in Pembroke’s face which is closer to a true Flemish, or Antwerp, manner.This is a stylistic inconsistency within two works signed by the same artist which might be taken as a warning about looking for absolute consistency within the works of artists who inevitably had assistants working in their studio.

18 Abraham van Blijenberch Ben Jonson c.1617 © National Portrait Gallery, London


Attributed to Abraham van Blijenberch William Drummond of Hawthornden 1612 © Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh

The broken, expressive use of paint and its rich manipulation within Pembroke’s head, but not in Ancram’s, relate quite readily to the only other portrait long associated with Blijenberch, the head and shoulders portrait of Ben Jonson (fig.18) in the National Portrait Gallery.15 There is an astonishing muscular vigour and sense of pulsating fleshiness about Jonson’s face, particularly in the forehead where each little declivity and variation of colour and tone is pursued with an intensity almost worthy of a Lucien Freud. Again, these are qualities that occur in Lanier’s right arm where bone, blood vessels and flesh are pursued as much for their own sake as being simply the means of eliciting the sounds that emanate from the musician’s lute. Another remarkable feature of the portrait of Jonson, something again surprisingly ‘modern’, is the careful tracing of cast shadows – the quiff of hair projected onto Jonson’s forehead, the deep shadows around both eyes, the nose and, most tellingly, on the lower lip which has equal areas brightly lit and in pronounced shadow. In the Lanier there is a similar concern to accurately record the vagaries of cast shadows – the shadow lying within the palm of the left hand which continues along the wrist and into the sleeve of the musician’s shirt, as well as those that help to describe the action of the right arm against the lute.



The problem of the inconsistencies within Blijenberch’s more or less certain works is compounded by the two other portraits associated with his name, a portrait of An unknown gentleman on panel (on the London art market in 1978) 16 and the portrait of the poet and friend of Ben Jonson, William Drummond, also on panel and dated 1612 (fig.19).17 These two portraits are certainly by the same hand, one that is free and open to a remarkable degree and stylistically well in advance of anything that was being painted in England at this time, if the date on Drummond is correct – and there is no reason to doubt it. Curiously, although they are quite closely in tune with the stylistic characteristics of the portrait of the Earl of Pembroke of 1617 and with the Ben Jonson, the painterly manner of the portraits of the unknown gentleman and of Drummond could actually be considered more advanced, more essentially ‘modern’ than the signed portraits. All of this seems to posit a painter who was unusually adaptable, painting in a continental manner when circumstances allowed it but also sensitive to local expectations when the occasion arose. It is certainly a mode of working that the portrait of Lanier echoes in so many ways, a portrait so unusual and of such quality that no other comparable works of this period come easily to mind.

✻ ✻ ✻ ✻


14. The Powis Collection (TheNational Trust). See Karen Hearn (footnote 12), pp. 204-6 (no. 138), where the form of the artist’s name is recorded as Abraham/Van Blijenberch’. 15. See Tarnya Cooper (footnote 11), p. 180 (no. 83, entry by Catharine Macleod). 16. Location unknown. Sold at Sotheby’s, London, 13 December 1978, lot 262; oil on panel, 62.2 x 50 cm. 17. Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh, oil on panel, 60.4 x 48.5 cm. Inv. no. PG 1096. See A Companion Guide to the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh 1999, p. 31; and also Tarnya Cooper (footnote 11), p. 179, who remarks that if the painting is by Blijenberch ‘it is not clear where Drummond would have met the painter’. This is certainly a difficulty, but short visits to London from Scotland even in the early seventeenth century were no great problem – and Drummond was already a seasoned traveller by 1612 when the portrait was painted. Is it possible that he made such a visit to coincide with his first published work, Teares on the Death of Meliades, on the death of Prince Henry in 1612?


20 Sir Nathaniel Bacon Self-portrait c.1620 Š Private Collection/ The Bridgeman Art Library


C O N N O I S S E U R S H I P O F T H E A RT S ~ J e r e m y Wo o d


uthorship of the newly-identified likeness of Nicholas Lanier is the subject of much discussion in the present book, but I propose to concentrate on what it tells us about Lanier’s connoisseurship of the arts, taking into account the portrait’s date of 1613. Lanier was a relatively young man at that time, but, although his dealings with famous artists and years of travelling abroad lay ahead, the portrait is a sophisticated visual statement in the context of British art, significantly pre-dating Sir Nathaniel Bacon’s Self-Portrait of around 1620 in a private collection (fig.20),1 a work that reveals Bacon as a man of learning, seated at a table covered with books, examining a drawing and with two of his palettes hanging on the wall in the background. Both portraits belong to a tradition in European art that informs the spectator about the intellectual and artistic attainments of the person depicted, usually by showing him or her with books, works of art, and, in a few cases, musical instruments. As will be argued below in more detail, we are shown visual evidence of three of Lanier’s many accomplishments in the portrait of 1613. But, in the present context, we need to focus on his knowledge of European painting because the portrait was made not long after his first recorded travels in Italy of 1610-11, when he could have seen sixteenth century images of virtuosi – of the kind mentioned briefly above – that inform the conception of this work. His later status as an art expert is shown by the authority that Charles I gave him to purchase the Mantuan collection through the agency of Daniel Nys,2 and the royal warrant issued in August 1628, shortly after the arrival of the Mantuan pictures in London, that required him – together with Inigo Jones – ‘to cause a p[re]sent Inventory to be made of all his M[ajestie]s Pictures Statues and Meddalls of mettall and Stone’, unfortunately now untraced.3 Not least, Lanier was also a pioneer collector of Italian drawings,4 although, perhaps surprisingly, there is no hint of this in the newly-identified portrait.

The portrait of 1613 throws new light on the dating and identification of a chalk drawing of a man’s head by the famous Bolognese master Guido Reni, now in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (fig. 21),5 that Susan James published in 1996 as a likeness of Lanier.6 She placed this drawing around 1625-6 when Lanier had returned to Italy with the intention of exporting a sizeable group of paintings from Rome – many by contemporary Italian masters – for Charles I’s collection.7 Daniel Nys left a vivid pen description of Lanier at this time going around ‘buying the earth with his well-lined purse’.8 Contact between Lanier and Reni seems possible at this date, but it is worth considering whether they met for the first time more than a decade earlier in 1610-11 when Lanier is thought to have accompanied William Cecil, Viscount Cranborne and later 2nd Earl of Salisbury (1591-1668), on a trip to Italy,9 shortly before he commissioned the newly-discovered portrait. James’s identification of the man in Reni’s drawing as Lanier seemed tenuous before the emergence of the portrait under discussion, but the similarity between the two suggests that the drawing is earlier in date than she thought and it now emerges as a more convincing likeness of Lanier. Abraham van der Doort, who was Keeper of Charles I’s Cabinet Room at St. James’s and a Groom of the Privy Chamber, recorded that the king bought a Saint Peter by Reni from Lanier, a work that was displayed in the Adam and Eve Stairs Room at Whitehall,10 and that may still be identifiable with a canvas in the


1. See Karen Hearn in Dynasties. Painting in Tudor and Jacobean England 1530-1630, ed. Karen Hearn (exh. cat. The Tate Gallery, London, 1995-1996), London, 1995, p. 222, no. 149, repr., with further references. 2. The literature on this topic is now extensive, but see Lucy Whitaker, ‘L’accoglienza della collezione Gonzaga in Inghilterra’ in Gonzaga. La Celeste Galeria. L’esercizio del collezionismo (exh. cat. Palazzo Te and Palazzo Ducale, Mantua, 2002), Milan, 2002, pp. 233-249, with further references. The bulk of the documents are in W. Noël Sainsbury, Original Unpublished Papers illustrative of the Life of Sir Peter Paul Rubens as an Artist and Diplomatist preserved in H.M. State Paper Office, London, 1859, pp. 320-340. 3. As described in National Archives, London, PRO Signet Office 3/9 (August 1628). 4. The most complete discussion of this aspect of Lanier’s activity is Jeremy Wood, ‘Nicholas Lanier (1588-1666) and the Origins of drawings collecting in Stuart England’, Collecting Prints and Drawings in Europe, c.1500-1750, ed. Christopher Baker, Caroline Elam, and Genevieve Warwick, Aldershot and Burlington, Vermont, 2003, pp. 85-121. 5. Red and black chalk on gray paper; 41.91 x 29.21 cm. Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Gift of the 1993 Committee (AC 1993.21.1). 6. Susan E. James, ‘Reni’s Drawing of Nicholas Lanier. A recent discovery at LACMA’, Apollo, CXLIV, October 1996, pp. 14-18. 7. For this enterprise, see Antonio Bertolotti, ‘Esportazione di oggetti di belle arti da Roma per l’Inghilterra’, Archivio Storico Artistico e Letterario della Città e provincia di Roma, IV, anno VI, fascicolo II, March-April 1880, pp. 74-90; and idem, ‘Relazioni di Inglesi col Governo pontificio raccolti negli Archivi romani’, Giornale Araldico, XV, nos 7-8, 1888, p. 13. 8. Daniel Nys to Alessandro Striggi, 2 August 1625: ‘Va vederlo il mondo con sua borsa ben fornita’; Alessandro Luzio, La Galleria dei Gonzaga venduta all’ Inghilterra nel 1627-28. Documenti degli archivi di Mantova e Londra raccolta ed illustrata, Milan, 1913, p. 137. The translation is from Ian Spink, ‘Lanier in Italy’, Music and Letters, XL, 1959, p. 243. 9. For a summary of Cranborne’s travels, see Edward Chaney, The Evolution of the Grand Tour. Anglo-Italian Cultural Relations since the Renaissance, London and Portland, Oregon, 1998, p. 208. The problems raised when tracing Lanier’s movements at this time are discussed further below. 10. ‘Item the Picture being onelye a head of St Peetr Bought by ye kinge of Mr Nicholas Laneere uppon a Strayning frame. [Done by Gui=do Bullones in margin]’; Oliver Millar, ‘Abraham van der Doort’s Catalogue of the Collection of Charles I’, Walpole Society, XXXVII, 1958-60, p. 10.


Royal Collection.11 Lanier could have bought paintings by contemporary Italian masters from intermediaries in Italy but he is more likely to have gone direct to the studios of the artists themselves, particularly given that he was proud of his connoisseurship and determined to buy the best for his royal employer. But Reni was not in Rome in 1626, only returning there briefly in the following year.12 As the Saint Peter is not mentioned in the consignment it may have been bought during one of Lanier’s other trips to Italy, perhaps even the one of 1610-11,13 although it was probably not sold to Prince Charles as early as that. Lanier’s personal contact with Reni is supported by the survival of a beautiful drawing of a woman’s head by the Bolognese master, now in the Royal Library, Windsor Castle,14 that is marked with the eight-pointed star (Lugt 2885) associated with Lanier’s ownership.15 It seems that Lanier met Reni, persuaded him to make a portrait study in coloured chalk (somewhat in the manner of Ottavio Leoni) and at the same time extracted a ‘good parcel of waste paper drawings, that had been collected, but not much esteemed’ as part of the bargain for a larger purchase of paintings, a procedure vividly described by Roger North some years later.16

21 Guido Reni Nicholas Lanier c.1626-30 © 2009 Digital Image Museum Associates/LACMA/ Art Resource NY/Scala, Florence

22 Lucas Vorsterman, after Jan Lievens Nicholas Lanier c.1632 © V&A Images/Victoria & Albert Museum, London

Reni was not a man to make portrait drawings for their own sake, so either Lanier made a great impression upon him or there was talk of Reni painting Lanier’s portrait, a work that is otherwise unrecorded. If this was the plan it suggests that, as early as 1610-11, Lanier was interested in having his face recorded for posterity by the best living artists. Alternatively, it is certain that Lanier had his portrait painted while in Italy in 1625-26 because it is listed among the works that he exported from Rome, although, unfortunately the artist is not recorded.17 During the next two decades, Lanier was to commission painted portraits from Anthony van Dyck (in 1628),18 Jacob Jordaens,19 and Jan Lievens (around 1632-35),20 as well as an engraving by Lucas Vorsterman (fig. 22).21 The print is inscribed ‘Ioannes Lijvijus pinxit’ and so recorded a painting that was almost certainly made while Lievens was in London in the early to mid-1630s. Lanier would have had this copied, presumably in a drawing, which was sent to Vorsterman in Antwerp,22 where he had returned from London in 1630, and where it was published by Martinus van den Enden (1605-1673) and subsequently by Franciscus van den Wijngaerde (1614-1679).23 The decision to have the engraving issued is clear evidence that Lanier was concerned to advance his contemporary reputation and to secure it for posterity. This was ambitious for a man of relatively modest means and points to some personal vanity, as well as pride, although the latter was surely justified by his achievements.



As early as 1610, when travelling abroad, Lanier could well have been captivated by seeing Italian portraits that showed artists, connoisseurs, or other virtuosi, holding or looking at small pieces of sculpture and accompanied by other attributes of the arts. While some of these paintings were by contemporary masters, many more were sixteenth century in origin and had been made by artists active in North Italy, more specifically in Venice and the Veneto. But identifying which works could have been known to Lanier is not straightforward. From a modern perspective, outstanding examples are provided by Lorenzo Lotto’s Andrea Odoni dated 1527, now at Hampton Court;24 Giovani Battista Moroni’s Alessandro Vittoria, now in the Kunsthistorisches Museum,Vienna,25 which has been dated between 1552 and 1562;Titian’s Jacopo Strada of 1567-8, now also in Vienna (fig.40),26 and Paolo Veronese’s Alessandro Vittoria in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (fig. 23), of around 1570,27 amongst others. In all of these, however, the sitter grasps a small sculpture in his hand, and it is being touched so that it is not just an object positioned on a table to be looked at, as in the portrait of Lanier under discussion, nor


11. Inv. no. 143. Michael Levey, The Later Italian Pictures in the Collection of Her Majesty the Queen, Cambridge, 1991, pp. 128-9, no. 588, repr. pl. 241 (as ‘Style of Reni’). 12. For Reni’s whereabouts at this time, see D. Stephen Pepper, ‘Guido Reni in Bologna, 1625-1635’ in Guido Reni 1575-1642 (exh. cat. Pinacoteca Nazionale, Bologna, 1988; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1988-9; Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, 1989), Los Angeles and Bologna, 1988, pp. 254-6. 13. Reni was in Rome from 1601 to 1614. However, in May 1612 he decided to return to Bologna where he remained the following year, only returning to Rome briefly in 1614. 14. Inv. no. 3,196. Red and black chalk, 31.1 x 24.2 cm. See Otto Kurz, Bolognese Drawings of the XVII and XVIII Centuries in the Collection of Her Majesty the Queen at Windsor Castle, London, 1955, p. 126, no. 376, repr. fig. 83. In addition, see Veronika Birke, Guido Reni. Zeichnungen (exh. cat. Graphische Sammlung Albertina, Vienna, 1981), Vienna, 1981, p. 103, no. 67. A dating for this drawing in the 1610s is probable. 15. See Wood (as in note 4 above), p. 115. 16. Augustus Jessopp, ed., The Autobiography of the Hon. Roger North, London, 1887, p. 202. 17. Among the pictures exported were ‘3 ritratti di diverse donne in tela con retratto di detto Sig. Nicolò tutti di pittori moderni’; see Bertolotti 1880 (as in note 7 above), p. 77. Since the list otherwise identifies the works by ‘fiamminghi’, it seems this was by an Italian (and therefore not Van Dyck). 18. Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum. Inv. no. GG 501. Michael Wilson has claimed that this portrait was painted in Genoa during the autumn of 1625 (Michael I. Wilson, Nicholas Lanier. Master of the King’s Musick, Aldershot and Brookfield, Vermont, 1994, p. 96), an assertion repeated elswhere in the present book, but this opinion has been ignored or rejected by subsequent Scolar, most notably Horst Vey in Susan J. Barnes, Nora De Poorter, Oliver Millar and Horst Vey, Van Dyck. A Complete Catalogue of the Paintings, New Haven and London, 2004, p. 321, no. III.92. The Vienna canvas does not have the rough texture and brownish ground favoured by Van Dyck when working in Genoa and Rome. Van Dyck was quarantined in Palermo until September 1625. 19. Bellori recorded that Van Dyck painted ‘Nicolò Lanieri pittore e sembianza di Davide che suona l’arpa avanti Saule’; see Giovanni Pietro Bellori, Le vite de’ pittori, scultori e architetti moderni, 1672, ed. Evelina Borea, Turin, 1976, p. 281. The problem of the detailed and yet unreliable account of Van Dyck’s work in England provided by this early biographer is too complex to be discussed in full here. However, the survival of a portrait of Lanier as David playing the Harp in the Musée de l’Hôtel Sandelin at St-Omer, plausibly by Jordaens, suggests that Bellori was right about the subject if not about the artist. 20. Now lost. See Hans Schneider, Jan Lievens. Sein Leben und seine Werke, Haarlem, 1932, pp. 196-7, no. Z.61.


23 Paolo Veronese Alessandro Vittoria c.1570 © The Metropolitan Museum of Art/ Art Resource/Scala, Florence

24 Bartolomeo Passarotti Portrait of a man playing the lute 1576 © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Bequest of Mrs. William de Forest Thomson. Photograph © 2010 Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

25 Nicholas Lanier Self-portrait c.1644 © Faculty of Music Collection, Oxford University/The Bridgeman Art Library

do any of these works include a musician or a musical instrument. More up-to-date comparisons are Bartolomeo Passarotti’s Portrait of a Man playing the Lute dated 1576 in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (fig. 24),28 and Annibale Carracci’s Portrait of a Man playing the Lute (Giulio Mascheroni?) in the Gemäldegalerie, Dresden, datable around 1593 to 1594.29 In these cases, though, there are no pieces of sculpture included. The focus is on the man making music and the score in front of him (which is also legible to the spectator). Nevertheless, the idea behind Lanier’s portrait is Italian in origin, and he appears to have instructed a Northern artist who may never have travelled south to combine two distinct types of earlier portrait: the musician and the connoisseur. The most prominent of Lanier’s talents - as revealed in the portrait - is music, understandably enough. This is demonstrated by the lute that he plays and the inscription on the little piece of paper (discussed by Benjamin Hebbert elsewhere in this book) that lies on the table in front of him.The second aspect of his virtuosity is his interest in sculpture, as revealed by the small version of a famous Praxitelean statue of Mercury (often identified as Antinous) placed on the table to the right. However, although it seems likely that this statuette was once in Lanier’s possession, its exact status and meaning is open to debate. If a small bronze, it was an artefact of some value and tells us about his taste as a collector. If a plaster, wax or clay reduction, it was virtually worthless except as an object of study. In some of the earliest images of artists’ studios, such as AgostinoVeneziano’s famous engraving of Baccio Bandinelli’s Roman academy dated 1511, miniature figures are indeed being handed round among the students,30 although it is impossible to tell whether they are made of plaster, wax or clay, or, indeed, painted and gessoed wood. By the seventeenth century it is more usual to find artists studying fragmentary bodies:



decapitated heads, severed limbs and dismembered hands and feet, all clearly plaster casts taken from famous sculptures. Lanier’s statuette is not unambiguously a plaster - as suggested elsewhere in this book - and has a slightly metallic sheen unlike the dazzling whiteness found, for example, in Michael Sweert’s depictions of young artists diligently studying the antique.31 But, if the object was recorded with the same precision given to the lute, this patination could have been false. In short, the statuette is presented to us less as the raw material of a workshop or academy and more as an object of virtue. As a result, we need to ask what it meant to Lanier, since there is no hint that he have might have drawn from it, even though he was an amateur artist of some ability.The conclusion seems to be that this object should be understood less as a reference to the practice of art, or to Antinous as an historical personage (the face is virtually unreadable), and more as a general allusion to Lanier’s knowledge of the arts of Italy, both ancient and modern. The third aspect of Lanier’s virtuosity in his portrait is his knowledge of painting itself, as shown by the two framed works on the wall at upper right. One of these was contributed by Hendrick van Steenwyck the Younger (c.1580- before 1649) as we know from the signature and date which suggest it was added as an afterthought, since he was surely not responsible for the portrait itself.The other framed picture represents an artist before his easel, painting a portrait, and therefore in the act of making a work of art, a parallel of sorts to Lanier’s performance on the lute in the foreground. This is an elegant visual allusion to the larger depiction of Lanier within which it is contained and at which we look. It follows that this becomes reality and the picture within the picture is the illusion, itself containing another visual fiction on the easel. Roy Strong argues in the introduction to this book that this subordinate image was added by the artist responsible for the


21. Vorsterman’s print was made at Lanier’s request to record the portrait by Lievens (see note 20 above); Henri Hymans, Lucas Vorsterman. Catalogue raisonné de son Oeuvre précédé d’une notice sur la vie et les ouvrages du maître, Brussels, 1893, pp. 172-3, no. 174. 22. As noted by Stephanie S. Dickey, ‘Jan Lievens and Printmaking’ in Arthur K. Wheelock, Jr., et al, Jan Lievens. A Dutch Master Rediscovered (exh. cat. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 2008-9; Milwaukee Art Museum, 2009; Rembrandthuis, Amsterdam, 2009), New Haven and London, 2008, p. 61. 23. For Van den Enden and Van den Wijngaerde, see Erik Duverger and Danielle Maufort in Carl Depauw and Ger Luijten, et al, Anthony van Dyck as a Printmaker (exh. cat. Museum Plantin-Moretus/ Stedelijk Prentenkabinet, Antwerp, 1999; Rijksprentenkabinet, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, 1999-2000), New York, 1999, pp. 370-71, 390. 24. See John Shearman, The Early Italian Pictures in the Collection of Her Majesty the Queen, Cambridge, 1983, pp. 144-8, no. 143, repr. pl. 127. 25. See Mina Gregori, Giovani Battista Moroni. Tutte le Opere (I pittori Bergamaschi), Bergamo, 1979, pp. 308-9, no. 204, repr. p. 328. 26. For basic details, see Harold E. Wethey, The Paintings of Titian. Complete Edition, II: The Portraits, London, 1971, pp. 141-2, no. 100, repr. pl. 206. For a more recent discussion of this portrait in its Venetian context, see Jérémie Koering, ‘L’art en personne(s)’, and Jacopo et Ottavio Strada par Titien et Tintoret’, in Vincent Delieuvin and Jean Habert, eds. Titien, Tintoret, Véronèse...Rivalités à Venise (exh. cat. Musée du Louvre, Paris 2009-10) pp. 178-198, 200-213. 27. Inv. no. 46.31. See Terisio Pignatti, Veronese, 2 vols, Venice, 1976, I, p. 154, no. 277, repr. II, fig. 621, as Portrait of a Sculptor; and Terisio Pignatti and Filippo Pedrocco, Veronese. Catalogo completo dei dipinti, Florence, 1991, p. 280, no. 208, repr. 28. Acc. no. 48.55. Inscribed ‘ANNO IVBILLEI BON/ M D LXXVI’. 29. See Donald Posner, Annibale Carracci. A Study in the Reform of Italian Painting around 1590 (National Gallery of Art: Kress Foundation Studies in the History of European Art, V), 2 vols, London, II, p. 32, no. 76, repr.; and , in particular, Alessandro Brogi in Annibale Carracci, ed. Daniele Benati and Eugenio Riccòmini (exh. cat. Museo Civico Archeologico, Bologna, 2006-7; DART Chiostro del Bramante, Rome, 2007), Milan, 2006, pp. 264-5, no. V.15. 30. See, for example, Cynthia E. Roman, ‘Academic Ideals of Art Education’ in Children of Mercury. The Education of Artists in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries (exh. cat. Bell Art Gallery, List Art Center, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, 1984), Rhode Island,1984, pp. 81-95, where the Agostino Veneziano engraving is discussed and illustrated.


rest of the work and is his own self-portrait, which, it could be argued, is therefore a visual signature to set alongside Steenwyck’s inscribed one. However, the two subordinate pictures seem attached to the surface of the larger work rather than being integrated within it, as if they were last-minute additions by different hands. Should we assume that the simplified profile of the bearded artist seated at the easel is intended as a likeness at all? Generic representations of artists at work were frequently included in Antwerp cabinet pictures around this date, in particular the imaginary picture galleries and allegories of the arts that will be discussed below and that have some parallels with the present work. On the other hand, the oval canvas on which the artist is at work is turned towards the spectator so deliberately, and the head is so legible, that it is surely meant to be identified. Is this another member of the Lanier family, perhaps Jerome, his uncle who was also an art lover and collector, and is it even possible that Nicholas, who is known to have been a competent painter and etcher, added this charming but slightly awkward subordinate image? If so, the large portrait under discussion contains a small demonstration of his own accomplishment as a painter. This would not be surprising, given that he painted his own self-portrait, now in the Music School of the University of Oxford (fig. 25), in which he holds a palette and brushes in his hands.32

26 Hendrik Goltzius Mercury 1611 © Frans Hals Museum, Haarlem, on long trem loan from the Netherlands Institute of Cultural Heritage, Rijswijk/Amsterdam

27 Roman, 1st century AD Farnese Hermes © The Trustees of the British Museum, London

Lanier would not have been alone had he believed that the sculpture in front of him represented Antinous,33 since it related to a famous work that had been in the Vatican Belvedere with this identification for almost a century,34 but, from an early date, knowledge of this prototype was complicated by the emergence of a second version that passed from the Sassi family to the Farnese in 1546, and is now in the British Museum, London (fig. 27).35 It is far more like Lanier’s statuette than the Vatican sculpture, having a similarly shaped tree trunk and posed right arm; but, on the other hand, it differed in showing the figure with winged sandals, holding a caduceus in his proper left hand and therefore unambiguously as Mercury. It follows that Lanier could have identified the statuette in his possession correctly as representing this god, often associated with trade and commerce (appropriate to Lanier the art dealer), but also with the patronage and even practice of art, as in Hendrik Goltzius’s life-size painting currently in the Frans Hals Museum, Haarlem (fig. 26).36 Here Mercury is shown as a painter with a palette and brushes in one hand and his caduceus – which playfully serves as his maulstick – in the other. This work is dated 1611, strikingly close to the portrait under discussion, although it is not known whether Lanier visited Haarlem or met Goltzius. Contact with Balthazar Gerbier could have made this easier than might



be assumed. Gerbier was probably known to Lanier before his arrival in London around 1617 and in 1618 he wrote a eulogy to Goltzius, the Eer ende Claght Dicht: Ter Eeren van den lofweerdighen constrijcken ende Gheleerden Hendricis Goltius, published in 1620.37 At any rate, if we take Northern sources into account rather than the Italian ones discussed so far, it is interesting that Nathaniel Bacon included a version of Goltzius’s engraving of Juno as a framed painting in the background of his Self-portrait (fig.20),38 but transformed her into Minerva as patroness of the arts by replacing her crown with a helmet. Lanier would have known this and other prints by Goltzius, including his famous engraved portrait of a celebrated contemporary musician, freethinker and artist, Dirck Volckertsz. Coornhert (fig. 28),39 which, although a bust-length placed in a niche (and so different in format from the portrait under discussion), has a fictive frame that is festooned with objects that allude to the subject’s attainments: an engraver’s plate and palette and brushes that commemorate his work as an artist, foils and daggers that refer to his swordsmanship, books and pens that demonstrate his literary prowess, and, not least, a large viola da gamba and a less-prominent lute that allude to his musicianship.40


31. For a brief discussion of the role of sculpture in Sweert’s work, with further references, see Peter Sutton in Guido Jansen and Peter C. Sutton, Michael Sweerts (1618-1664) (exh. cat. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam; Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco; Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, 2002), Zwolle, 2002, pp. 18-20, and, more specifically, Thomas Döring, ‘Belebte Skulpturen bei Michael Sweerts. Zur Rezeptionsgeschichte eines vergessenen pseudo-Antiken Ausdruckskopfer’, WallrafRichartz-Jahrbuch, LV, 1994, pp. 55-83. 32. The portrait is inscribed ‘Made & paynted by Nich. Lanier’. See [Lionel Cust], Catalogue of a Loan Collection of Portraits of English Historical Personages who died between 1625 and 1714. Exhibited in the Examination Schools, Oxford, April and May, MDCCCCV, Oxford, 1905, p. 46, no. 91; and Rachel Poole, ‘The Oxford Music School and the Collection of Portraits formerly preserved there’, The Musical Antiquary, IV, October 1912-July 1913, p. 149. A more recent discussion by Edward Chaney can be found in The Stuart Portrait. Status and Legacy (exh. cat. Southampton City Art Gallery, 2001), Southampton, 2001, pp. 25-6, no. 9. My thanks to Professor Chaney for this reference. Interestingly, a sheet of music inscribed with a canon of Lanier’s own composition is placed prominently in the foreground of his self-portrait. 33. For a recent discussion of the portraiture of Antinous, see Caroline Vout, ‘Biography as Fantasy, History as Image’ in Antinous: The Face of the Antique (exh. cat. Henry Moore Institute, Leeds, 2006), Leeds, 2006, pp. 23-39, with further references. 34. This statue may have been obtained by Leo X in the early sixteenth century, although according to the discussion in Francis Haskell and Nicholas Penny, Taste and the Antique. The Lure of Classical Sculpture, 1500-1900, New Haven and London, 1981, pp. 141-3, no. 4, repr. fig. 73, it was first recorded in 1545. 35. For both Vatican and Farnese versions see Phyllis Pray Bober & Ruth Rubinstein, Renaissance Artists and Classical Sculpture. A Handbook of Sources, London, 1986, p. 58, no. 10, repr., with further references. 36. For a discussion see Lawrence W. Nichols in Hendrick Goltzius (1558-1617). Drawings, Prints and Paintings, ed. Huigen Leeflang and Ger Luijten (exh. cat. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, 2003; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2003; The Toledo Museum of Art, 2003-4), Zwolle, 2003, pp. 290-3, no. 106.I, repr., with further references. 37. See David Freedberg, ‘Fame,Convention and Insight: On the Relevance of Fornenbergh and Gerbier’ in Papers Presented at the International Rubens Symposium, April 14-16, 1982, The Ringling Museum of Art Journal, 1983, pp. 240-5. 38. For this engraving, see Otto Hirschmann, Verzeichnis des graphischen Werks von Hendrick Goltzius 1558-1617, Leipzig, 1921, p. 57, no. 141. To my knowledge, Bacon’s use of this print as model has not been observed before now, and it was wrongly claimed by Karen Hearn (as in note 1), p. 222, under no. 149, that this image recalled ‘a Parmigianinesque drawing by Oliver in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford’.


28 Hendrik Goltzius Dirck Volckertsz. Coornhert c.1591 © The Trustees of the British Museum, London

29 Frans Francken the Younger Pictura, Poesis and Musica in a Pronkkamer 1636 © Private Collection/ Jonny van Haeften Ltd., London/ The Bridgeman Art Library

As already noted, Steenwyck placed a signature and date of 1613 on the picture within a picture that he contributed to Lanier’s portrait. This miniature version records one of his most familiar subjects, The Liberation of Saint Peter from Prison, and the date not only raises the question of Lanier’s whereabouts in that year but also Steenwyck’s. Steenwyck is generally said not to have arrived in London until November 1617, where he remained until 1638. It was his skill as a painter of perspective that was much admired by the British, and his work remained in fashion from the later years of James I ‘s reign into that of Charles I.41 Should the date when he first came to London now be put back or did Lanier make an otherwise unrecorded visit to Antwerp in 1613? Several different accounts of Lanier’s whereabouts at this time have been proposed in recent years, but, at the very least, it is clear that he was travelling abroad during this period. On 9 April 1610, Viscount Cranborne wrote from Paris to his father, Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury, asking that Lanier accompany him to Italy.42 Cranborne returned to London in June but set out for Italy later in the year, arriving in Venice that October.43 On 17 February 1611 [N.S.], a warrant was issued paying Lanier £20 for carrying letters to Venice,44 presumably retrospectively. It has recently been stated as fact that Lanier was in Italy from 1611 to February 1613, remaining behind when Cranborne returned to



England.45 A more cautious view that Lanier travelled to Italy with Cranborne in 1610, returning by February 1611,46 is supported by the exchange of letters between Cranborne and his father and the payment mentioned above. Whichever view is adopted, it would be reasonable to assume that Lanier stopped in Antwerp on the way home, whether in 1611 or 1613, when he could have had his portrait painted. Pictures within pictures are not absolutely unknown in British sixteenth-century portraiture, as can be seen from Hans Eworth’s famous Mary Neville, Baroness Dacre of about 1555-8 in the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, 47 but they are rare, and in that instance both the main portrait and the subsidiary one were painted by the same artist. The idea that another artist might contribute a self-contained image within a work seems a phenomenon of Antwerp painting in the early seventeenth century. The most relevant models are found not in portraiture but in the new genre of imaginary picture galleries generally thought to have been invented by Jan Brueghel the Elder (15681625) and Frans Francken II (1581-1642) around 1610.48 These works have been called preziosenwände or ‘walls of treasures’. In some cases, as is well known, the fictive paintings record works that can be traced back to Antwerp collections.49 But others are entirely new inventions – though often loosely based on well-known prototypes – and they were contributed by a number of different specialists who worked alongside each other so that the final work became an anthology of all their talents. Examples of particularly high status were the two paintings of the Five Senses, now lost, ‘on which twelve of the best masters of this city [Antwerp] have worked’ that were bought from Jan Brueghel the Elder and presented to the Archduke Albert and the Archduchess Isabella in 1618.50 In the present context, some of the most suggestive examples of this new type of Antwerp subject include an artist who is usually shown working at an easel, often placed near a table covered with small-scale sculpture, prints, coins, or natural rarities, and with


39. See Hirschmann (as in note 38 above), pp. 75-7, no. 180. 40. See the discussion in Clifford S. Ackley, Printmaking in the Age of Rembrandt (exh. cat. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1980-81; The Saint Louis Art Museum, 1981), Boston, 1981, pp. 9-11, no. 5, repr. 41. For this topic, see Christopher White, The Later Flemish Pictures in the Collection of Her Majesty the Queen, London, 2007, pp. 19, 293-304. 42. See the verbatim transcripts of Cranborne’s letters to his father provided in Michael Wilson (as in note 18 above), p. 19. These supplement the otherwise valuable summary in G. Dyfnallt Owen, Calendar of the Manuscripts of the most honourable the Marquess of Salisbury... preserved at Hatfield House, Hertfordshire, XXI (1609-1612), London, 1970, p. 212. 43. For the return to London, see G. Dyfnallt Owen, ‘William Cecil, second earl of Salisbury’ in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online edition, January 2008, article/37272, accessed 22 November 2009). For the itinerary of his travels that Cranborne recorded in French see Dyfnallt Owen (as in note 42 above), pp. 259-244. 44. See PRO, E 351/543, m 249r: ‘To Nycholas Laneer vppon like warrante dated xvijo ffebruarij 1610 [O.S.] for careinge of lres to Venyce’ 45. Susan E. James, ‘Nicholas Lanier: A Greenwich Notable, Part I (1588-1612),’ Journal of the Greenwich Historical Society, I, no. 2, 1992, p. 57. 46. See Wilson (as in note 18 above), pp. 19-20; and idem, ‘Nicholas Lanier’ in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online edition, January 2008, http://, accessed 16 November 2009). 47. See Roy Strong, The English Icon: Elizabethan and Jacobean Portraiture, London and New York, 1969, p. 101, no. 45, repr., and Susan Foister in Renaissance Faces. Van Eyck to Titian (exh. cat. The National Gallery, London, 2008-9), London, 2008, pp. 202-3, no. 58, repr. 48. See Zirka Zaremba Filipczak, Picturing Art in Antwerp, 1550-1700, Princeton, N.J., 1987, pp. 58-72, and, for a more recent discussion, Ariane van Suchtelen, ‘Room for Art in Seventeenth Century Antwerp: An Introduction’ in A. van Suchtelen & B. van Beneden, Room for Art in Seventeenth Century Antwerp (exh. cat. Rubenshuis, Antwerp, 2009-10; Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis, The Hague, 2010), Zwolle, 2009, pp. 21-27.. 49. See Matiás Díaz Padrón and Mercedes Royo-Villanova, ‘La pintura de gabinetes’ in David Teniers, Jan Brueghel y los Gabinetes de Pinturas (exh. cat. Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1992), Madrid, 1992, pp. 15-27.


30 Nicholas Lanier, after Parmigianino Pittura 1656 Š The Trustees of the British Museum, London



a lutenist seated nearby. A prime example – although it shows the artist as a female personification of Painting – is too late to be a source for the work under discussion: Francken’s Collector’s Cabinet with an Allegory of Painting dated 1636 (fig.29) currently in a private collection,51 but it nonetheless stands for this distinctive Flemish genre that had been established several decades earlier. It follows that Steenwyck’s addition to the portrait under discussion is entirely understandable in terms of contemporary practice in Antwerp, and it was also very up-to-date in 1613 since it was made only a couple of years after the first gallery pictures had appeared on the market. A footnote to Lanier’s interest in the depiction of the art of painting is provided by one of his own etchings that reproduces a drawing by Parmigianino. Parmigianino’s prototype, now whereabouts unknown,52 shows a naked personification of Painting standing in front of a canvas on an easel, brush in one hand, a cornucopia in the other. A careful pen and ink facsimile, now in the British Museum (fig. 30),53 was made for Lanier to use. This drawing has been attributed to Lucas Vorsterman but could be by Lanier himself. It was certainly copied by Lanier in a reversed etching, inscribed ‘Pittura’ and ‘Fran. Par. del’ that he included in his series of reproductive prints, Prove prime fatti a l’acqua/forte da N: Lanier a l’eta/ sua giouenile di/ sessanta otto/ Anni 1656 (‘First proofs made in etching... at his youthful age of sixty-eight’).54 This is the most abstract of any of the images of the art of painting that can be associated with Lanier and his decision to reproduce it himself as a print, and thereby secure it for posterity, suggests something of the meaning that this tiny scrap of paper had for him. Not long after the execution of Charles I in January 1649, Lanier bought back his own portrait by Van Dyck, mentioned above, which was clearly of great importance to him, and acquired two paintings by Giulio Romano from the late king’s collection. One of the Giulios, a Birth of Bacchus is now in the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles,55 and the other, a Jupiter and Semele,56 is untraced. How Lanier viewed these spoils is impossible to gauge. He owed everything to the king, not only his fortunes as a musician but his status as a connoisseur. As we have seen, Lanier’s expertise was developed during his visits to Italy in 1610-11, 1625-6, and, most importantly, 1627-8.The last two of these were undertaken expressly for the king and with the aim of buying works for the royal collection. It was a strange twist of fate that Lanier was to profit from the fall of the monarchy and to see works that he had brought from Mantua to Whitehall – not to mention his own portrait by Van Dyck – moved from the royal palace to hang on his own walls, doubtless not far from the portrait that he had commissioned as a young man in 1613.

✻ ✻ ✻ ✻


50. ‘Twee constige schiljderijn, representerende de Vijff Sinnen, waerinne gevrocht hebben tweelff diversche van de principaelste meesters deser stadt, om geschoncken te worden aen Hare Doorluch-tichste Hoocheden’. See Ariane van Suchtelen in Ann T. Woollett and Ariane van Suchtelen, Rubens and Brueghel. A Working Friendship (exh. cat. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angels, 2006; The Mauritshuis, The Hague, 2006-7), Zwolle, 2006, p. 94. In addition, see Barbara Welzel, ‘Los cuadros de los cinco sentidos de Jan Brueghel como espejo de la cultura de la corte de Alberto e Isabel Clara Eugenia’ in En Arte en la Corte de los Archiduques. Alberto de Austria e Isabel Clara Eugenia (1598-1633). Un Reino Imaginado (exh. cat. Palacio Real, Madrid, 1999-2000), Madrid, 1999, pp. 82-97. 51. Ursula Alice Härting, Studien zur Kabinettbildmalerei des Frans Francken II, 1581- 1642. Ein repräsentativer Werrkkatalog (Studien zur Kunstgeschichte, 21), Hildesheim, Zürich and New York, 1983, no. A279, repr. fig. 93.46. 52. Pen and brown ink; 9.7 x 4.6 cm. Sold Sotheby’s, London, 4 July 1988, lot 10. See Mario di Giampaolo in Sylvie Béguin, Mario di Giampaolo, and Mary Vaccaro, Parmigianino. The Drawings, Turin and London, 2000, p. 204, no. 79, repr. p. 240. 53. Inv. no. Ff. 4-20. Pen and ink; 9.7 x 4.6 cm. See Arthur Ewart Popham, Catalogue of the Drawings of Parmigianino (The Franklin Jasper Walls Lectures, 1969, at the Pierpont Morgan Library), 3 vols, New Haven and London, 1971, I, p. 108, no. 252, repr. pl. 416 (as ‘Parmigianino’). 54. See Wood (as in note 4 above), pp. 106-7, and, in particular, note 112. 55. See Oliver Millar, ‘The Inventories and Valuations of the King’s Goods, 1649-1651,’ Walpole Society, XLIII, 1970-72, p. 64. For the painting itself, see Anon. in Ernst H. Gombrich, Manfredo Tafuri, and Sylvia Ferino Pagden, et al., Giulio Romano (exh. cat. Palazzo Te and Palazzo Ducale, Mantua, 1989), Milan, 1989, p. 440, repr., with further references. 56. ‘A Peece of Jupiter and Seymele of Julio’ bought for £55.


311 The within T Th hee pa ppaintings i tiing in ngss wi with thhin in


T H E PA I N T I N G S W I T H I N ~ T i m W i l k s


hereas the objects on the table – the statuette, and the paper and pen – were always part of both the invenzione and the disegno of the Lanier portrait, the two pictures in the upper right corner (fig. 31) are additions, though they are all but contemporary with the larger painting. One might come to this conclusion from normal viewing alone, as these pictures seem inessential to the composition, but objective confirmation has recently been provided by the technical report, which reveals that both pictures were painted over the background. Cleaning has also made a little more distinct some ruled lines which have been overpainted, apparently marking the stone jamb and cill of a window. It appears, therefore, that a window may have been originally intended for the area where the pictures are now placed, though there are no traces of any other features of this window, or of a view through it. This suggests an abandonment of a design, rather than a later revision, and that at least one of the background pictures was painted immediately after the main portrait.The inclusion of such a window, often yielding a recognisable view, was a standard feature of the more intimate Venetian portraits painted around 1585-1615 and of the Tintoretto studio in particular, and examples brought back by diplomats and travellers during this period inevitably influenced Northern portrait painters and their patrons.1

In other respects, however, the Lanier portrait retains the Venetian formula for the chamber portrait, where the basic elements – half-length sitter in foreground; covered table with objects; window with view – still permitted the inclusion of significant items to confirm the sitter’s individuality. In Rubens’s early work, The Four Philosophers (1611–14), we see the formula exploited to the full (fig.32). 2 Although a certain simplicity and unity of composition was sacrificed when the additions were made to the Lanier portrait, in gaining two extraordinary pictures it became, for its first owner, a far more complex pictorial document, and now, for us, it demonstrates the deeper capacities of the early seventeenth-century portrait. To consider the matter of priority, to the eye it seems that the oval picture was painted first. If we imagine it without its companion, it seems to sit comfortably in the space between the sitter’s head and the right-hand edge of the panel, and we may well believe that when it was being painted the thought had not yet occurred that another picture should sit alongside it.The second picture seems to have been painted after it was noticed that there remained enough space in the top right corner for a further inclusion. When the dimensions of this second picture were drawn, they were made as large as the space allowed, to the extent that its lovingly detailed, ebonised and gilt-lined frame just touches the pegbox of the lute beneath. The oval picture, which is immediately identifiable as The Liberation of St Peter, calls to mind the work of Hendrick van Steenwyck the Younger (c.1580-1649), and close inspection reveals that it is, in fact, an autograph work: signed and dated ‘S...WICK 1613’.3 Within the Lanier portrait, therefore, we have a small version of a subject that Steenwyck seemed to enjoy painting and which never fell out of favour with his clientele, as he is known to have painted more than seventy versions throughout a long career, varying in size, medium, and the details of design.4 This, however, is an unusual instance of Steenwyck having painted a picture within a picture, though he was frequently given


1. During this period, John Chamberlain, Sir Dudley Carleton, Sir Henry Wotton, and Lord Roos are reported as having been painted by Domenico Tintoretto, while the portraits of John Finet and Sir Francis Wenman are extant; according to Ridolfi, Wotton was also painted by Leandro Bassano, see Carlo Ridolfi, Maraviglie dell’arte, overo le vite de gl’illustri pittori veneti, etc., Venice, 1648, II, pp. 168 & 260. No doubt, more Englishmen were painted, not to mention itinerant Dutchmen. 2. Florence, Palazzo Pitti, inv. 85. This work, an imagined conversazione in which Rubens portrays himself with his brother, Philip, Jan van der Wouwer (Waverius), and their teacher, Justus Lipsius, with Seneca (in sculpture) presiding, overcomes problems of time and space to convene a meeting of souls using much the same set of assumptions as to the transcendent potential of the portrait as those which underlie the portrait of Lanier. 3. For Steenwyck the Younger, see Jeremy Howarth, The Steenwyck Family as Masters of Perspective, Tournhout, 2009. Howarth cannot shed light on the precise moments of Steenwyck the Younger from the time of his father’s death in 1603 and 1617. From the latter year comes the first evidence of his presence in London. He would stay until 1617. Of the intervening period, Howarth suggests that he may have remained in Frankfurt ‘for some years’, but that he paid increasingly frequent visits to Antwerp. He certainly collaborated with Jan Breughel as early as 1609, and is known also to have worked with Frans Francken I and II (Howarth, pp. 7-10). The specialised nature of his work made it necessary for him to travel between the principal Flemish and Dutch studios, though we do not know when he first extended his range to London. 4. See Howarth, op. cit., pp. 52–4


work on parts of paintings requiring the architectural ‘perspectives’in which he specialized, which, when completed, would bear the brushwork of two or even three painters. Another perspective, also in an oval frame, appears on the background wall in a portrait of George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham by Daniel Mytens, painted in 1626/27.5

32 Sir Peter Paul Rubens The Four Philosophers c.1611-12 © Palazzo Pitti, Florence, Italy/ Alinari/The Bridgeman Art Library

At what level are we to perceive this work? Steenwyck has given his smallest Liberation of St Peter such wonderfully fine detail and finish that it cannot be categorised on the grounds of indistinctness as a mere representation of a picture, as are those seen in great numbers within Antwerp Kunstkammer paintings; this is a Steenwyck. It would, indeed, be possible (however inadvisable) to excise it from the painting, after which it could stand as an independent work. Such a drastic measure was actually proposed for the Duke of Buckingham by a would-be purchaser during the Commonwealth sales of the collections of Charles I, which says as much about the enduring interest in Steenwyck’s perspectives in the early 1650s as it does about the total disregard for the memory of the once dominant favourite.



In the context of the Lanier portrait, therefore, are we to see Steenwyck’s contribution as, literally, a superficial feature? Certainly, as Sir Roy Strong has observed, the two internal pictures have something of the album amicorum about them, and it is possible to conceive of both pictures adding meaning to that of the Lanier portrait, yet for neither of them to function within it. There are, however, features that suggest that the internal pictures are not to be understood as sitting on the picture plane ‘postage-stamp’ fashion,6 but as hanging on the wall of the chamber. These include a curtain rod, or possibly a picture rail, running above the two internal pictures, evidence of some overpainting of the background that appears to be contemporary with the two pictures, and some veined marbling. Simply stated, the two pictures and the lutenist share the same world. It does not seem credible that Steenwyck would have sold a separate The Liberation of St Peter to Lanier, and then copied it into the larger painting. There would seem little sense in undertaking such effort and expense for a duplicate, and, besides, it would change the larger painting into a portrait of a collector, which, it has been argued, the statuette does not.The remaining possibility, which is to be preferred, is that Steenwyck painted a unique version of The Liberation of St Peter - (his oeuvre suggests an inexhaustible capacity to produce variants of the Apostle’s dungeon escape) - especially for the portrait. The portrait, therefore, purports to show an owned picture, though, in fact, it had no existence beyond the portrait itself. By contributing The Liberation of St Peter, Steenwyck participated in the creation of a simulacrum: a believable yet feigned setting. Realization of this allows the viewer, by means of the painting, to ponder matters of resemblance, reality, and time. Much of the attraction of The Liberation of St Peter for both painter and purchaser lay in the visual potential of its setting. Steenwyck’s skill, both in painting architecture according to the principles of linear perspective and night scenes, enabled him to create an illusion of cavernous space framed by massive columns, vaulted ceilings, and broad flights of stairs, within which small figures enact the drama of the escape – St Peter, having been unshackled by an angel, walks past the sleeping guards to freedom. Pieces of perspective were much sought after in the early years of the seventeenth century and, in England, were still wondered at and admired, as the English were yet to become accustomed to seeing the correct perspective in their paintings, while English painters were still failing to achieve a convincing sense of space in their work. A very small number of works by Steenwyck’s influential forerunner in this genre, Hans Vredeman de Vries, had arrived in England prior to 1613. There may have been at least three examples in the collection of Henry, Prince of Wales, and it is at his court that we find an upsurge of interest in perspective and its underlying mathematical principles.7 Prince Henry’s engineer, Salomon de Caus, published his expensively illustrated treatise, La perspective, for his patron in 1612, and it is not unlikely that Steenwyck, already the most desired provider of perspectives to the Flemish art market, had met de Caus, the renowned theorist-practitioner, while the latter still worked at the grand-ducal court in Brussels.8 A few months before de Caus’s publication, Prince Henry’s painter, Robert Peake, almost in apology for the insular style in which he painted, funded the English translation and publication of Serlio’s First Book of Architecture (London, 1611), while the Prince’s surveyor of works, Inigo Jones, had been introducing the English court to linear perspective with his masque designs since 1605, achieving new standards of architectural


5. Euston Hall, Duke of Grafton; see O. Ter Kuile, ‘Daniel Mytens’, Nederlands Kunsthistorisch Jaarboek, XX (1969), pp. 1-106 (50-1); O. Millar, The Age of Charles I , Tate exhib., London, 1972, no. 22, pp. 26-7. 6. I owe this vivid phrase to Jeremy Wood. 7. On Prince Henry’s court, see Roy Strong, Henry Prince of Wales and England’s Lost Renaissance, London, 1986; Timothy Wilks (ed.), Prince Henry Revived: Image and Exemplarity in Early Modern England, London, 2007. 8. On de Caus and La perspective, see ibid., Alexander Marr, ‘A Duche graver sent for’ : Cornelis Boel, Salomon de Caus, and the production of ‘La perspective avec la raison des ombres et miroirs’, pp. 218-38 ; also Timothy Wilks, ‘Forbear the Heat and Haste of Building’: Rivalries among the Designers at Prince Henry’s Court, 1610-1612’, The Court Historian, 6, 1 (2001), pp. 49-65.


complexity with his settings for Oberon in 1611. Steenwyck’s contribution to the Lanier portrait, therefore, caught the new fascination perfectly. If Prince Henry had lived, Steenwyck might have been induced to begin his permanent residence in England somewhat sooner than he did. However, the drying up of patronage (it should be remembered that the ‘Collector’ Earl of Arundel,Thomas Howard, was also absent from England for much of 1613/1614) denied Steenwyck the opportunity to establish himself in London. Only in late 1617, after the English art market had started to pick up, stimulated by Arundel’s example and by the stirring interest of the new favourite, Buckingham, did Steenwyck move to London and, thereafter, make his particular contribution to the visual re-education of England.The architectural perspective that he provided for Mytens’s, Charles I as Prince of Wales (c.1620), covering one quarter of the large canvas, is an example of his association with another leading London-based Dutch artist that endured for at least seven years, and probably much longer.9 Whereas Mytens eventually fell out of favour with Charles I (eclipsed only by Van Dyck), numerous Steenwycks maintained their place in the collection of a king who would not hesitate to dispose of pictures as his taste became ever more refined.10

9. Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen; see Karen Hearn, Dynasties, exhib. Tate Britain, London, 1995, no. 142, p. 121. 10. See Timothy Wilks, ‘Paying special attention to the adorning of a most beautiful gallery: the pictures in St. James’s Palace, 1609-1649’, The Court Historian, 10, 2, December 2005, pp. 149-72. 11. Rachelle Chiasson-Taylor, ‘Musicians and Intelligence Operations, 1570-1612’, unpublished Ph.D diss. McGill University (2007). Chiasson-Taylor’s thesis that Lanier had a parallel career as an agent is unconvincing. 12. See Richard Gibbings, ‘The Annals of the Inquisition’, The Catholic Layman, VII, no. 73, 15 January 1858, pp. 6-7. 13. See Lynn Hulse, ‘The Musical Patronage of Robert Cecil, First Earl of Salisbury (1563–1612)’, Journal of the Royal Musical Association, CXVI, No. 1 (1991), pp. 24–40. 14. W. N. Sainsbury, Original Unpublished Papers Illustrative of the Life of Sir P. P. Rubens as Artist and Diplomat (London, 1859), p. 322, note 50.

While any early seventeenth-century connoisseur would have appreciated a painting of The Liberation of St Peter by Steenwyck (fig.33) for its technical qualities and sense of drama, for some owners such a subject might also have served as a reminder of an improbable upturn in fortune that had occurred in their lives. One might pause to consider, therefore, whether its story is analogous to any episode in Lanier’s life; had he ever been delivered from any sort of confinement by his own guardian angel? At this point, it becomes necessary to deal with an assertion that Lanier was briefly detained by the Roman Inquisition while accompanying William Cecil, Lord Roos, on his tour of Italy in 1608.11 In a contrast of fortunes, Roos’s tutor, the unfortunate Mr Molle, detained at about the same time, would die in a Roman prison after thirty years’ captivity. This claim would give a very specific significance to the picture, but it must be dismissed, as the arrested individual, reported to be one ‘Lanee’, on deeper investigation proves not to be Lanier but a certain Mr Lane of Ashborne.12 It seems probable that Lanier was never held under lock and key in his life.We would do better to consider how, around the time his portrait was painted, he might have conceived his soul to be enchained, and what, he believed, would set him free. There appear to be some similarities between the message to be derived from The Liberation of St Peter and the epigram inscribed on the paper: ‘VT RElevet MIserum FAtum SOLitosque LAbores’. Both, in their different ways, speak of a release. This, Lanier obtains through devoting all his energies and his mental powers to his music. Not to do so would be to allow his mind to brood on his ‘miserable fate’, which probably meant for him a near-disastrous loss of patronage. Lanier was taken into the household of Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury, as a singing boy at about the age of thirteen, and at the time of Salisbury’s death in May 1612, the Earl was still the only patron Lanier had ever known.13 Lanier, therefore, had grown up in service, but had been a servant of the most privileged kind, given an extremely rare opportunity to devote himself to music within the security of a noble household. Lanier’s commitment to the ‘new music’ and to that Anglicisation of the stile recitativo,



the declamatory ayre, made him the centre of attention when he sang his profound and poignant verses. This, inevitably, drew him into the elite social circle for which he performed. For one such as Lanier, the loss of a great patron would have curtailed regular opportunities to perform in a household setting: to play and sing to one’s patron’s friends and family. Unaccustomed inactivity and an enforced retirement from social intercourse could easily tip a Jacobean gentleman’s mind into melancholy and introspection, a kind of imprisonment of the soul.We know that for many months after Salisbury’s death Lanier was unsure what to do; whether, as he put it, ‘to turne Courtier or Cloune’ (fig.11).14 He mentioned his dilemma in a brief note of remembrance to Sir Dudley Carleton, the English ambassador in Venice, which he pressed upon the returning embassy secretary, Isaac Wake. Lanier had last seen the Carletons when visiting Venice two years previously. Since then, not only had his patron Salisbury died, but Prince Henry also, who in a short space of time had become a munificent patron of the arts.Though the Prince had previously heard him perform, Lanier seems not to have sought his favour in the intervening summer and autumn of 1612, aware, no doubt, that his household already had a full compliment of musicians. The crisis of patronage which followed these deaths was masked for a while by the nuptial celebrations in London of Frederick, Elector Palatine, and Princess Elizabeth, but after their departure for Heidelberg in May 1613, Lanier seems to have found himself in a large pool of under-employed practitioners of the arts.


33 The Liberation of St Peter


Courtiers now presented their suits to James I’s favourite, Robert Carr, Earl of Somerset, while musicians and poets dedicated their works to him. Somerset attempted to do what was expected of him, which, inter alia, was to become England’s new Maecenas, but, had he not been brought down by the Overbury scandal in 1615, his poor intellect and education would probably have prevented him from ever becoming either an inspirational or a discerning patron.15 Did Lanier estimate that his performance amid Somerset’s wedding celebrations at the end of 1613 was so significant for his future that he could think of it as being led out of dark confinement? If so, Lanier’s The Liberation of St Peter may, indeed, be interpreted as a reference to his rescue by a new patron.Yet, for Lanier to celebrate it within this portrait, there remained at most three months (and only if Steenwyck had decided to comply with the English practice of continuing the year until the twenty-fifth day of March). It seems unlikely.16

34 An artist in his studio

The second picture (fig.34) creates worlds within worlds; for it is of an artist, brush and palette in hand, putting the finishing touches to a portrait. The gaze of the sitter in that portrait passes through four worlds separated by three picture planes to meet



our own. More questions of identity arise, as the painter and sitter are undoubtedly individuals known to Lanier. The painter, wearing a ruff of two or three layers, is the model of refinement, the pictor doctus. His dark hair is cropped, with a short fringe and bare ears in the Italian fashion; otherwise, his only distinguishing feature is a long, heavy nose. He is certainly not an old painter, and he is right-handed. The sitter, whom we see only in his portrait, wears, in marked contrast to the formal attire of the gentleman who is painting him, an open shirt: the negligent attire associated with love-madness and also melancholy.17 It was commonly held in the Renaissance and Baroque periods that the former complaint often progressed to the latter. In the poem Diaphantus (1604), for example, the eponymous character, we are told, ‘Puts off his cloathes, his shirt he only wears, Much like mad-Hamlet; only passion teares’. 18 Possibly more relevant to our inquiry, the artist was believed to be susceptible to a kind of melancholy: that of the imagination, and when so afflicted was, again, recognisable by his disordered dress.19 The Lanier portrait is a private portrait, and its concerns are those of identity, not status, and friendships, not hierarchical relationships. These friendships embrace the artists responsible for both the portrait and its internal pictures; indeed, it is hard to account for Steenwyck’s The Liberation of St Peter if not as a gift. The adjacent picture, of portraitist and sitter, may be a similar offering, though it is tempting to consider the possibility that Lanier, whom we know to have been an amateur painter, painted it himself. Its painter clearly took delight in lining the wall shelf with vessels of liquid and books (signifying the erudite artist), and in including the liver-coloured knots of the dealwood easel. As to the identities of portraitist and sitter, if the picture shows an antecedent that the Lanier portrait seeks to emulate, the possibilities are wide and various, going back to the ever exemplary Sir Philip Sidney sitting to Veronese in 1574. It is more probable, however, that the small picture refers to the personalities involved with the larger portrait, connecting the various elements and memorialising Lanier’s inclusion within a painter’s studio fraternity. Despite the difficulties of working on such a small scale, an attempt at a true resemblance of the sitter appears to have been made. We note a thin face, long, unruly hair and, most noticeably, dark eyes with a stare of concentration that might be characteristic of the person. Might this be none other than Steenwyck, whose portrait (fig. 36), showing similar features but in an older man, was drawn by Van Dyck in the early 1630s and later engraved by Paulus Pontius for Van Dyck’s Icones Principum Virorum (Iconographia) series? 20 This would place Steenwyck’s image, appropriately, next to his own work, The Liberation of St Peter. To continue with this hypothesis that the small picture refers only to the context of its larger host, it follows that the painter depicted at his easel is also the painter of the Lanier portrait.This need not imply that the painter of Lanier also painted the second small picture (even though it may contain his own portrait); in other words, the small picture may or may not contain a self-portrait, but whichever is the case, the depicted painter may still represent Lanier’s portraitist.We find ourselves contending with various convoluted, tongue twisting possibilities, which would surely amuse those who were involved in the making of Lanier’s portrait. A musician of Lanier’s sensitivity shared the same transcendent imagination as the best painters and the best poets of the age. Melancholy might have been the price they had to pay for their ability to reach into the metaphysical, but it is this ability to slip easily


15. See Timothy Wilks, ‘The picture collection of Robert Carr, Earl of Somerset (c.1587–1645), reconsidered’, Journal of the History of Collections, 1, no. 2 (1989), pp. 167–77; A. R. Braunmuller, ‘Robert Carr, Earl of Somerset, as collector and patron’, in L. L. Peck (ed.), The Mental World of the Jacobean Court (Cambridge, 1991), pp. 230–50. 16. This was, of course, when the law year began. New Year was certainly celebrated, and gifts given, at the beginning of January. A Dutchman’s calendar, in any case, ran twelve days ahead of an Englishman’s. 17. Raymond Klibansky, Erwin Panofsky, and Fritz Saxl, Saturn and Melancholy (London, 1964), identifies Marsilio Ficino’s De vita triplici (1482–89) as being primarily responsible for this Renaissance conviction. For a more recent discussion, see Douglas Trevor, The Poetics of Melancholy in Early Modern England (Cambridge, 2004); and for the representation of melancholy in portraiture, Roy Strong, The Elizabethan Image. Painting in England 1540–1620 (Tate: London, 1969), VI: ‘Elizabethan and Jacobean Melancholy’, pp. 65-8; The open-shirted young man is found in English portraiture, including miniatures, from the late sixteenth century, e.g., Nicholas Hilliard, Man Against a Flame Background, London, V& A, inv. PS-1917; Nicholas Hilliard, Henry Percy, 9th Earl of Northumberland, c.1595, Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum. 18. ‘An. Sc.’, Diaphantus (1604), (E4v), quoted in Charles Whitney, Early Responses to Renaissance Drama (Cambridge, 2006), p. 145. Whitney suggests that this description is ‘based on memory of performance’ [of Hamlet]. 19. See Ingrid A. Cartwright, ‘Hoe Schilder, Hoe Wilde: Dissolute SelfPortraits in Seventeenth-Century Dutch and Flemish Art’, unpublished PhD diss., University of Maryland, 2007. 20. Anthony van Dyck, Portrait of Hendrick van Steenwyck. Black chalk, brush and grey ink, Frankfurt, Städelsches Kunstinstitut, inv. 791.


35 Sofonisba Anguissola Bernardo Campi c.1550s © Photo Scala, Florence courtesy of the Ministero Beni e Att. Culturali/Siena Pinacoteca Nazionale, Siena

36 Sir Anthony van Dyck Hendrick van Steenwyck the Younger c.1632-1635 Graphische Sammlung, Städel Museum Frankfurt am Main. © U. Edelmann Städel Museum - ARTOTHEK

37 Johann von Aachen Self-portrait with Adrian de Vries and Paulus van Vianen after 1596 © LWL-Landesmuseum für Kunst und Kulturgeschichte Münster/ Sabine Ahlbrand-Dornseif



through one world of their creating into another, and then another, which the modern mind struggles to comprehend, yet envies.21 Artists of the period occasionally created within their portraits planes of reality reserved for themselves, from where they gaze back at the viewer with impunity, sometimes communing with other figures on intermediate or even deeper planes. In the early 1550s, Sofonisba Anguissola painted her friend and mentor, Bernardo Campi, painting her (fig.35) - a self-portrait which misleadingly records another painter’s responsibility for it - or alternatively, a double portrait, half of which claims to paint the other half.22 Closer to the Lanier portrait in time (c.1590) and school, the painter, Johann von Aachen, in a roundel only 10 centimetres wide, turns his head away from the portrait he is completing of the sculptor and painter, Adrian de Vries, to meet the eye of the viewer, while behind, Paulus van Vianen, the goldsmith and medallist, observes from his own framed portrait (fig.37).23 All three friends, artists at the court of the Emperor Rudolf II, somehow overcome their internal separation to look out as a group from the actual painting. Like these paintings, the Lanier portrait, with its inner pictures, is a memorial of fellowship between artists, constructed using the very gifts of imagination that bound them together and set them apart from others.

✻ ✻ ✻ ✻


21. For the icon as not mere representation but a medium to a real presence, see most recently Wilks, Prince Henry Revived, pp. 10-19; also Roy Strong’s definitive study, The English Icon: Elizabethan and Jacobean Portraiture, London, 1969. 22. Siena, Pinacoteca Nazionale. 23. Münster, LWL – Landesmuseum für Kunst und Kulturgeschichte.


38 38 Thee st Th sstatuette atue at uettte ue


T H E S TAT U E T T E ~ T i m W i l k s


he statuette (fig.38) which is set prominently upon the table, and two pictures in the background, each full of detail, turn the Lanier portrait into a complex and enigmatic work. Whereas these inclusions would have been perfectly comprehensible to those who first enjoyed the portrait, they now present the viewer with an intriguing challenge. The sitter is neither holding nor looking at the statuette, yet it is evident that it constitutes an essential element of the painting.1 If only momentarily, the lute player’s gaze has been diverted from the object set before him to the viewer. We cannot tell whether the sitter has been playing and singing about the statuette, or to it. Perhaps the small figure is listening, but if so, he does not deign to acknowledge the musician; instead, his casual glance is directed downward to the piece of paper resting beside it.

This is not a portrait in which one piece of classical sculpture would serve as well as another, simply to indicate the sitter’s sophistication. Neither is it a portrait of the kind in which antiquities are included only to be recognised as the sitter’s possessions, as in Lotto’s Andrea Odoni 2 (1527). Another early example of the ‘collector portrait’ is Francesco Salviati’s Portrait of a Member of the Santacroce Family (1530–38) (fig.39),3 in which a single sculptural group – an Amazon Mounted on a Fallen Horse – may be seen on the table behind the sitter. A work of the next generation, Alessandro Allori’s Portrait of a Young Man (c.1560),4 includes a replica of an Apollo Citharoedos, then owned by the della Valle family in Rome. In contrast to Allori’s airy setting,Titian, with his Jacopo Strada (fig.40), 5 admits the viewer into the collector’s studiolo to witness Strada’s passion for his objects; there he holds out a statuette of Venus to be admired, while a male torso lies on the table. Still more intimate is Veronese’s Alessandro Vittoria,6 which belongs to a related group of portraits in which sculptors and architects, rather than collectors, are shown with sculpture:Vittoria presents to the viewer a plaster modello of his St Sebastian, while an antique torso lies on the table.Vittoria, again holding a figure, is the sitter in a portrait by Moroni,7 and in Veronese’s Vincenzo Scamozzi, the architect indicates the proportions of his carved model of a Corinthian capital.8 Vittoria’s St Sebastian reappears in Palma Giovane’s Portrait of a Collector (fig.41), in which the sitter is surrounded by pieces of sculpture including a bust of Vitellius.9 Although the statuette in the Lanier portrait serves a somewhat different function to the sculpture in these examples, it is in various ways indebted to this important but understudied portrait genre of the seicento,10 which is traceable at least to Parmigianino.11 The appearance of identifiable, classical sculpture, even in the form of small replicas, is highly unusual in English portraiture of this date – possibly unprecedented. A Nathaniel Bacon Self-portrait in which the sitter holds a small Pallas Athene, appears to have been painted after the Lanier portrait, around 1619. Only with Van Dyck’s Continence of Scipio, painted probably in 1620, and his still later Portrait of George Gage did English art (in so far as Van Dyck may be regarded as having assumed responsibility for it) begin to participate in the pictorial exploration of the relationship of an individual to sculpture. This had been very much an Italian enquiry, principally Venetian, different in character to the Antwerp passion for Kunstkammer interiors exemplified by the work of Willem van Haecht, Frans Francken the Younger, Jan Brueghel the Elder, and later, Teniers, though Rembrandt’s Aristotle with a Bust of Homer (1653)13 reminds us that the Dutch came to understand the exercise perfectly. Lanier’s commission, made soon after his return from Venice, seems to have been inspired by the portrait genre he had discovered there,


1. This is confirmed by Dr Katherine Ara’s technical examination, which has revealed that the statuette (also the pen and paper) is painted directly onto the imprimatura, with the green of the tablecloth painted up to its outline. 2. Royal Collection, RCIN 405776. Recognisable pieces are a replica of the Hercules and Antaeus, a Hercules, a Venus, and in the sitter’s hand, a small Diana of Ephesus. 3. Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, inv. 296. 4. Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, inv. A1123 5. Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, inv. GG-81. 6. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, inv. 46.31. 7. Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, inv. GG-78. 8. Denver Art Museum, Denver 9. City Museum and Art Gallery, Birmingham, inv. 1961P48 10. Surprisingly few art historians have paused to give broad consideration to this Renaissance portrait type; see most recently Titien, Tintoret, Véronèse…Rivalités à Venise, ed. V. Delieuvin and J. Habert, Louvre exhib., Paris, 2009, pp. 178–213; also, David Ekserdjian, Parmigianino, New Haven and London, 2006, p. 121; Manfred Riesel, ‘Betrachtungen zu zwei Porträts: Tizian: Jacopo de Strada und Lorenzo Lotto: Andrea Odoni’, in Müssen wir alles glauben, was man uns erzählt? Kritische Betrachtungen zu Darstellungen in der Kunst, Frankfurt/M., 1998. Employing a strictly iconographical approach is Phyllis Bober and Ruth Rubinstein, Renaissance Artists and Antique Sculpture, revised edn., Turnhout, 2009. 11. National Gallery, London, NG6441. The sculptural group shown in the background of Parmigianino’s Portrait of a Man, however, is more the product of Renaissance invention than antiquity. 12. Karen Hearn, Nathaniel Bacon. Artist,Gentleman, and Gardener, Tate Britain exhib., London, 2005, pp. 12–13. 13. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, inv. 61.198.


possibly in the Tintoretto studio, to which visitors to the English embassy were routinely directed by Sir Henry Wotton and his successor, Sir Dudley Carleton.14

39 Francesco Salviati A member of the Santacroce family c.1530-38 © Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

40 Tiziano Vecellio, called Titian Jacopo Strada c.1567-8 © Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

41 Palma Giovane Portrait of a Collector c.1600-1620 © Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery

At the time the portrait was painted, an Italian bronze statuette would have been an expensive commodity in northern Europe, affordable only by a man of great means and only appropriate for display in the house of such a person. More probably, therefore, the statuette in the painting is copied from, and represents, a plaster replica, though it may have been painted to resemble bronze.15 Indeed, a crack, characteristic of the painter’s eye for detail, runs from the figure’s right foot across the base. Such objects were bought by those who could not afford the far more exclusive bronzes, but were no less informative. The best terracotta work was of a different order; highly collectable and sometimes as costly as bronze.16 In Rome, probably sometime in the 1620s, a young François Duquesnoy modelled in terracotta a copy of the Antinous, probably taking many weeks to complete it.17 It is unlikely that he was the first sculptor to have copied the statue in this medium. Smaller terracotta works may also have been fashioned, though the acquisition of such a fragile object by an itinerant musician seems unlikely. Exploration of all these possibilities is certainly important, but should be incidental to the main concern, which must be with the image (however derived) of the statuette in the portrait. If the image of the statuette is not simply indicative of a reverence for the Antique but is a deliberately chosen, identifiable piece, then its identity clearly would have to be significant and important. Indeed, as we suspect, is the route to a deeper understanding of the portrait lies through the statuette, its identity becomes nothing less than crucial.



The intended viewers of the portrait would have had no difficulty in recognizing the figure as Antinous; the statuette being a small replica of the life-size Belvedere Antinous, which had been purchased in 1543 by Pope Paul III not long after its discovery in the vicinity of Rome, and set up in the Belvedere courtyard of the Vatican to complete an unsurpassable collection of Antique statuary.18 Another version had been part of the private Farnese collection since 1546, and had also been drawn and engraved before the Lanier portrait was painted.19 Indeed, it was only much later, after the Farnese version (which, tellingly, wears winged sandals and holds a caduceus) was compared with the Vatican version, that a firm re-identification as Mercury (Hermes) became possible.20 Yet, it seems that until the eighteenth century the Farnese version received much less attention and its appearance did not compromise the copied, recopied, and disseminated image of the much more famous Belvedere Antinous (fig.42). Mutations to the image of the Belvedere Antinous in the seventy years between 1543 and 1613 occur within a self-contained iconography, of which the image in the Lanier portrait is part. The familiarity of the Belvedere Antinous was also significantly increased in northern Europe after Primaticcio had cast his bronze copy for François I in the late 1540s. Thereafter, all foreigners staying in Paris for their education would at some point make the trip to Fontainebleau where they would see the statue.21 As early as the late 1550s, Giovan Battista Cavalieri engraved the Belvedere Antinous, the print being included as one of fifty-eight illustrations in his Antiquarum Statuarum Urbis Romae Liber Primus (Rome, 1555–61). Already, the image of the statue shows it restored; that is, with both arms and hands attached. This publication was reprinted without


14. For example, Jacopo Tintoretto, Giovanni Paolo Cornaro (delle Anticaglie) (1561), Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Gand; Jacopo Tintoretto, Ottavio Strada (1567/8), Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam; Domenico Titoretto, Portrait of a Sculptor (Ascanio de’Christi?), (c.1590), Alte Pinakothek, Munich; Domenico Tintoretto, Portrait of a Sculptor, sold, Koller, Zurich, 19 September, 2008. 15. Note, however, the greyish colour of the bronze copy attributed to Guglielmo della Porta in the Detroit Institute of Arts. 16. According to Bellori, Cardinal Camillo Masimi paid 400 scudi for Duquesnoy’s terracotta Laocoön, see Estelle Lingo, François Duquesnoy and the Greek Ideal, New Haven and London, 2007, p. 13. 17. Ibid., pp. 12–13. 18. Cortile Ottagono, Musei Vaticani’ Roma. 19. Ulisse Aldrovandi: ‘Delle Statue Antiche, che per tutta Roma, in diversi luoghi, & case si veggono’ in Lucio Mauro, Le Antichità della Città di Roma, Venice, 1556, p. 151; see Francis Haskell and Nicholas Penny, Taste and the Antique, New Haven and London, 1981, p. 143, note 36. 20. Ibid., pp. 141–3. Although Stosch identified the statue as Mercury as early as 1724, it was only after Visconti came to the same conclusion in the early nineteenth century that this re-identification gained general acceptance. See also Christopher W. Clairmont, Die Bildnisse des Antinous, Rome, 1966; Peter Gerlach, ‘Warum hiess der “Hermes-Andros” des Vatikanischen Belvedere “Antinous” ’, in Il Cortile delle statue. Der Statuenhof des Belvedere im Vatikan, ed. Matthias Winner et al., Mainz, 1998, pp. 355–78. 21. Charles I would not obtain his own full-scale bronze copy until Hubert Le Sueur cast it from moulds obtained in Rome in 1631, and erected it at Greenwich; see David Howarth,‘Charles I, Sculpture and Sculptors’ in Arthur MacGregor (ed.), The Late King’s Goods, London and Oxford, 1989, pp. 73–113 (83–4).


changes by Girolamo Porro in Venice in 1570. The same plate of the Belvedere Antinous, though apparently re-cut, was next used for an enlarged publication, of one hundred illustrations, bearing the same title that appeared no later than 1584.22 In that same year, another, similar compilation was published: Antiquarum Statuarum Urbis Romae....Icones ex typis Laurentij Vaccarij 1584, which necessarily included the highly regarded Belvedere Antinous. Lorenzo Vaccaro’s engraving, however, lacks the graceful sway of Cavalieri’s version, and the over-defined abdominal muscles betray Vaccaro’s insensitivity to the supple beauty of the original. Such engravings would have been available to our painter in the folio sets sold by specialist booksellers in the major entrepôts of Europe. Although the Belvedere Antinous in the Lanier portrait is viewed from much the same angle as the Cavalieri and Vaccaro engravings its subdued mannerism seems to be derived from another source. Leaving aside sculpture, which remains the most probable source type, it is only in master drawings, such as the superb study by Hendrik Goltzius, that one finds the Antinous well enough modelled to provide a guide worthy for the portrait’s statuette.23 We might pause our search with the observation that the painter has taken as much care with the statuette as with any part of the portrait. As a study in itself, it amounts to little short of ekphrasis: a revelation of the special qualities of one art form by another.

42 Roman, 2nd century AD Hermes, called The Belvedere Antinous © Vatican Museums and Galleries, Vatican City, Italy/Alinari/ The Bridgeman Art Library

In 1559/60 (close to the time of its first engraving), the sculptor Willem Tetrode cast for his patron, Cosimo I de’Medici, a fine bronze statuette of the Belvedere Antinous, 57 cm. tall, intended for a set of cabinet replicas of the most celebrated examples of Antique statuary.24 For a period in the 1570s or 1580s, Pietro da Barga was similarly engaged for another Medici patron, Cardinal Ferdinando de’Medici. His bronze copy of the Belvedere Antinous stands 28.7 cm. tall, and may be the source from which a plaster version, depicted in the portrait, ultimately derived.25 Another bronze copy, possibly an even better candidate, is a more tousle-haired, mannerist interpretation attributed to Guglielmo della Porta, 34.6 cm. in height, which may also be dated to the second half of the sixteenth century.26 Fine Italian examples of this period, as much as 66 cm. in height are also known.27



In his Antiquatis Urbis of 1527, Andrea Fulvio noted the recent discovery of a statue, which may be the first published report of the Belvedere Antinous, and declared without qualification that it represented Hadrian’s Antinous.28 In doing so, he, like other cognoscenti in Clement VII’s Rome who hurried to inspect the work, having been confronted by a superb rendering of the classical ideal of male beauty, immediately recalled that youth whom the Emperor Hadrian had so greatly loved.These cinquecento scholars clearly knew the canon of classical texts well enough to know of this Antinous, even though only a single line in the Historia Augusta is devoted to him, and scarcely more in Cassius Dio; these being the only near-contemporary sources. From them, we learn only that Antinous perished while the imperial party was sailing along the Nile, whereupon Hadrian ‘wept like a woman’,29 and that later the grieving emperor built ‘a city on the spot where he had suffered his fate and naming it after him; and he also set up statues, or rather sacred images of him, practically all over the world.’30 It was this last piece of information which kept Renaissance excavators on the lookout for likely Antinouses, and which encouraged the identification of the Belvedere Antinous when it was found. Though the identification of the Vatican statue as Antinous was never more than speculative, it gained widespread acceptance. Certainly, the documents concerned with Primaticcio’s visit to Rome in order to obtain a mould refer to it only as the Antinous.31 Cavalieri, the statue’s first engraver, however, offered an alternative: Milo, the legendary 6th century BC athlete, who was given precedence in the inscription: ‘Milo aliis Antinous in hortis Pont. in Vaticano’. This was repeated in the inscription to Vaccaro’s engraving, and both prints retained their original wording as long as the plates were used, which in both cases continued well beyond the date when the Lanier portrait was painted.32 Franzini’s much cruder woodcut, for what it is worth, offers only the Antinous identification, but it is in seventeenth-century prints which post-date the portrait, such as François Perrier’s etching of 1638,33 Jan de Bisschop’s etchings after Willem Doudijns’s drawings,34 or Thourneyser’s and Perrier’s etchings after Sandrart’s studies,35 that we gain confirmation of the falling away of alternative identifications; all these refer only to Antinous. As far as viewers in the early seventeenth century were concerned, the Belvedere statue and all its copies represented Antinous. If we suppose the statuette in the portrait signifies a contemporary figure, we might consider the dominant court personality of 1613: Robert Carr, Earl of Somerset. James I lifted him out of obscurity, doted upon him, then lost him. For a continuation of the parallel with Antinous and Hadrian, it would be convenient for Somerset to have drowned in the Thames, but he did not. Instead, in late 1613, he married (with the King’s blessing) Frances Howard, and it is amid their wedding celebrations that Lanier’s reappearance and performance is recorded. Even had this occasion given new impetus to Lanier’s career, it is questionable whether such a portrait, evidently for private contemplation, would have focused on this Scottish favourite of little intellect, and, if so, whether it would have been prudent to use a Roman emperor’s catamite to represent him. After all, George Chapman, having published his celebratory poem on the marriage, Andromeda Liberata, had to refute the obvious interpretation that the cuckolded 3rd Earl of Essex was the barren rock from which Frances Howard (Andromeda) had been freed. In Somerset we may not have our man, but, more crucially, we may not even have the right Antinous.


22. Antiquarum / Statuarum / Urbis / Romae /Primus et Secundus/ Liber / Ludovico Madrucio / S.R.E. Card. Amplissimo / Dic. Io. Baptista De Caval / leriis Authore (Rome, n.d., but after 1561–before 1584); see Thomas Ashby, ‘Antiquae Statuae Urbis Romae’, in Papers of the British School at Rome, IX (1920), pp. 107–58. 23. Teyler’s Stichting, Haarlem, inv. K III 22 r; see Emil Karel Josef Reznicek, Hendrick Goltzius als Zeichner, Utrecht 1961, pp. 91, 200, no. 205; Aurelia Brandt, ‘Goltzius and the Antique’, Print Quarterly, XVIII, (2), pp. 135–49. 24. Florence, Bargello, inv. 1879, no. 208; see Anna Maria Massinelli (ed.), Bronzetti e Anticaglie dalla Guardaroba di Cosimo I, Mostre del Museo Nazionale di Bargello, Florence, 1991, p. 91, fig. 76. 25. Ferrara, Museo Civico, inv. C.G.F. 8532; see Plachette e bronzi nelle Civiche Collezioni, (catalogo della mostra Ferrara, Palazzina di Marfisa d’Este, iuglio– ottobre 1974, Pomposa, Palazzo della Ragione, iuglio– agosto 1975), Firenze 1975, p. 156, no. 147. Other examples are in the Bargello, Florence, see Giacomo De Nicola, ‘Notes on the Museo Nazionale of Florence. II: A Series of Small Bronzes by Pietro da Barga’, Burlington Magazine, XXIX (1916), pp. 363–73; also Galleria Nazionale, Perugia. 26. Detroit Institute of Arts, inv. 40–119; see Peter Gerlach, ‘Eine Hand von Guglielmo della Porta? Cavaliere, Tetrode, Perret und der sogen Antinous von Belvedere’ in De Arte et Libris. Festschrift Erasmus 1934– 1984, Amsterdam, 1984, pp. 179ff. 27. For example, CensusID 46014. 28. Andrea Fulvio [Andreas Fulvius], Antiquatis Urbis (Rome, 1527), book 3, fol. xxxvii verso B. 29. ‘Antinoum suum, dum per Nilum navigat, perdidit, quem muliebriter flevit’, De Vita Hadriani Aelii Spartiani, XIV, p. 4. 30. Dio further speculates that Hadrian ‘honoured Antinous, either because of his love for him or because the youth had voluntarily undertaken to die (it being necessary that a life should be surrendered freely for the accomplishment of the ends Hadrian had in view), by building a city on the spot where he had suffered his fate and naming it after him’. Cassius Dio, Roman History, ed. and trans. E. Cary, 9 vols, (Harvard, 1914–27), VIII, pp. 445–47. 31. Haskell and Penny, Taste and the Antique, p. 141. 32. ‘Milo alys Antinous Roma in vaticano’. 33. François Perrier, Segmenta nobilium Signorum et Statuarum, Quae temporis dentem invidium evasere (Rome, 1638), tav. 53. 34. Jan de Bisschop, Signorum Veterum Icones (L’Aia, 1668-1669), tav. 12 and 13. 35. Joachim von Sandrart, Teutsche Academie 1675 (Nuremberg, 1675), II, tav. aa; Sculpture Veteris Admiranda (Nuremberg, 1680), 5,tav. d.


The Historia Augusta, with its brief account of Hadrian’s Antinous, was not widely known or available to English Renaissance readers, and even after Isaac Casaubon’s edition was published in Paris in 1603 and again in 1609,36 only keen classicists would have encountered this Antinous in its pages. A contemporary of Casaubon, another great French scholar (and antiquary), Nicolas Fabri de Peiresc, was certainly familiar with the story of Hadrian’s Antinous, as he noted the appropriateness of the image of Antinous (who in death had been proclaimed a demi-god) on the side of a demi-cyathe that was in his collection.37 Casaubon and Peiresc were, however, exceptional érudits, and hardly typical even of the classically educated aristocracy and gentry of the period.

35. Joachim von Sandrart, Teutsche Academie 1675 (Nuremberg, 1675), II, tav. aa; Sculpture Veteris Admiranda (Nuremberg, 1680), 5,tav. d. 36. Isaac Casaubon, Historiæ Augustæ scriptores sex, (Paris, 1603; also, printed in P. de la Rovière, Historiæ Romanæ scriptores Latini veteres, etc. tom. 2 (Paris, 1609). 37. Peter N. Miller, ‘History of religion becomes ethnology: some evidence from Peiresc’s Africa’, Journal of the History of Ideas 67.4 (2006): pp. 675–96. 38. Haskell and Penny, Taste and the Antique, p. 141. 39. Tay Fizdale, ‘Jonson’s Volpone and the “Real” Antinous’, Renaissance Quarterly, xxvi (1973), pp. 453–9. 40. On the Jacobeans’ metaphysical turn of mind, and its predeliction for resemblances and paradoxes, and aversion to fixed form, that affected music as well as poetry (and, it might be added, the visual arts) see the excellent David Pinto, ‘The Fantasy Manner: the seventeenth-century context’, Chelys. The Journal of the Viola da Gamba Society, X (1981), pp. 17–28. 41. Cf. Ben Jonson, ed. C. H. Herford and Percy and Evelyn Simpson, 11 vols (Oxford, 1925–1952), IX, p. 718. 42. The debate is found in: T. W. Craik, ‘Volpone’s Young Antinous’, Notes & Queries ccxv (1970), pp. 213–14; Tay Fizdale, ‘Jonson’s Volpone and the “Real” Antinous’, Renaissance Quarterly, xxvi (1973), pp. 453–9; J. L. Simmons, ‘Volpone as Antinous: Jonson and “Th’overthrow of Stage-Playes” ’, The Modern Language Review, 70, No. 1 (Jan., 1975), pp. 13–19; Michael J. Warren, ‘A Note on Jonson’s Volpone, I, i, 76-8’, Notes & Queries ccxxv (1980), pp. 143–6; T. W. Craik, ‘Volpone’s Young Antinous Again’, Notes & Queries, 29 (2), (1982), pp. 140–1; Richmond Barbour, “When I Acted Young Antinous”: Boy Actors and the Erotics of Jonsonian Theater’, PMLA, 110, No. 5 (Oct., 1995), pp. 1006–22. 43. Gager has been judged ‘probably the most talented of the Oxford playwrights’, see J. W. Binns, ‘Gager, William (1555–1622)’, ODNB. 44. G. Chapman, Homer’s Odysses Translated according to ye Greeke, London, 1614?; 1615), (STC 13636 and 13637).

When an educated Elizabethan or a Jacobean heard the name ‘Antinous’, the character who would first spring to mind was not Hadrian’s lover but the equally handsome and attractive Antinous of Homer’s Odyssey. This may be deduced from the absence of references to Hadrian’s Antinous in contemporary literature, in marked contrast to the persistent degree of attention that Homer’s Antinous receives. It would be wise therefore, to recall Haskell’s and Penny’s observation that Antinous was ‘a title frequently given to figures of male youths’,38 and Fizdale’s that Ben Jonson, in Volpone, may have been thinking of both Antinouses simultaneously.39 We might even suspect that Hadrian’s Bithynian lover was given the name in adolescence for his resemblance to the Homeric character. Such shifts and ambiguities were easily accepted and dealt with by the Jacobean mind, and, therefore, in the case of the statuette in the portrait, we should similarly be prepared to contemplate an alternative identity under the same name.40 Undoubtedly, the most prominent literary reference to Antinous published in the few years immediately preceding the painting of the Lanier portrait is that found in Ben Jonson’s Volpone, or the Fox, a play which was a success from its first London performance in 1606. Its text appeared in print in 1607/8.The reference to Antinous is made during Volpone’s attempted seduction of Corvino’s wife, Celia: I am now as fresh,/ As hot, as high, and in as iouviall plight, As when... / I acted young ANTINOUS, and attracted The eyes and eares of all the ladies present, T’admire each graceful gesture, note and footing Deceived by the modern interest in Hadrian’s Antinous, literary scholars had until recently assumed it is to him that Volpone refers,41 but it has now been established that he refers to Homer’s Antinous.42 More particularly, it has been argued persuasively that Jonson was referring to a play that had actually been performed, one that was sufficiently well-known for the allusion to be picked up by Jonson’s audience, and one to which he wished to pay passing homage. That play was William Gager’s Ulysses Redux, which had provoked a controversy of its own, by using young gentlemen (students) in inappropriate roles (not least, female ones) when it was performed in Oxford in 1592.43 Importantly, Gager brought the Odyssey (in Latin) to an English audience and readership prior to George Chapman’s complete translation of Homer from the Greek; indeed, Gager’s production may have helped to convince Chapman that he should take on the immense task. Following the publication of Chapman’s Iliads in 1611, a first printing of his Homer’s Odysses seems to have taken place in 1614.44 Publication of the Whole Works of Homer followed in 1616. The proofing and printing of Homer’s Odysses would have



been lengthy and laborious, and in London’s gathering places there would have been talk of the progress of the work during 1613. All this pre-publication activity would have brought the epic’s characters, among them Antinous, back into the imaginations of patrons and practitioners of the arts. It is possible, therefore, to trace a growing enthusiasm for the Odyssey to Gager’s time, if not before. It became such that newly written amplifications and extensions to Homer’s narrative were not thought presumptuous but were eagerly received.Within this process, Antinous, the foremost of the suitors of Ulysses’ wife, Penelope – irresistible, it would seem, to all women but the faithful Penelope – became a more rounded, complex and, arguably, sympathetic character in English Renaissance poetry and drama. As late as 1619, an Antinous (this time, a son of Cassilane) appears in The Laws of Candy, a tragi-comedy now attributed to John Ford (1586–1640). This Antinous is entirely divorced from the narrative of the Odyssey, but retains the essential characteristic of one so-named in that he is irresistibly handsome.45 While the memory of Ulysses Redux persisted into the first decade of James I’s reign, Sir John Davies’s Orchestra, purporting to fill in what Homer ‘had forgot’, though first published in 1596, remained very current.46 Neither the author nor the London publishers had yet done with it, and its concerns with dance and its music were still very relevant to the court culture of Jacobean England, which attached great importance to the masque, in which so many of the arts were combined. Orchestra would be re-published in 1618 and 1622, with a dedication to ‘The Prince’, which, curiously, does not mention Charles by name, and its fulsome description of the dedicatee’s physical accomplishments arouses a suspicion that this dedication had been written much earlier, around 1612, with Prince Henry in mind. It appears even to contain a reference to the elder prince’s acclaimed performance in Prince Henries Barriers: 47 And hence it is that YOU came so soon to bee A man-at-armes, in every part aright; The fairest flowre of noble chivalrie; And of Saint George his band, the bravest knight. 48 Around 1612, Davies is known to have hankered for a recall from Ireland where he had served for several years as, first, Solicitor-General, then Attorney-General, and when his long-term patron, Robert Cecil, Earl of Salisbury died in May of that year, he may have re-directed his attentions to Prince Henry; certainly, its dedication suggests that Orchestra was being prepared for re-publication at about this time. The subsequent demise of Prince Henry in November, 1612, left Davies, like Lanier and many others, uncertain as to his future.49 Davies gives many lines to Antinous, creating a subtle and intelligent character who, besides wooing Penelope,50 has the task of defending the practice of dancing.51 Lanier would have found the argument of Orchestra fascinating, and would have empathised with the Phæmius character, deriving reassurance from this ‘sacred singer’ of the solo voice’s special role in conveying truths, even to audiences in a royal court. We are told that Antinous was -


45. Antinous demands a bronze statue from the state of Candy (Crete) to honour his father, but this, as with other elements of the plot, appears to have been derived from Cinthio’s Gli Hecatommithi (1565), and has nothing to do with the iconography of Antinous. 46. The Complete Poems of Sir John Davies, ed. A. B. Grosart, 2 vols (1876), I, pp. 155–212. 47. See John Nichols, The Progresses, Processions and Magnificent Festivities of King James the First, 4 vols (London, 1828), II, p. 270; also letter: T. Edmondes to W. Trumbull, 20 December, 1609, HMC Downshire II, p. 199. 48. Davies’s editor, Grosart, judges that it was ‘Most probably the former’ of the two princes that Davies addressed, see Complete Poems, I, p. 160, note 1. 49. Given the Speaker’s chair in the Irish Parliament of May 1613, Davies settled in to another period of Irish service, retiring to England in 1619, see Sean Kelsey, ‘Davies, Sir John (bap. 1569, d. 1626)’, ODNB. 50. In conjunction with Davies’s Orchestra, Peter Colse’s Penelopes Complaint: or, A Mirrour for wanton Minions (London, 1596) should be considered. This work provides a link between the Antinous tradition and the ‘Complaint’ genre in English Renaissance literature. 51. II, pp. 136–200; pp. 201–230; pp. 460–491; pp. 844–898; pp. 1047–53


Amongst the wooers, who were silent set, To hear a poet sing the sad retreat The Greeks perform’d from Troy; which was from thence Proclaim’d by Pallas, pain of her offence. Here, we might recall the statuette seeming to listen to the lutenist’s ayre. Had the English recently made a sad withdrawal from a foreign shore, or would such an analogy be too simple? The Greeks, though victorious at Troy, had lost heroes, foremost among them, Achilles, and Ulysses, also, had not returned. The unseen but essential player in the Lanier portrait may be a Penelope-figure, who, in Davies’s account, When which divine song was perceived to bear That mournful subject by the listening ear – intrudes, and re-directs: She chid the sacred singer: ‘Phæmius, You know a number more of these great deeds Of Gods and men, that are the sacred seeds, And proper subjects, of a poet’s song, And those due pleasures that to men belong, Besides these facts that furnish Troy’s retreat, Sing one of those to these, that round your seat They may with silence sit, and taste their wine; But cease this song, that through these ears of mine Conveys deserv’d occasion to my heart Of endless sorrows...’ Phæmius having upset Penelope, faces the anger of the wooers, but finds a defender in Telemachus: Enjoy me in your banquets, see ye lay These loud notes down, nor do this man the wrong, Because my mother hath disliked his song... Davies suggests thereby a kind of immunity for the singer-poet. It is Antinous (here portrayed as a good listener, though not an uncritical one), who releases the tension by acknowledging the force of Telemachus’s words: ‘Telemachus!/ The Gods, I think, have rapt thee to this height Of elocution, and this great conceit/ Of self-ability’. Like the Trojan war, the long Dutch war of independence had been characterized by sieges. Following the truce of 1609, many English career-soldiers had returned, and the



unemployed captain had become a familiar type in London society. For many, England had become a kind of Ithaca without Ulysses, particularly since the untimely death of the energetic and inspirational Prince Henry. It might be asked (in search of further parallels) whether the English had lost an outstanding hero, an Achilles, in the Netherlands; the response to which must be that it was Sir Philip Sidney, who had died in 1586 from a wound suffered at the siege of Zutphen. National reverence for Sidney, the epitome of virtue, had been sustained through the successive waves of adulation for Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, and Prince Henry, not least through the determination of Sidney’s sister, Mary, Countess of Pembroke, who patronised a literary circle that had included Davies. It was in 1613 that the cult of Sidney was reinvigorated by the republication of the ‘New’ Arcadia, twenty years after the Countess (to whom the work had been dedicated) had supported an edition of the revised manuscript on which Sidney had worked in the early 1580s.52 This first Jacobean edition of the Arcadia also included Sidney’s Defence of Poesy. Also in 1613, Gervase Markham published The second and last part of the first booke of the English Arcadia, which continued in the vein of Sidney’s work.53 Evidence that Lanier was at some point connected to the Herbert-Sidney sphere of patronage is given in the younger John Donne’s prefatory remarks to his 1660 edition of the poems of Sidney’s nephew and the Countess’s son, William, 3rd Earl of Pembroke (1580–1630): ‘I was fain first to send to Mr. Henry Laws, who furnishing me with some, directed me for the rest to send into Germany to Mr. Laneere, who by his great skill gave a life and a harmony to all that he set’.54 Both Lawes and Lanier, clearly, had obtained the Earl’s poems in order to set them to music. The handsome and virtuous Sidney, like Homer’s Antinous, wooed a Penelope but could not win her. His was fair Penelope Devereux, daughter of Walter, 1st Earl of Essex, generally accepted as the ‘Stella’ in Sidney’s sonnet sequence, Astrophil and Stella.55 She was unattainable, however, having been married in 1582 to Robert, 3rd Baron Rich, and it is as Lady Rich that she is remembered. All the protagonists in what may have been no more than a highly sophisticated poetic courtship were dead by 1613, but this purest of Elizabethan infatuations remained in the collective memory of Jacobean society.The sense of melancholic remembrance imparted by this portrait may be the product of elements of this romance combined with Classical myth and plaintive Renaissance pastoral. Sidney’s Arcadia begins with memories, as does Markham’s English Arcadia, and in Davies’s Orchestra the unbearable memories which that ‘heavenly man’, Phæmius, evokes with his lyre (substitute Lanier with lute) force Penelope to interrupt the singing. As Benjamin Hebbert has observed, the musician’s fingers have just left the strings and his mouth remains slightly open; the last note resonates endlessly in the captured moment of the picture.The interruption has come from outside; the musician glances toward the viewer. We assume that this portrait was painted for the sitter to keep, and that Lanier would often gaze at himself, but perhaps the presence of another – a living Penelope – was required to complete the portrait’s matrix of relationships.

✻ ✻ ✻ ✻


52. The Countess of Pembroke was stirred to publish the ‘New’ Arcadia (1593) after Fulke Greville saw to publication the unrevised ‘Old’ Arcadia (1590). For the confused publishing history of the work, see Gavin Alexander, Writing After Sidney, The Literary Response to Sir Philip Sidney, 1586-1640, Oxford, 2006, pp. xiii-xxvii. 53. This work followed on from Markham’s The English Arcadia, alluding his beginning to Sir Philip Sydneys ending (1607). 54. Andreas Gebauer, Von Macht und Mäzenatentum. Leben und Werk William Herberts, des dritten Earls von Pembroke, Heidelberg, 1987, p. 193. Lanier spent much of the Interregnum on the Continent as a royalist exile. ODNB mentions he was in Holland but not Germany. 55. See Katherine Duncan-Jones, ‘Sidney, Stella, and Lady Rich’, in Sir Philip Sidney: 1586 and the Creation of a Legend, eds. J. A. van Dorsten et al. (Brill, 1986), pp. 170–92.


43 Attributed to Renold Elstrack Robert Carr, Earl of Somerset and Frances, Countess of Somerset c.1615 Š National Portrait Gallery, London


L A N I E R A N D T H E C O U RT LY M A S Q U E ~ P e t e r Wa l l s


vents at the English court in the last few months of 1613 would make a good subject for a blockbuster movie: affairs, bribery, corruption, intrigue, and murder – all taking place behind a screen of defiant court spectacle. On 26 December, Robert Carr, the newly-created Earl of Somerset, married Lady Frances Howard (fig.43). That night, a masque devised by Thomas Campion was presented in the Whitehall Banqueting House followed a few days later by Ben Jonson’s Irish Masque and then on Twelfth Night (6 January 1614) by a third entertainment, described on the title page of its published text as The Masque of Flowers presented by the Gentlemen of Gray’s Inn, at the Court of Whitehall, in the Banqueting House, upon Twelfth Night, 1613, Being the last of the Solemnities and Magnificences which were performed at the Marriage of the Right Honourable the Earl of Somerset, and the Lady Frances, daughter of the Earl of Suffolk, Lord Chamberlain. Earlier in 1613, the wedding of James I’s daughter, Princess Elizabeth, to the Count Palatine had been similarly celebrated with three separate masques (one of them also devised by Campion). But that, after all, was a royal wedding. Such an extravagant celebration for the wedding of James I’s handsome young favourite seems a rather different matter. Campion’s Somerset Masque opens with a speech (introducing the anti-masque) saying that ‘Great Honors Herrald, Fame’ had summoned knights from every corner of the earth to this nuptial feast: But (they that never favour’d good intent) Deformed Errour, that enchaunting fiend, And wing-tongu’d Rumor, his infernall frieind [sic], With Curiositie and Credulitie, Both Sorceresses, all in hate agree Our purpose to divert. . . 1 The circumstances surrounding the wedding gave ample scope for Rumour and his companions. The marriage had only become possible in October when a compliant court ruled (after intervention from the king) that Frances Howard’s existing marriage to the young Earl of Essex should be annulled on the grounds of the groom’s supposed impotence. Carr’s closest friend, Sir Thomas Overbury, had opposed the union, thus provoking Frances Howard’s ire. She engineered first his imprisonment in the Tower and then the replacement of the prison’s upright governor, Sir William Wade, by Sir Jervis Elwes, a man who seems to have had few scruples about accepting a bribe (delivered in this case by none other than an apparently unwitting Thomas Campion.) Overbury died in prison in mid-September. Murder was suspected. In the wedding-night masque, Nicholas Lanier (one year younger than the groom) gave voice to the official line, dismissing the spectres of the anti-masque and introducing the noble masquers: Away, Enchauntements,Vanish quite, No more delay our longing sight: ‘Tis fruiteless to contend with Fate, Who gives us pow’re against your hate.2


1. Davis, pp. 269-70. 2. Davis, p. 273. This is to stretch a point. It is possible that ‘Go Happy Man’ (the song from which the quoted lines are taken) was sung alone by John Allen. See Campion’s description of the music below.


In fact, justice was eventually able to ‘contend with Fate’, at least up to a point.Two years after their wedding, the Earl and Countess of Somerset were convicted and sentenced to death, along with four others, on charges relating to Overbury’s murder.The unlucky four accomplices, lacking influential friends, were hanged, but the Countess and then the Earl were pardoned (though the latter, still protesting his innocence, was not released from prison until 1622). More vocal music survives for The Somerset Masque than for any other Jacobean masque. Thomas Campion appended to The Description of a Maske Presented in the Banqueting roome at Whitehall, on Saint Stephens night last (1614) the Ayres, Made by severall Authors: and Sung in the Maske at the Marriage of the Right Honourable Robert, Earle of Somerset, and the Right Noble the Lady Frances Howard. Publication of masque music in a form that links it directly to the production is unusal and doubtless reflects Campion’s own sense of the importance of the musical dimension. The annexed Ayres includes a ‘Song, made by Th.k;Campion, and sung in the Lords Maske at the Count Palatinos Marriage’ which, Campion tells us, he added simply ‘to fill up these emptie Pages’ in the gathering. It is not impossible that Campion contributed some of the (now lost) vocal music for The Somerset Masque as well as writing its text. 44 Manuscript for Lanier’s Bring away this sacred tree, from The Somerset Masque © Bodleian Library, University of Oxford. 2010, MAL 221(6)

The songs we do have are, first, Lanier’s important ‘Bring away this sacred tree’ (fig.44) and then three further songs ‘composed by Mr. Coperario, and sung by M r. Iohn Allen, and M r. Laneir [sic]’. Coperario, fifteen years or so older than Lanier, was – like Lanier – part of the musical household of Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury. His name is in itself



testimony to the interest in Italian music in these circles; as Roger North so colourfully put it, ‘[Coperario] by the way was plain Cooper but affected an Itallian termination’.3 Coperario had a close association with Campion; their Songs of Mourning: Bewailing the un timely death of Prince Henry, a beautiful set of declamatory laments, had been published earlier in 1613. In The Somerset Masque, Lanier was in excellent company both as a composer and performer. Nicholas Lanier’s involvement with the court masque was both enduring and distinctive. No other musician who took a prominent role in one of the masques for the Howard/ Somerset wedding in 1613 was still involved in the grand productions of the 1630s. In The Somerset Masque,Lanier featured as both one of the composers and as a singer.His reach extended further in Lovers Made Men (1617) for which he ‘ordered and made both the Scene, and the Musicke’.4 He almost certainly had a similar musical role in the Twelfth Night masque The Vision of Delight (also 1617) though it is generally assumed that, for this more orthodox court masque, Inigo Jones ‘made the scene’. Lanier was paid £200 for his involvement in The Gypsies Metamorphosed (1621) – twice the amount paid to Ben Jonson as author. Given that the only composer associated with any of the surviving music is Robert Johnson, one is left wondering whether the extraordinarily generous payment to Lanier was for what we might now call a music director’s role, or as a performer, or designer – or all three.5 Lanier is credited (in the manuscript containing the music) as the composer of an important song performed by Apollo (probably also performed by him) in The Masque of Augurs, presented at court on Twelfth Night 1622.The climax of Tempe Restored (1632) comes when eight spheres ‘in rich habites’ descend on a cloud making music. They are led by the Highest Sphere ‘represented by Mr Laneere’, who sings as a soloist. It is not impossible, of course, that this last-mentioned Mr Lanier was actually Nicholas’s brother, John, who had been a member of the Lutes and Voices division of the King’s Musick since 1625 and was known as a tenor. But crediting an individual musician as the Tempe Restored text does is relatively unusual. It could be guessed that this particular Highest Sphere really did have influence, in which case it had to be Nicholas himself. That influence was confirmed (and perpetuated) by Lanier’s appointment in 1625 to the newly-created position of Master of the King’s Musick. In this role, he would have had administrative control over the music for probably all court masques through even to that last great folly of 1640, Salmacida Spolia (for which ‘the music was composed by Lewis Richard, Master of her Majesty’s Music’).6 Lanier intervened when Bulstrode Whitelocke engaged the London waits instead of the court wind players for the procession preceding the second performance of The Triumph of Peace in 1634. Whitelocke’s obsequious reply perhaps conveys a sense of Lanier’s power at court: Noble Sir. I perceive by your letters some apprehension of distcontent by the kinges servantes . . . [I engaged others only] bicause I thought the service too meane for these you write for, butt since themselves guided by your advise esteeme it not so . . . to give your selfe and them contentment, and to take of all shew of the least neglect to any of the kinges servants I have resolved to dismisse the others . . .7 The history of Lanier’s participation in masques at court tells us quite a lot about his very unusual talents. Already with The Somerset Masque – three years before any


3. John Wilson, Roger North on Music, London: Novello, 1959, p. 288. 4. Ben Johnson, ed. C. H. Herford and P. and E.Simpson, 11 vols., Oxford, 1925-1952, vii, p. 454 5. The question arises as to whether Lanier’s payment was then meant to be disbursed among the various musicians taking part. It should be noted, however, that a tabor (drum) player, ‘fiddlers’, and a cornetist were all paid £2. 11s, £12. 16s, and 11s respectively (see Ben Jonson xi, p. 613). 6. See T. J. B. Spencer and S. Wells (ed.) A Book of Masques, Cambridge: CUP, 1967, p. 361. 7. Andrew Sabol, ‘New Documents on Shirley’s Masque “The Triumph of Peace”’ Music and Letters 47, 1966, pp. 18-19.


appointment at court – he was being noticed as a singer and composer. Lovers Made Men, an extraordinary production in many ways, drew on his talents as both musician and artist. And nearly all of the other references to Lanier’s involvement in masques communicate a sense of esteem and power. Why Lanier was held in such high regard as a musician is not all that easy to understand (unless, of course, it was primarily based on his performing skills). His compositional ability is represented only by a modest number of, frankly, not very interesting songs in manuscript sources. Of these vocal compositions, by far the most significant is the extended monody, ‘Hero and Leander’ (which is highly original and very expressive). The only Lanier song to appear in print in his lifetime was ‘Bring Away this Sacred Tree’, printed with Campion’s quarto of The Somerset Masque. This is worth underlining. He is not represented in the numerous volumes of English lute songs published in the early part of the century. Perhaps this was just bad luck, since the market for such publications seems to have died just about the time that Lanier came to prominence. (Dowland’s Pilgrim’s Solace of 1612 is one of the last.) Lanier’s song writing largely occupied the years between the demise of the lute song publications and the explosion of song books in the Playford era (from the 1650s on). Lanier is known only as a song composer. This is in stark contrast to his uncle (by marriage), Alfonso Ferrabosco II (?), who was not just the song composer most closely associated with Ben Jonson’s masques but who was also highly regarded as a viol player and composer of music for viols (ranging from virtuoso solo lyra viol pieces to works in five or six parts for viol consort). If we want to understand Lanier’s position as a musician and gentleman in the Jacobean court context then the 1613 portrait is invaluable (far more so than the better-known Oxford University Music Faculty self-portrait) (fig.25). It may be useful at this point to reflect on the accessories in the painting before returning to consider how they relate to Lanier’s Jacobean masque contributions. Anti-clockwise from the top right-hand corner, we encounter an artist at work on, perhaps, a self-portrait, a version of Hendrick van Steenwyck’s The Liberation of Saint Peter, a sheet of paper with an anagram based on the hexachord, and a miniature replica of the Belvedere Antinous. Last but not least, we need to include the lute itself. What was Lanier trying to project about his own interests and standing in placing these objects within the painting? There are expert commentaries on the Steenwyck painting, the inset portrait and the statuette elsewhere in this volume, but it should perhaps be noted that, like the musical elements, these objects link practitioner (Lanier as artist) to connoisseur (Lanier as someone with such well-informed good taste that he could be trusted first as a mentor for William Cecil and eventually as the purchaser of one of the most magnificent art collections ever assembled by royalty). But then, why Steenwyck? Even in portraiture, Hendrick van Steenwyck was known for his architectural interiors. The Liberation of St Peter, illustrating a Christian legend, is typical in being set in such an interior. What that means is that an interest in perspective is signalled in the Lanier portrait. Such an interest fits well with the ethos of the Jacobean masque. Inigo Jones’s drawings of sets repeatedly emphasise this.8 Campion proudly describes the scene for The Somerset



Masque as being ‘in perspective’: The place wherein the Maske was presented, being the Banquetting house at White Hall, the upper part, where the State is placed, was Theatred with Pillars, Scaffolds, and all things answerable to the sides of the Roome. At the lower end of the Hall, before the Sceane, was made an Artch Tryumphall, passing beautifull, which enclosed the whole Workes.The Sceane it selfe (the Curtaine being drawne) was in this manner divided. On the upper part there was formed a Skye with Clowdes very arteficially shadowed. On either side of the Sceane belowe was set a high Promontory, and on either of them stood three large pillars of golde; the one Promontory was bounded with a Rocke standing in the Sea, the other with a Wood. In the midst betwene them apeared a Sea in perspective with ships, some cunningly painted, some arteficially sayling.9 If Lanier’s desire to have the Steenwyck painting included in his portrait tells us that he could manage perspective along with the best of them, then the Belvedere Antinous might similarly assert a knowledge of antiquities and of the artistic treasures to be found in Italy. Such an interest also fits well into the world of the Jacobean masque. Masque design always had one eye on Italy. Most notably, Inigo Jones drew inspiration from the designs for the Florentine intermedii associated with Il Giudizio di Paride of 1608 (fig.45). Jones undertook first-hand research in Italy between 1613 and 1615, which was one reason that the designs for The Somerset Masque were by an actual Italian – Constantino de Servi, who had been retained by Prince Henry. As it happens, Campion was unhappy with the result: I grounded my whole Invention upon Inchauntments and several transformations. The work-manship whereof was undertaken by M. Constantine, an Italian, Architect to our late Prince Henry; but he, being too much of him selfe, and no way to be drawne to impart his intentions, fayled so farre in the assurance he gave, that the mayne invention, even at the last cast, was of force drawne into a farre narrower compasse then was from the beginning intended.10 Lanier’s musical interests parallel this. They were very much aligned with the Italianate orientation of masque designs. There are two dimensions to the musical images in the portrait.The lute (whose pedigree is fully explored by Benjamin Hebbert) is the means by which Lanier presents himself as a performer. The scrap of paper with the hexachord anagram (and quill beside it) takes us off in a slightly different direction.What it proclaims is that Lanier is a properly educated musician – not just an executant. As a way of seeing the implications of this, it is interesting to turn to John Dowland’s preface to A Pilgrimes Solace (1612), his last magnificent song collection. In this preface, Dowland gives vent to bafflement and hurt at the lack of appreciation for his work that


8. See Stephen Orgel and Roy Strong, Inigo Jones: The Theatre of the Stuart Court, 2 vols (London, 1973) pl. 89 9.The Works of Thomas Campion, ed. W. R. Davis, London: Faber, 1969, pp. 268f. 10. The Works of Thomas Campion, p. 268.


he has encountered in his homeland. Despite being published all over Europe, he writes, he has met only negativity at home. His critics, he says, fall into two categories (and both are of interest to us here): The first are some simple Cantors, or vocall singers, who though they seeme excellent in their blinde Division-making, are meerely ignorant, even in the first elements of Musicke, and also in the true order of the mutation of the Hexachord in the Systeme (which has been approved by all the learned and skilfull men of Christendome, this 800 yeeres,) yet do these fellowes give their verdict of me behinde my backe, and say, what I doe is after the old manner; but I will speake openly to them, and would have them know that the proudest Cantor of them, dares not oppose himself face to face against me. The second are young-men, professors of the Lute, who vaunt themselves, to the disparagement of such as have beene before their time, (wherein I my selfe am a party) that there never was the like of them.11

45 Inigo Jones A Street in Perspective, from The Vision of Delight 1617 © Devonshire Collection, Chatsworth. Reproduced by permission of Chatsworth Settlement Trustees

Dowland goes on to include a third category of critics – lutenists from abroad (‘divers strangers from beyond the seas’) who criticize the lute technique of Dowland’s English contemporaries. As this preface makes clear, the hexachord mnemonic on the table is there to exonerate Lanier from any charge that he might just be a simple ‘cantor’ – someone who can sing and ornament without any real understanding of the fundamentals of music theory. By Lanier’s time the hexachord had become almost a symbol for music theory rather than



its actual foundation12 though composers (notably Alfonso Ferrabosco again) continued to write complexly contrapuntal viol fantasias using the hexachord as a theme. (There is no real evidence that Lanier would have been capable of such erudition.) Lanier might even have been one of the young lutenists that had wounded Dowland by implying that he was old-fashioned. For his part, Lanier was associated with the trendy avant-garde. He is strongly linked with the introduction of the recitative style into England. In other words, Lanier – more than any other English musician – seems to have been responsible for forging a vocal style that took account of the principles of the seconda prattica, a style born in Florence at beginning of the century that had as an ideal the creation of a modern idiom for declaiming declamatory texts that would somehow embody the principles of ancient Greek drama.The result was viewed as a kind of heightened speech, something that lay somewhere between spoken declamation and song. The key early exponents of the seconda prattica were Jacopo Peri, Giulio Caccini, and the great Claudio Monteverdi. The claim that Lanier created an English recitative style first comes in the 1640 folio text of Ben Jonson’s Works in relation to Lovers Made Men where we read that ‘the whole Maske was sung (after the Italian manner) Stile recitativo, by Master Nicholas Lanier; who ordered and made both the Scene, and the Musicke.’13 The same source tells us that The Vision of Delight began when ‘Delight spake in song’ (stile recitativo). ‘Spake in song’ comes quite close to the phrase ‘favellare in armonia’, used by Caccini in the preface to Le Nuove Musiche (Florence, 1601), to describe the new technique.) The complications surrounding the 1640 folio’s references to recitative have been much discussed, but there can be little doubt about Lanier’s willingness to represent an English declamatory style as equivalent to the innovations of the Florentine camerata. His (undatable) Hero and Leander has obvious Italian analagoues. (Monteverdi’s Il combatimento di Tancredi e Clordinda would be the most widely known today.) Interest in Italian monody ran high in the decade that produced both of these productions and The Somerset Masque.14 Angelo Notari, a member of first Prince Henry’s and then Prince Charles’s musicians, published his Prime Musiche Nuove (fig.50) containing some examples in the style in 1613. The brief Lanier song from The Somerset Masque is declamatory. It may be that it gives a glimpse of what Lanier and his contemporaries thought of as the English equivalent of stile recitativo. It also exists (with a completely different set of words) in a version that is highly ornamented – a prime example of the ‘blind division making’ that Dowland held in contempt. The Lanier of the portrait and the Lanier of masque history are one: versatile, a sophisticated connoisseur with a strong interest in Italian music and art, a skilled practitioner with a strong grounding in theory.These are all attributes that fit well with Castiglione’s ideal of the courtier – an ideal that was propagated in seventeenth-century England through publications like Henry Peacham’s Compleat Gentleman (London, 1622).

✻ ✻ ✻ ✻


11. E. Doughtie, Lyrics from English Airs 1596-1622, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1970, p. 400. 12. See Rebecca Herissone, Music Theory in Seventeenth-Century England, Oxford: OUP, 2000, pp. 77ff on the decline of the hexachord system. 13. Ben Johnson, vii, p. 454. 14. The writer discusses this whole question in detail in Music in the English Courtly Masque, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996, pp. 86-103.


46 Sextus Rauchwolff Lute Augsburg, 1596 Š Benjamin Hebbert


THE LUTE AND THE LUTENIST ~ B e n j a m i n H e bb e r t


he lute in the portrait of Nicholas Lanier is the largest and arguably the most significant object chosen to visually express his identity and status as a musician. However, the ideas behind its representation and what it is intended to mean are not as straightforward as might at first appear. Major elements of the lute are painted with an intentional lack of detail, so that the representation would have been puzzling to the eyes of the educated seventeenth-century viewer. In particular, the soundhole is represented by a black void, even though there is evidence within the paint layers that the expected geometrical rosette that is standard in lute-making was intended to have decorated this space.This aspect of the Lanier portrait is inconsistent with the fastidious manner in which other elements of the lute have been depicted. The ribs of the instrument are painted to reveal the figure of quarter-sawn maple and the lustre of red varnish. The strings are likewise drawn with an attention that echoes the detail of the ebonised and gilt frames of the paintings in the background.Their thickness relative to one another is specifically graded, whilst careful shading of each string gives an impression of its roundness and height above the body of the instrument. An explanation for this seeming contradiction can be proposed; the lute is a different category of object from the statuette and paintings in the background, which are made in order to communicate autonomous narratives particular to Lanier’s intended biography. The lute, however, is not intended to represent music as an achievement, but as a means of directing the viewer to the personification of music, Nicholas Lanier himself. The evidence that supports such a conclusion is that the mottled texture of the soundboard is deliberately executed to resemble the marbled background, the table cloth, and Lanier’s own informal clothing – creating an unobtrusive context against which the meaningful narratives, rendered in exceptional detail, stand out. Hence it is Lanier’s relationship to the lute, as seen through the positioning of his hands, and other elements of his posture, rather than the instrument itself, that is intended to convey a message about his abilities and status as a musician. It is likely that Lanier would have played a lute of status, although insufficient evidence is presented in order to draw specific conclusions about the type of lute depicted or any importance that this particular lute may have had. The outline of the instrument, the dimensions and placement of the soundhole all point towards a typical northern European lute of the sixteenth century by a maker trained in Füssen or influenced by the city’s traditions. The lute would have certainly begun life with only six courses of strings and been rebuilt for nine courses as this became fashionable. The illustrated example from 1596 (fig.46) made by Sextus Rauwolf (active in Augsburg) has much in common with the outline of this instrument, as does the lute depicted in Holbein’s Ambassadors painted in 1533 (fig.47). Similar examples survive by Hans Gerle in Innsbruck and Wendelin Venere who settled in Padua from the late sixteenth century, but serve only to demonstrate how broad the possibilities for its origin may be. Whilst this aspect of the lute’s character appears to be reliable, the positioning of the lute caused some problems for the artist. Katherine Ara has pointed out two pentimenti in the placing of the pegbox (one just to the left of the top, and another just below it indicating two different positions in the paint layers). Further pentimenti below the bottom of the lute may indicate that at one point a significantly larger instrument had been intended.



Nicholas Lanier, as a twenty-five year-old lutenist in 1613, would have been conscious of the enormous change that the instrument and its repertoire had undergone in his own lifetime. An illustration of this rate of change is given by Sir Francis Kynaston, writing in the 1630s that ‘I have heard that even in the beginning of Queene Elizabeth’s reign the musick was so poore that those Lutenists that first began to strike 3 or 4 strings at once in part were wondered at as going beyond the usual way of play upon one string at once, & were called Graspers, but now Musick is growne’.1 Before 1600 lutes had only been made with six courses of strings like the sort depicted in Hans Holbein’s Ambassadors (fig.47) or in Nicholas Hilliard’s miniature of Elizabeth I from c.1576 (Berkeley Castle). As musicians became more virtuosic, their instruments were adapted to provide greater versatility and potential. Lutes that had been adapted for nine courses of strings were introduced to France by 1600,2 and had crossed the Channel by 1603.3 After the publication of John Dowland’s Lachrimae in the following year, this type of lute became the most sophisticated symbol of lute playing possible in England. Just as the number of strings of Lanier’s lute reflects the most modern styles of musicianship, his playing technique is represented with great care, revealing an equally novel style. His right hand forms around the strings with the thumb projecting upwards (rather than following the traditional style in which the thumb is tucked under the palm of the hand). In 1613 the two techniques of lute playing were undergoing transition. Jean-Baptiste Besard advocated the more modern style of playing in Thesaurus Harmonicus (Paris, 1603), but it is evident that the older manner was still widely used: Nicholas Vallet derided the older style as ‘an ugly and ridiculous fault’ in Secretum Musarum (Amsterdam, 1615). In England, Besard’s ideas were published by Robert Dowland in 1610 as part of A Varietie of Lute Lessons (London, 1610), providing the following description of playing:

47 Hans Holbein the Younger The Ambassadors 1533 © The National Gallery, London

First, set your little finger on the belly of the LUTE, not towards the Rose, but a little lower, stretch out your Thombe with all the force you can, especially if thy Thombe be short so that the other fingers may be carried in a manner of a fist, and let the Thombe be higher then them, this in the beginning will be hard.Yet they which have a short Thombe may imitate those which strike the strings with the Thombe under the other fingers, which though it be nothing so elegant, yet to them it will be more easie.4



Close observation of Lanier’s hand position shows that it is dropped relative to the strings, indicating that he has just completed the motion of plucking a chord, providing the first indication that the painting is attempting to capture a moment of musical performance, rather than simply depicting a man holding a lute. Lanier’s left hand is painted to reveal that he is playing a minor chord. Because we don’t know how this lute was tuned, it is not possible to be definitive as to what chord he is playing, even though there is great effort on the part of the artist to depict the hand in precise detail.5 However, this is sufficient to convey that it is consistent with melancholic themes. This characteristic is reinforced through the allusions to melancholy that are projected through the meaning expressed on the little piece of paper on the table. Perhaps, however, the informed reader can indulge a further step in reading the painting: Lanier’s facial expression is formed with his lips poised, neither open nor closed, as if to capture the contemplative silence and stillness that follows the termination of a moment of song. If this is the case, in its evocation of a type of performed silence, the painting becomes an extraordinary and effective essay in the capture of a real moment in musical experience. These elements become more interesting if we contemplate the meaning of the moment of music that has been captured. It could be the final chord of a lute song ringing on until it can be heard no longer, but such a statement would have implications of memento mori, which seems opposed to the general theme of the painting. Instead, if this silence is to represent the punctuation of stanzas in the recitation of a classical ode, the painting represents not only the essential nature of the recitativo style, but demonstrates the characteristics that differentiate it from earlier forms of lute song in which dense instrumentation provides a continual body of sound from the beginning to the end of a given piece.The proposition that the musical nature of the work is classical is substantiated by the heroic figure of Lanier, the text of the epigram on the sheet of paper, and the positioning of the statuette of Antinous, posed as if listening approvingly to the lute. Just as everything else about the performance indicates a new form of lute playing, unknown or rare in England only a few years earlier, the musical expression likewise reflects the new recitativo style that was entirely novel for the lute in England when Lanier performed ‘Bring away this sacred tree’ in Campion’s Somerset Masque of 1613. Lanier’s posture, as shown again in Guido Reni’s later portrait drawing, follows classical Roman imagery, implying that the sitter has greater capabilities than simply those of a musician and connoisseur, but exhibits the properties of a hero from ancient times, capable of physical feats in equal measure to his achievements as an aesthete.The presence of his strong, muscular forearm with the sleeve rolled up is one of the most noticeable features of the composition, and successfully reinforces this masculine image. Although Lanier is plucking a lute and the arm crosses over the lower strings, there is no musical need for this and it is not a necessary way of preventing his garments from interfering with the strings, and is found only very rarely in Continental paintings of lutenists. One reason for the rolled up sleeve is the relaxed and intimate theme of the painting, in which his style of dress adds to the image of informality that is communicated by the artist.The pose, however, provides the pretext for the painter to engage in a detailed study of the forearm, placing enormous emphasis on muscle structure and texture. The result is comparable to Abraham van Blijenberch’s remarkable portrait of Ben Jonson (c.1617) whose weatherbeaten face likewise indicates a rugged side to his life beyond the advancement of the arts (fig.18).6


1. GB-Obl MS. Add. C. 287, II, 156 2. The earliest printed repertoire for the nine-course lute is Antoine Francisque’s Le Trésor d’Orphee (1600), followed by Besard’s Theasaurus Harmonicus (1603) 3. They are referred to in Thomas Robinson’s The Schoole of Musicke, (London, 1603) 4. Robert Dowland, Varietie of Lute Lessons, (London, 1610) 5. I am grateful to Benjamin Narvey (Sorbonne University) for his assistance and explanations concerning lutetechnique. The minor key is demonstrated through the 4-3 suspension. The key of the piece cannot be determined because there are a number of possible tunings for the lute. The most likely tuning is A, in which case the chord is C-minor, in a G tuning the chord would be Bb-minor. Both possibilities seem appropriate since Lanier often composed in flat keys.


Much of the rationale for this masculine agenda reflects the new priorities of the Stuart court, which were directed towards a male monarch, after half a century in which England had been under female rule. However, there was perhaps a more pressing need for Lanier to be seen as a masculine figure that related to events that had taken place within the royal musical establishment in 1613, something that was ‘notorious to all the world’. Following the marriage of Princess Elizabeth (fig. 48) to Frederick the Elector Palatine in February 1613, rumours emerged at court concerning the sexual impropriety of the musician John Bull involving a number of his young female students. Having been entrusted with the musical education of the princess prior to her marriage, it hardly mattered whether or not he had made improper advances towards this particular pupil, for the very suggestion was sufficient to humiliate the monarchy, with potential to jeopardise the marriage and imperil the Protestant alliance. Rumours must have been spreading in the English court as early as April 1613, two months following the marriage, when John Bull asked for his letters-patent for £40 a year to be transferred to his daughter. In August he fled England for the Netherlands, finding temporary employment in the court of Archduke Albert in Brussels until petitions from James I made it politically untenable for the archduke to harbour an enemy of the British state. Bull never returned to England and in December articles were laid against him in the Court of High Commission. The Archbishop of Canterbury, George Abbott wrote that ‘The man hath more music than honesty and is as famous for marring of virginity as he is for fingering of organs and virginals’. On 30 May 1614, Sir William Trumbull, British envoy at Brussels, wrote to the king, relaying Bull’s guilt for being an adulterer but maintaining his innocence from any wrongdoing towards the royal household: I told him [the Archduke Albert], that I had charge from your Majestie to acquiant him that your Majestie upon knowledge of his recieving Dr. Bull your Majesties organist and sworne servant into his chappel, without your Majesties permission or consent, or once so much as speaking thereof to me, that I am resyding here for your Majesties affairs: that your Majesty did justly find it straunge as you were his friend and ally, and had never used the like proceeding either towards him or any other foreign prince; adding, that the like course was not practized among private persons, much less among others of greater place and dignity. And I told him plainly, that it was notorious to all the world, the said Bull did not leave your Majesties service for any wrong done unto him, or for matter of religion, under which fained pretext he now sought to wrong the reputation of your Majesties justice, but did in that dishonest matter steal out of England through the guilt of a corrupt conscience, to escape the punishment, which notoriously he had deserved, and was designed to have been inflicted on him by the hand of justice, for his incontinence, fornication, adultery, and other grievous crimes.7 6. NPG, 27527. 7. Harry R. Hoppe, ‘John Bull in the Archduke Albert’s Service’, Music & Letters, XXXV, pp. 114-115. 8. Baldassare Castiglione, The First Booke of the Courtyer, (1561), unpag. 9. Philip Stubbes,The Anatomie of Abuses (London, 1583) unpag. 10. CSP Venetian, 1626-1628, (1914), 93. See Ian Spink, “Another Gaultier Affair”, Music and Letters,Vol. 45, No. 4 (Oct., 1964) pp. 345-347.

These events in 1613 were clearly very serious for all members of the royal musical establishment and those in its orbit, and although there is no direct connection between John Bull’s fate and Nicholas Lanier’s portrait, nonetheless the coincidence of both the scandal and the date of the painting should not be dismissed too quickly, for, as we shall see, both relate to ideas about the gender of music that were in the foreground of musical discussion in the sixteenth and early seventeenth century. Music was a great food for the mind that was potent at softening the breasts of women and piercing their hearts, but herein lay an inherent problem, for it was easy for a man who practiced this art too



diligently to succumb to the same effeminising effects, becoming less manly as a result – like Cupid driven to uncontrollable love when pierced by his own arrow - less capable of restraint and self control. As Baldassare Castiglione expressed it: For if we wey it wel, there is no ease of labours, and medicines of feeble mindes to be found more honest and more prayse worthie in time of leisure than it [that is, music]. And principally in Courts, where (beside the refreshing of vexations that musicke bringeth unto eche man) many things are taken in hande to please women withal, whose tender and soft breastes are soone pierced with melodie, and filled with sweetenesse.Therefore no marvaile that in olde times and nowe a dayes they have always beene inclined to Musitions, and counted this a most acceptable foode of the mynde. Then the Lorde Gaspar, I believe Musicke (quoth he) together with many other vanityes is meete for women, and peradventure for some also that have the likenesse of men, but not for them that bee men indeede: who ought not with such delicacies to womanishe their myndes, and bring themselves in that sort to dread death.8 These concerns remained essential to the understanding of music and its purpose. It followed, according to one commentator in 1583, that if music was used virtuously, ‘it would comfort man wonderfully, and moove his hart to serve God the better, but being used as it is, it corrupteth good minds, maketh them womanish and inclined to all kinde of whordom and mischief ’.9 Examples of musicians who had been corrupted by their own power could be found in recent English history: the lutenist, Mark Smeton (15121536), was tortured and beheaded as an adulteror of Anne Boleyn; north of the border, the Italian lute player, David Riccio (1533-1566), was bloodily murdered as the lover of Mary, Queen of Scots. To the Jacobean court, the fall of John Bull was simply another example. In 1627 Lanier’s rival in the court of Charles I was the French lutenist Jacques Gaultier who was imprisoned and tortured in the Tower of London.The reasons for his punishment are not known, but Alvise Contarini reported a rumour back to Venice that ‘he boasted that by the dulcet tones of the lute he could make his way even into the royal bed and he had been urged to do so in a manner that became well-nigh nauseous’.10 As an upcoming musician hungry for patronage and royal approval in 1613, masculinity had become an essential aspect of Lanier’s musical identity that was vital for securing the advancement that would eventually make him Master of the King’s Musick.

48 Attributed to Michiel Jansz. van Miereveld Elizabeth Stuart, Queen of Bohemia c.1616

✻ ✻ ✻ ✻


©The Weiss Gallery


49 The epigram Th he ep epig igra ig raam ram


THE EPIGRAM ~ B e n j a m i n H e bb e r t


n the table in the foreground of the portrait of Nicholas Lanier is a little sheet of paper upon which the epigram ‘VT RElevet MIserum FAtum SOLitosque LAbores’ is inscribed (fig.49).The context for this is evidently linked to Lanier’s musical identity because it is based upon the Guidonian six-note musical scale (the precursor to the modern do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, te, do).The epigram was well known throughout Europe by the middle of the seventeenth century. In Bologna the music publisher Giacomo Monti used it on the frontispieces of many of his publications. In London, John Playford published a setting of the epigram by John Hilton as a canon in the songbook Catch that Catch Can in 1652. He noted it in the 1658 edition of A Brief Introduction to the Skill of Musick and in the 1660 edition he observed that it had been composed by a ‘modern author’. In the eighteenth century, Leopold Mozart and Sébastien de Brossard both attributed the epigram to the Italian theorist, Angelo Berardi (1636 – 1694).1 In the early seventeenth century the Dutch humanist scholar Gerrit Vos (who was influential in England) reported erroneously in De quatuor Artibus popularibus (published posthumously at Amsterdam in 1650) that the epigram had been written shortly after the time of Guido of Arezzo for the purpose of impressing the six syllables of music upon the learner’s memory.2 According to a letter dated 17 October 1634 (published in 1650), James Howell a clerk of the Privy Council wrote that the Germans ‘will drink the number of his years, and though he be not apt to break out into singing, being not of so airy a constitution, yet he will drink often musically a health to every one of these 6. notes, Ut, Re, Me, Fa, Sol, La, which his reason, are all comprehended in this Exameter. Ut Relevet Miserum Fatum Solitosque Labores.’3

Despite all of this, the epigram appears to have been little known in England in the first half of the seventeenth century. It is not present, for example, in the various English Epigrammata books by John Owen (1606 and 1612), Sir John Stradling (1607) or John Reynolds (1611), and therefore the Lanier painting is a particularly early – possibly the first – use of it in England. The origin of the epigram appears to have been German, and it can be attributed to Adam Gumpelzhaimer (1559–1625), kantor and Präzeptor at the school and church of St Anna in Augsburg. The earliest source is his Compendium musicae latinum-germanicum, a highly influential textbook upon the rudiments of music designed for his students at St Anna that was first published in 1591 and underwent thirteen editions in the ninety years that followed.4 Here it forms the response in the following epigram: Cur adhibes tristi numeros cantumque labori? UT RElevet MIserum FAtum SOLitosque LAbores Why do you apply numbers and song to grievous labour? That it may relieve wretched fate and accustomed labours. 5 Within the Lanier portrait, the sheet of paper bearing the epigram takes on several meanings and becomes a nexus within the interplay between Lanier and the statuette of the Belvedere Antinous.The association of the quill with the piece of paper does not, in this case, suggest that Lanier was the author. Instead, it implies that his musical identity was tied into the intellectual ideologies that are represented by the epigram. To even


1. I am grateful to Kerry McCarthy (Duke University), Leofranc HolfroydStrevens (Oxford University Press), Carrie Churnside (Birmingham University), Justin Haynes (University of Toronto), for their assistance in tracing the origins and usage of this epigram. 2. C. S. M. Rademaker, ‘Vossius, Gerardus Joannes (1577–1649)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford, 2004. 3. James Howell, Epistolae Ho-Elinæ. Familiar Letters Domestic and Forren, London, 1650. 76. This is re-asserted in by Jeremy Taylor in, A course of sermons for All the Sundaies Of the Year, London, 1653. 4. Although Compendium musicae latinum-germanicum was influential in Germany, it is unlikely to have had significant reception in England owing to the publication of A Plaine and Easie Introduction to the Skill of Musick by Thomas Morley in 1597 which served as an English-language treatise on the same subject. It is noteworthy, however, that English interest in German texts of an earlier period had led to the lutenist John Dowland translating Musicae activae micrologus in 1609, originally written by Andrea Ornithoparchus in 1517. 5. My thanks to Leofranc Holford Strevens of Oxford University Press for his translation. He adds that ‘numeros’ may mean number, meter, rhythm, or melody, but suggests ‘numbers and song’ equate to ‘verse and music’.


the casual musical theorist of the period, the first letters of each word are written in Roman capitals in order to represent the ancient syllables of the six-note scale that had been discovered by Guido of Arezzo in the eleventh century. In turn, this had represented the rediscovery of the rudiments of musical theory as it had been practised in Classical Greece and Rome. John Dowland described it thus in his translation of Andreas Ornithoparcus his Micrologus (London, 1609): ‘Guido Aretinus a Monke, led by a divine inspiration, devoutly examining the Hymn of Saint John Baptist, marked, that the sixe capital syllables of the Verses, viz,Vt, Re Mi, Fa, Sol, La, did agree with musical Concords. Wherefore he applyed them in the chords of his introductory: which devise Iohannes the 22. Bishop of Rome allowed’.6 Although Guido’s foundations of music theory had been the mainstay of music theory throughout the Medieval and Renaissance periods, emphasis on this element is important in reaffirming the classical traditions that Lanier was exploring as a musician in his development of the declamatory ayre and recitative style in England.Therefore, the learned reader is educated about the nature of the music being performed by the sitter in the painting. The type of lute song that he sings, must implicitly belong to this new neo-Classical genre.

6. John Dowland, Andreas Ornithoparcus, His Micrologus, London, 1609, p.6. Use of the six-note scale was nothing particularly new or revolutionary in England in itself. It is referenced in Thomas Morley’s A Plaine and Easie Introduction to Practicall Musick, London, 1597, as it had been in virtually every music treatise since the time of Guido, and formed the basis of a keyboard fantasia by William Byrd in My Ladye Nevells Booke, compiled in 1591 (see John Harley, William Byrd, Gentleman of the Chapel Royal, Aldershot, 1997, p. 171. Numbers MB 28/64 and as second version written later, apparently as a lesson for a pupil is 28/58 in Alan Brown, William Byrd. Keyboard Music, London, 1976). 7. The postscript to the title of the engraved edition of 1613 reads ‘Novamente poste in luce’, which implies that this was a second edition. I am grateful to Alberto Sanna, St Anne’s College, Oxford, for an explanation of this convention.

In this respect, the script with its references to classical epigrams, and the six-note scale of the ancients is immediately evocative of the new baroque ideas that were settling in England during this period. In Italy a movement had grown amongst musicians who spanned from Venice to Florence to Rome, amongst whom ideas of composition developed that were based upon speculation as to the nature of the lost music of the Greeks. They abandoned the polyphonic style of the Renaissance and gave greater prominence to the solo voice. Amongst the early publications of this monophonic style was Guilio Caccini’s Le Nuove Musiche printed at Venice in 1602. In England responses to this new style emerged from 1610 within the context of the court of Henry, Prince of Wales. The Paduan lutenist, Angelo Notari (1566–1663) probably arrived in England that year and provides early evidence of the development of this movement within the English context. He was a member of the household of the Prince of Wales in time to be granted mourning livery at the funeral, and to be paid £50 in arreas of his pension, but the date of his arrival is not known. It is likely that Notari arrived in England, presumably with a presentation manuscript of his compositions for Prince Henry (now lost).7 Notari appears to have competed for patronage from Prince Henry with Robert Dowland, who in A Varietie of Lute Lessons (London, 1610) had appealed to his potential patron by casting himself as the heir to the title of ‘English Orpheus’ following in the footsteps of his father, just as the young Prince of Wales stood in the shadow of succession. The competition to Dowland’s campaign that came from a continental rival (hence the speculated date of Notari’s arrival) led to Dowland’s second publication that year, A Musicall Banquet (London, 1610), in which he compared himself within the pantheon of great lute players, including amongst his repertoire the earliest English printings of Italian ayres in the new style by ‘Giulio Caccini detto Romano’, and ‘Dominico Maria Megli’. Following the death of Prince Henry, an engraved version of Notari’s presentation work, entitled Prime Musiche Nuove di Angelo Notari a una, due, et tre Voci, per Cantare con la Tiorba, et altrie Strumenti, Novamente poste in luce, was dedicated to Robert Carr, Duke of Somerset (then the king’s favourite) and gives the date of publication as 24 November 1613. The work had additional importance, because it was executed in intaglio on copperplate by William Hole and was the second musical work in which this technique was employed


T H E E P I G R A M : V T R E l e ve t M I s e r u m FA t u m S O L i t o s q u e L A b o r e s

50 Angelo Notari Frontispiece for Prime Musiche Nuove 1613 Š The British Library, London



in England. Parthenia, or the Maydenhead of the First Musicke that ever was Printed for the Virginalls, published in 1612, was the first. It was also engraved by Hole and contained music by William Byrd, Dr John Bull and Orlando Gibbons, having been compiled as a celebration of the wedding of Princess Elizabeth to the Elector Palatine. The design of the frontispiece of Prime Musiche Nuove di Angelo Notari had further importance because it represented a radical departure from Hole’s ordinary output of virtuosic and highly ornate frontispieces following an Elizabethan Renaissance idiom (fig.50). Instead, it is an early example in the Palladian form that was being explored by such architects as Inigo Jones. Without being a copy as such, and showing its own originality, it is referential to the elite musical texts from Italy. Most notably, it stands comparison with Madrigale di Luzasco Luzzacschi per cantare et sonare A uno e’ duo e’ tre’ soprani (Rome, 1601), monodies, composed in the 1560s by Luzzasco Luzzaschi (1545-1607) but protected by the Duke Alphonso d’Este of Ferrara who prevented their distribution.8 After the Duke’s death they were printed in 1601, and Luzzaschi appears to have sought the most modern printer in order to produce the work, choosing Simon Verrovio in Rome as the publisher of the engraved opus. Further Italian engraved works were produced in the decade that followed, and similar frontispieces in the Palladian style ornament them. Hence, by 1613 Italian idioms of nuove musiche were highly symbolic of a new vogue for all things continental. Robert Dowland had failed in his attempts to become the Prince’s lutenist in 1610 because he represented too much of the old English traditions that extended from the Elizabethan times and were now falling out of favour, whilst Italian lutenists versed in the latest monophonic styles were in much demand. Caught between these two extremes of taste, Lanier expresses his allegiance to the new genre through the use of an epigram that is designed, by its use of the six-note scale, to make reference to the same ancient principles that were being explored by Caccini, Notari and their Italian milieu. The meaning of the epigram, ‘may it relieve wretched fate and accustomed labours’ provides a powerful concordance with the ideology of musicianship. It is ambiguous whether ‘it’ is a reference to the act of a gentleman in the act of making music, or the service of a professional musician to his patron. Both could apply. By telling us what purpose music serves, the script provides a defence of the musical subject from the corrupting and effeminating influence of music that had been a consistent concern throughout the preceedeing century, examined by Baldassare Castiglione and broadened by commentators who followed him. Instead, the image of The Liberation of St Peter reminds us that the subject matter is the elevation of man’s soul, whilst the nature of the performance is framed in terms of the ability of music to purge melancholy. For if we weigh it well, wrote Castiglione ‘there is no ease of the labours and medicines of feeble mindes to be founde more honeste and more praise worthye in tyme’ than music.9 Within this context, John Dowland had written Lachrimae Pavane (‘Flow my tears’) in 1596 which effectively became a metaphysical expression of his own self and status as a musician, signing his name on various occasions as ‘Jo. Dolandi de Lachrimae’. Following the death of Elizabeth I of England, and whilst serving as lutenist to King Christian IV of Denmark, Dowland had come to London in order to lobby James I for the court position that he had failed to secure under Elizabeth’s reign.10 Whilst there he published his sophisticated elaborations upon the theme, Lachrimae, or Seaven Teares figured in Seaven Passionnate Pavans (London, 1604) as part of his attempt to seek favour and a court appointment from James I. Following the theme, Thomas Ford wrote the lute song, ‘A pill to purge melancholy’ in 1607,11 and likewise Lanier is depicted in the moment of


R E S TO R AT I O N A N D R E V E L AT I O N ~ K a t h e r i n e A r a THE RESTORATION


he portrait of Nicholas Lanier was cleaned and restored in the London studio over the summer and autumn of 2009 (figs.53 & 54). The restoration afforded an excellent opportunity to examine more closely both the nature of the materials used by the artist and his technique. Cleaning involved removal of dirt, several non-original discoloured varnish layers and a considerable amount of crudely executed overpaint liberally applied over the background. The removal of these obscuring layers revealed the quality and nature of the original paint as well as the full extent of paint loss and damage. Most of this damage was due to flaking and loss to the ground and paint layers as a consequence of movement of the panel in the past. Further damage had been done in an earlier restoration where the painting had been transferred from its original panel support to a new canvas. During the transfer, the original surface had been planed down along the old joins in an attempt to ‘improve’ the surface. 1 After the cleaning, tiny samples from the paint and ground were taken for analysis in order that more could be discovered about the nature of the materials and techniques of the artist.2 Cleaning revealed very many beautifully executed details in the painting, previously concealed by overpaint: the extravagant curling wisps of the sitter’s hair (fig.51), the veins of marbling in the background3 and the prominent veins on the sitter’s forearm, as well as the bravura quality of the more painterly passages of the flesh tones and the sitter’s white linen shirt (fig.52). A picture rail or shelf was discovered running along the right-hand side of the top edge of the painting. More of the epigram on the paper was also revealed and was subsequently deciphered; the letters to the left ‘VT’ and ‘FAt’ had been completely obscured by overpaint, removal of which allowed the hexameter to be transcribed and translated.4 The attribution of The Liberation of St Peter to Hendrick van Steenwyck the Younger, depicted hanging behind the sitter was accepted before restoration. This was further confirmed by the discovery of the majority of a signature and date, ‘S…..NWICK 1613’ inscribed on the floor in front of the figure of St Peter. Before the removal of overpaint, the true quality of the adjacent, intriguing image of an artist painting an oval portrait was not apparent. This part of the painting was formerly thought to be rather naïve and it had been suggested that it was executed by Lanier himself.5 Fine details revealed within the little painting included a glass vessel and two brushes on the shelf of the easel, and a shelf within the pictorial space lined with painting materials.The main revelation was the sophistication of the handling of the heads of the sitter and the unknown artist who, instead of facing directly to the left, is depicted with his head turned towards the viewer, engaging us in a dialogue. After cleaning, old filling material to losses that did not match the surface of the painting was removed and the decision was taken to reline the painting on to a new canvas support.6 After completion of this structural work an isolating brush varnish was applied to saturate the colours and protect the original surface of the paint before areas of loss to the paint and ground were filled and textured to match that of the original. Due to the high quality and good state of preservation of key passages of the painting, the sitter’s face and hands, the lute and the sculpture, it was decided to retouch areas of loss


1. During the transfer of the painting, the original support was removed and replaced with a new one. In this case the wooden panel was removed, and the paint and ground attached to a new canvas. This process became quite fashionable in the nineteenth century before the advent of environmental controls. Exposure to extreme variations in relative humidity and temperature can cause severe movements in the panel which may result in the paint and ground flaking away. By totally or partially removing the panel the response to changes in the environment is reduced. The integrity of the painting, however, is not respected and the risk of damage during the transfer process is high. From a telephone conversation with the previous owner the panel is thought to have been transferred in the 1970’s. 2. The samples were taken by Bronwyn Leone and were set and examined by Libby Sheldon Paint Analysis, University College London. 3. It has been suggested by Sir Roy Strong that this veining may depict marbled wood panelling. 4. The author is grateful to Lynne Povey for translating the hexameter ‘UT RElevem MIserum FAt(um) SOLitumque LAborem’ discussed in Benjamin Hebbert’s paper in this publication. 5. Christie’s sale catalogue London, 8 July 2009, lot 187. 6. This decision was taken in order to provide better support for the paint and ground layers as the old lining canvas was delaminating. A new stretcher was constructed as the old one did not provide adequate support.


53 Before restoration



54 After restoration



and damage to a high level. The reconstruction of the paint layers followed the artist’s technique exactly. First the ground layers were simulated, then the imprimatura before the underpainting and body colour. Final transparent glazes were imitated at the last stage of retouching. Several further applications of varnish were made to saturate the paint layers and to unify the surface of the painting. Valuable information was gleaned during the cleaning and retouching of the painting, which was pieced together with the results of the technical analysis provided by Libby Sheldon.7 Analysis of this material allows us to see how the painting was planned and executed, and the nature of the materials and techniques used by the artist. THE STRUCTURE OF THE PAINTING The Support In northern Europe, where there was a great availability of wood, panels were more widely used than canvas in the early seventeenth century. Our portrait was originally executed on a panel comprising three vertically joined planks of wood. It had been entirely transferred onto canvas in an earlier treatment, believed to have been undertaken in the 1970s, and tiny fragments of the original wood have remained stuck to the lining canvas at both edges.These were revealed during the removal of old retouching and filling material. These wood fragments appear to be oak.8 This residual wood present at both edges may bear witness to the original dimensions of the panel. Strips of the original paint and ground approximately three centimetres wide on the left and right hand edges are missing, presumably lost in the transfer process. Taking into account these missing strips the three planks of wood would have been of very similar widths. An old lining canvas and wax adhesive were removed in the recent treatment, and replaced with a new linen canvas using a modern synthetic adhesive.9 The existing dimensions of the painting were retained. The Ground

7. Libby Sheldon, Technical report on the Portrait of Nicholas Lanier 8. The identification of oak cannot be confirmed as there is insufficient remaining to sample. 9. It was decided to use the synthetic adhesive BEVA, rather than a traditional glue paste, in order to reduce the risk that introduction of water might pose to the stability of the painting during the relining. 10. See Henry Peacham, ‘The Complete Gentleman', Mansfield Kirby Talley, Portrait Painting in England: Studies in the Technical Literature Before 1700, London, 1981. 11. The reflectogram was made by Tager Stoner Richardson. 12. Photograph provided by Jennifer McNair.

Samples taken from better preserved areas of the painting indicate that the panel was covered with quite a thick layer of white chalk which would probably have been bound with glue. The thick ground must have been laid on in several applications, although individual layers cannot be distinguished, and was probably scraped down with a knife 10 to make it very smooth and even in order to facilitate meticulously detailed work. This type of ground was commonly applied to paintings on panel of northern European origin and was referred to as ‘whiting’. The Underdrawing The portrait was examined using infrared reflectography and although the resulting image was not very clear, perhaps due to the presence of the overlying imprimatura, close comparison of the infrared reflectogram11 with the painting indicates there is some underdrawing (fig.58).12 This underdrawing appears to have been executed in a dry medium, possibly charcoal, directly on top of the chalk ground. It seems quite cursory



55 Detail showing the underlying grey stripy imprimatura providing cool pearly tones through the paint of the flesh.



56 Detail off th the D De taililil o ta he cr ccross-section rossosss-se s--se sect ctiio cti ct on o off ppaint aintt tthrough ai h ou hr ough gh the thee sshadow sh had adow ow in in forearm. fore fo rear ear arm. rm m.. The Th hee dark dar a k particles parttiiccle pa less at tthe he may bbottom bo bott ott ttom om m om ayy be be particles paarrttic icl cless off tthe he ddrawing he rraawi wing ng matemat ateerial imprimatura. ri ial embedded emb m ed dddeed in in tthe he iimp he mprr im mp maatu atu tura ra. Above ra ra. Abov Ab ovee th this is tthe he he pink tones composed lead ppi ink n llayer ayyerr of of the th he flesh esh to es onees is ccom ompo om p se po sedd off llea eaad white, w wh ite, it e, vermilion vver e mi er mililion lion n and andd red red ed lake lak akee and and on on top top of of this th hiss purplish shadow lake a pu purp rplilish rp sh ssha hado dow do w is achieved aach ch chie hieve veed with wiith w ith h a red red ed llak akee azurite blue. andd az an azur urit itee bbl lue ue.. 577 Detail raking light indicated D De tail off the lu llute tee sstring trin tr ing in rrak akin ak kin ing ng liligh ght in gh indi d ca di c te t d incising underlying by incis ising lillines nes in into to tthe he u he nder nd erly er lyin ly in ing ng pa ppaint. int. in t. 58 58 Detail infrared Deta De taailil o off th the he in infr nfr frar ared ar d pphotograph hoto hoto ho togr togr g ap aph ph showing sh how o in ng stripy imprimatura underlying the paint th the he st tri ripy ipyy im mpr p im imat attura urra u nder nd erly er lyin ly yin ing tth ing he pa ain nt of o sitter’s underthee ssi th itt tter err’ss hand han and in and in addition addit dddiittio i n to o tthe he u nder nd errerrevision been made ddrawing. dr a in aw ing. ing. g A sslight liligh igh ght revi re evi v si sion on nh has a bbee as een ee n ma m ade de tto o th thee drawing along off th wrist. dr rawin aw win ingg al alo ong th on ong tthe he to ttop opp line liine n o thee wr w i tt.. is



and there is no indication of modelling. Possible lines of repositioning of the top edge of the lute can be seen with the naked eye, and drawing lines are visible in the sitter’s right arm and right hand. In addition, there is a reserve in the paint between the lute and the table in which drawing lines are clearly visible. As well as anchoring the composition with drawing lines the artist has used ruled incised lines to indicate the position of some of the lute strings (fig.57). The Imprimatura or Priming The ground layer was then modified, probably by the artist, with a thin streaky dark grey imprimatura or priming (fig.55).13 This streaky appearance may be as a consequence of the use of a fairly stiff bristle brush.The imprimatura is clearly visible as vertically aligned stripes in the infrared reflectogram in the lighter passages of the flesh and in the lute. It is also visible with the naked eye through more thinly painted passages of the flesh. This type of thin, streaky imprimatura is widely found in English paintings of the period which are strongly influenced by Flemish painting technique 14 as well as in the works of artists of the Antwerp school such as Rubens. Analysis has shown the imprimatura to be a mixture of lead white and finely ground carbon black (lamp black), together with a pale brown pigment and some traces of red.15 Examination of the cross-sections taken from the flesh paint where large particles of charcoal black were present, indicates that the imprimatura has been applied directly over the chalk ground and underdrawing.This priming would serve to seal and fix the loose pigment particles of the drawing material. Findings from analysis have indicated that the imprimatura has a translucent appearance in cross-section suggesting it is bound with a lot of medium.16 This translucency would have allowed the bright white chalk ground to show through to illuminate the painting. The presence of this layer of lead white priming in oil may be responsible for the formation of what might be lead soaps - large scattered craters in the paint surface.17 The Paint Layers The range of pigments used by the artist is quite limited and includes lead white, carbon black, earth pigments, vermilion, copper green (?), azurite and lead-tin yellow. They are typically present in simple mixtures (with the exception of the black of the sound hole of the lute) which have been cleverly used in thin layers to best exploit their properties. For instance, the dark streaky imprimatura under the light-coloured paint of the flesh achieves a subtle pearly tone which the pink paint alone on the white ground could not have achieved.18 The medium, though not analysed, is almost certain to be oil. The paint has been thinly applied and consequently there is very little cracking with the exception of a fine brittle network in the slightly more thickly impasted paint of the sitter’s neck.The construction of the paint layers is simple, with most areas consisting of no more than two layers: an opaque underlayer and a modifying transparent upper layer.


13. The imprimatura is a thin coat or priming often of oil, applied to the ground layer to prevent it from absorbing the paint too readily. It may sometimes be coloured to provide a unifying tone and form the underpaint in some areas. 14. Such an imprimatura has been noted by Rica Jones in the Portrait of Man in Classical Dress attributed to Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger in the Tate Gallery. Karen Hearn, Marcus Gheeraerts II: Elizabethan Artist, London, 2002. 15. ‘De Mayerne’s informants used a mixture of lead white and umber, the author of the MS Harley 6376 suggested lead white with a little red lead in the first layer, with the addition of the brown earth pigment Spanish brown and umber in the second.’ Kirby Talley, London, 1999. 16. In ultraviolet light it has a dull creamy appearance. 17. Lead soaps are evidenced by small lumps or craters visible in the paint surface due to lead soap aggregates which form during the drying process, in this case of the lead-containing imprimatura. No lead soaps were found through examination of cross-sections. 18. The effect produced by such an application of a light coloured paint over a dark underlayer is called ‘turbid medium effect’. The top layer appears cooler in tone than it would if painted over a lighter layer. With time the oil medium has become more transparent and the imprimatura plays a more significant role than it might; the flesh tones have become cooler still.


59 Detail D De eta t ill of tthe ta he ‘‘wet wett into we into to wet’ wet et’’ modelling paint mode mo elllin ingg of tthe he ppai aint in aatt th tthee sitter’s sitt si t er’s collar. col ollar. 600 Detail showing De D eta t il ssho howi ho wing wi ngg tiny tin inyy hatched hatcche ha hed marks the mark ma r s of rred rk ed d paint ppai ain ai nt aatt th nt he ti ttip ip Lanier’s off L o aan nie i r’ r s nose no n osee and and nd tthick h ck hi ck rred eed d used provide lake la ke gglazes ke l ze la zess us u sed d tto o pr prov ovvidde the ovid th he shadows nostrils sh had a ow ws of of tthe he n he osstr t ills and an nd the bbetween be etwee tw wee een n th he llilips. ips ps. ps.


T H E E P I G R A M : V T R E l e ve t M I s e r u m FA t u m S O L i t o s q u e L A b o r e s

playing a minor, melancholic chord on his lute.Therefore, Lanier’s expression as intended to ‘relieve wretched fate and accustomed labours’ is consistent with the ideologies that were particular to the image of the lutenist in Jacobean England. The portrayal of the Belvedere Antinous in respect to the sitter is that of the listener to the performer. His head seems tilted in concentration, and is level with the centre of the lute from where the sound comes. It is as if Lanier is allowing himself to be judged by this ancient figure. Such a judgement seems to be confirmed by Antinous’s gaze which is focused on the script, for whilst it is intended to highlight the justification for a certain type of musical philosophy, the expression can just as easily be a rendering of Antinous’s own life story – chosen because he represented the ultimate ideal of physical beauty to his purpose,‘to relieve wretched fate and accustomed labours’.Thus, Lanier, the epigram and the figure of Antinous present a variety of meanings that are intertwined with one another.

VT RElevet MIserum FAtum SOLitosque LAbores

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8. Edmond Strainchamps, ‘Luzzaschi, Luzzasco’ in Grove Music Online 9. Baldassare Castiglione (trans Thomas Hoby), The Courtyer of Count Baldessar Castilio, divided into foure Bookes, Very Necessarie and profitable for young Gentilmen & Gentilwomen abiding in Court, Palaice or Place, done into Englyshe by Thomas Hoby, London, 1561, unpag. ‘The first booke of the Courtyer’ 10. Peter Holman, Dowland: Lachrimae (1604), Cambridge, 1999, p.4. 11. The earliest use of this expression in music is as the name of a lesson composed by Thomas Ford and dedicated to the ‘Worthy and Vertuous Knight’ Sir Richard Tichbourne in Thomas Ford, Musick of Sundrie Kinds, Set Forth in Two Bookes, London, 1607, unpag.


5511 Detail showing wisps D De eta tailil ssho h wi ho wing ngg fi fin n nee wi w isp ps of of over marbled hair ha ir ccurling urrliling ng o ove veer th thee ma marb r le rb ledd paint background. pain pa nt of tthe he bbac he ackg kgro kg roun ro und. d. The highlights Th he hi h gh hliligh ghts ts cconsist onsi on sist si st o st off le lead ad white appears wh whit hi e andd wh what at aapp ppea earss to to lead-tin yellow. be a lea add tin ye ellow. 52 Detail showing bravura D De eta tailil ssho howi ho wing wi ng bbra ravu ra vura ra handling off th paint hand ha ndli nd dling lilingg o the he pa pai ain int at a tthe he he sitter’s si itt tter er’ss cuff. er ccuf u f. The uf Thee increase iinc ncre nc r ase re ase in as transparency oill pa tran tr ansp an nsp paren arren ncyy of of the th he oi o ppaint in nt has revealed underlying h ha as re eveeaalled tthe he u he und nder nd errlyyin ng grey gr eyy sstripy trip tr ipy im ip iimprimatura. mpr prim imat atur at u a. ur a



The Sitter The sitter has been rendered in a very naturalistic way; slightly open-mouthed he engages the viewer in a convincing act of playing and perhaps singing.This degree of animation in English portraiture is rare at such an early date. 19 The paint of the flesh tones has been applied alla prima directly on top of the imprimatura and modelled ‘wet into wet’ (fig.59).The dark grey imprimatura underneath gives the paint of the flesh its cool pearly tones.20 Transparent red lake glazes are used to indicate the shadows of the nostrils and between the slightly parted lips in addition to the shadows between the fingers.21 Tiny hatched marks of what appear to be vermilion have been used to indicate a highlight at the end of the nose with the precision of a miniaturist (fig.60). Lanier’s right hand, cast in shadow, is rendered very convincingly (fig.62). The way in which the light falling between the hand and the lute casts the shadow of the three central fingers and of the tucked up little finger is a masterpiece of naturalism.The robust forearm, where it catches the light, is thickly impasted with lead white and the blue of the veins has been achieved by mixing the blue pigment azurite into the top layer of paint. Lanier’s left hand (fig. 61), shown skilfully fingering the strings, catches the light and the opaque paint here is much pinker and brighter with red outlines to the fingers. Examination of a cross-section of a sample taken from the finger of the sitter’s left hand shows that the paint has been laid on in a single layer of lead white tinted with a little red. This red includes traces of both an organic red and vermilion. In addition to this single layer of pink paint, examination of another cross-section shows that the upper layers of the paint of the flesh of the right forearm consist of a strong red lake mixed with azurite to achieve the purplish shadow (fig.56). The deep red lake did not fluoresce, indicating that it is likely to be from an insect source rather than a plant source such as madder. The paint of the beard and moustache, whilst indicating hair which is soft and has movement, has been rendered with what appears to be (from examination under low magnification of the painting) a mixture of lead-tin yellow, yellow ochre and earths, each brushstroke indicating one hair. These carefully rendered hairs splay out over the marbled background echoing the meticulous veining of the marbling. Examination of a cross-section taken from the hair at the top of the sitter’s head has shown two layers of paint the first of which is a darkish red-containing grey directly over the imprimatura. Within this layer are some dark oval particles which have not been identified.They may be green earth or a burnt green earth. Above this grey layer is a paler yellow (highlight) consisting of lead white and what appears to be a lead-tin yellow. The Drapery The sitter is informally dressed in an open-necked shirt with his lace-edged shirt sleeve rolled up under a loosely fitting black costume. The black drapery is painted with an opaque grey paint, which analysis indicates might be lamp black, perhaps mixed with chalk. Some modelling is indicated in this layer. A very transparent black is glazed over the top to give depth and form to the drapery (although this was not seen in the cross-section taken).The presence of the dark opaque underlayer would give the black drapery a cool


19. Another example of such animation is the Abraham Blyenbergh Portrait of Ben Johnson in the National Portrait Gallery, however technically this is quite different. 20. This is very clear in the Tate’s Portrait of a Man in Classical Dress by Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger about 1610. The paint of the flesh tones is noticeably thinner and in addition quite worn hence the effect of the streaky imprimatura is more significant. 21. In the shadows of the right hand the red lake glaze has become slightly chalky. This degradation of red lakes has been found by the author in paintings by Van Dyck and Rubens.


61 Detail off th hand; pink D De tail ta il o thee left left h le and; an d; tthe d; he bbright he righ ri igh ght ht pi nk iiss ac nk aachieved hieevved hi d with white tinted with wi w ith t a sin ssingle ingl in g e laye gl llayer la aye y r off llead eaad wh whit ite ti it tint nted nt ed w ed itth a little ngers litt li ttle rred; tt ed d; the th he fi fing nger nger ng er s ar aare re outlined outl ou tllin tlin ined ed iin n re red. dd.. 62 Detail off th the arm which shadow; De D etaail il o he ri rright righ igh ghtt ar r m wh w i h iss ccast ic asst in ssha hado ha dow; do w; a pink underlayer has modifi edd with bbright br r ig ight ht ppin ink un in ink unde nde d rl rlay a err h ay as bbeen een ee n mo m difi di fied fi witth an a upper purple achieve the shadow. Thee u up ppe ppe perr pu purp r plee ppaint rp aaiint nt tto o ac ch hiieevve th he sh shad addow o . Th T bblue bl u ppigment ue igme ig ment ent aazurite zuri zu urriite iiss us used ed tto o de ddepict pict tthe pi pict he vveins. he eiin nss.

11000 10


blueness. Both white cuffs and the collar of the sitter are beautifully modelled ‘wet into wet’ with a rich creamy white paint directly on top of the imprimatura. The Lute Despite the fact that Lanier is so convincingly rendered in the act of playing his lute, the placement of the instrument seems to be the one area of the composition with which the artist struggled. A curved grey painted line between seven and ten centimetres to the left of the bottom of the lute may indicate an early positioning, as do painted elements to the left and below the current placement of the peg box. A further pentimento shows that the positioning of the sound hole has been moved slightly up and to the left. The soundboard of the lute is rendered with one relatively thick layer of a mixed orangebrown which from examination of cross-sections consists of lead-tin yellow, some bright yellow and red ochres and siennas applied directly over the streaky grey imprimatura. The artist has depicted the stripy nature of the wood at the sides (clearly a different wood from that of the soundboard) with bold brushstrokes of paint executed ‘wet into wet’. Lead-tin yellow may have been used to indicate lighter passages here. Analysis of the black/brown paint of the sound hole has shown it to be a complex mixture of pigments executed directly over the brown paint of the soundboard; these include large round particles of brownish black, a rod-shaped red ochre, traces of yellow ochre, umber and a bluish green (verdigris?) as well as some crimson lake. Covering this is a thin translucent layer, conceivably residual paint from a decorative rose which may once have covered the sound hole. Each of the nine double courses of strings of the lute (partially indicated by incising into the ground) (fig.57) has been beautifully rendered with a highlight on the top edge of lead white and lead-tin yellow, and a shadow underneath to indicate the form. Elements on the Table The cast of the Belvedere Antinous, the quill and the scrap of paper bearing the epigram are executed directly onto an opaque underpaint indicating that they were planned at an early stage of painting. The green paint of the tablecloth, which would once have been a brilliant rich green colour,22 was painted up to and around the contours of the figure before being obscured by the much later purplish overpaint. This green is either built up over a dead grey layer or perhaps just the opaque pale green underpaint which provides the modelling for the cloth and was overlaid with what appears to be a transparent copper green (fig.63). During analysis azurite and yellow ochre were found in the green opaque underlayer. The overlying brown layer when viewed under the microscope appears quite dark in ultraviolet light suggesting that it might indeed be a copper green glaze which has oxidized rather than a varnish which one might expect to autofluoresce. The discolouration in this layer may perhaps explain why the entire cloth has been later overpainted with a purplish colour. Analysis has indicated that there might be a thin layer of old varnish between the discoloured green and the overpaint. The overpaint layer was found to contain red lake, indigo and lead white. The presence of indigo may indicate that it predates the early eighteenth century when Prussian blue was invented.


22. This green is not visible as it is obscured with a very old hard layer of grey oil paint. This paint is so old and hard it was not possible to remove it and it was reintegrated at the retouching stage of the treatment.


The Background Including the Two Inset Paintings

63 Detail showing the original pale green paint underlying the uppermost purplish overpaint visible in a reserve around the cast. This pale green paint of the tablecloth would once have been covered with a brilliant rich green.

A pale opaque grey was used in places as the first-lay in of the background over which a thin brown transparent paint was laid before the fine reddish and black veins of the marbling. Although the grey underlayer extends beneath both the Steenwyck and the little image of a painter at his easel,23 it is not clear whether the other layers of paint in the background are present. In the case of both small pictures the paintings themselves have been executed before the paint of their frames. 24 It is hard to know at what stage the placement of these paintings was planned. Both seem to be uncomfortably placed in the top right hand corner with very little space between their lower edges and the peg box of the lute. The Liberation of St Peter The technique of this painting with its meticulous attention to detail and rendition of perspective is without doubt not by the artist of the portrait. It is very likely that both



the architecture and the staffage are by the same hand, that of Hendrick van Steenwyck the Younger.25 The bright colouring, silvery tones and mannerist figures are all distinctly different from that of the rest of Lanier’s portrait. An Artist in his Studio Although it is impossible to be absolutely certain, the technique of this painting of a bearded artist turning to engage us persuasively whilst in the act of painting an oval portrait seems to be painted in the same style and technique as that of the main portrait. There are even several pentimenti on a minute scale, one behind the head of the artist, several pentimenti to the collar of the sitter, while his chemise has been further opened. These changes to the design indicate that it is unlikely that the little painting existed in its own right, but was executed directly onto the main painting, perhaps as a record of friendship.26 CONCLUSION The skill and proficiency of an accomplished artist trained in the Antwerp tradition are clear to see, despite the compromised condition of the painting. The structure of the ground, priming and paint, and composition of the materials used, concur with the methods and materials of early seventeenth-century Flemish practice. Some passages have been executed with bravura brushwork to depict naturalistic details like the folds of the sitter’s shirt and the flesh tones. Other passages of the painting, for instance the flowing hair and moustache of the sitter, have been meticulously rendered, almost with the precision of a miniaturist. Essentially the range of materials used at this date is no different from artists such as Rubens and Van Dyck, but it is the technique of our unknown artist with his application of thin, carefully applied layers, and a combination of fine detail and careful brushwork which make it so different from those aforementioned Flemish masters.

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23. This assumption is based on observations with the naked eye, analysis of the cross-sections from this area proved inconclusive. 24. The painted yellow orthogonals of the Steenwyck clearly go underneath the frame. 25. Confirmed by Jeremy Howarth, email dated 1 February 2010. 26. This idea of the tradition of the album amicorum has been suggested by Sir Roy Strong in his introduction to this publication.


T H E AU T H O R S Roy Strong Sir Roy Strong is a writer, historian, diarist and gardener. He was born in 1935 and educated at Edmonton County Grammar School and the Warburg Institute. In 1959 he joined the National Portrait Gallery of which he became Director in 1967. In 1973 he was appointed Director of the Victoria & Albert Museum, a post from which he resigned in 1987 to pursue a career as an author and consultant in the media. For over thirty years he has written or contributed to a steady stream of some forty books on English history and culture, garden history and design as well as writing of country life. In 1982 he was knighted for his services to the arts. Early in his career he made a particularly study of Elizabethan and Jacobean painting.

Duncan Thomson From 1982 until 1997 Duncan Thomson directed the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, of which he is currently writing a history. His principal publications on seventeenth century matters are The Life and Art of George Jamesone (Oxford University Press, 1974) and Painting in Scotland 1570-1650 (National Galleries of Scotland, 1975). More recently he published a monograph on the contemporary painter, Avigdor Arikha (Phaidon, 1994 and later editions). In 1997 he curated the major exhibition, Raeburn: the art of Sir Henry Raeburn 1756-1823, shown in the National Gallery of Scotland in Edinburgh and the National Portrait Gallery in London. He has recently published articles in The Burlington Magazine and the The Walpole Society.

J e r e m y Wo o d Jeremy Wood is Associate Professor of Art History at Nottingham. He has published on aspects of the study, imitation and collecting of Italian art in Northern Europe during the seventeenth century, and, in particular, on the work of Rubens and Van Dyck. In 2002 he was curator of the exhibition Rubens. Drawing on Italy, held at Edinburgh and Nottingham. He is preparing volume XXVI (2) of the Corpus Rubenianum Ludwig Burchard which covers Rubens copies and adaptations from Italian art. This will appear in three volumes and the first of these, on Raphael and his School, has recently been published.

Tim Wilks Dr Tim Wilks is a Senior Lecturer in Visual Arts at Southampton Solent University. Since completing his doctoral thesis on the court culture of Henry, Prince of Wales (Oxford,1988), he has maintained a strong research interest in the development of art collecting in early Stuart England, publishing numerous essays and articles, and has recently edited a volume of essays, Prince Henry Revived (2007). He is currently co-authoring a major work, The Jacobean Reconnaissance (forthcoming, 2010).



Pe t e r Wa l l s Peter Walls is Emeritus Professor of Music at Victoria University of Wellington and Chief Executive of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. He was awarded the British Academy’s Derek Allen prize for Music in the English Courtly Masque 1604-1640 (The Clarendon Press, 1996). He has published extensively on seventeenth- and eighteenthcentury historical performance practice. His Waynflete Lectures, presented at Magdalen College, Oxford, in 2000 have been published as History, Imagination, and the Performance of Music (Boydell, 2003). He also performs as a baroque violinist and conductor.

Benjamin Hebber t As a musicologist, Benjamin Hebbert’s area of study is on material representation of music through objects such as musical instruments and paintings, and what these can tell us about the development of music. His doctoral thesis from Oxford University (in progress) is entitled Patronage to Commercialism: Instrument Makers and the Material Consumption of Music in Early Modern London. He originally trained as a musical instrument maker at London Guildhall University, has a masters in Historical Musicology from the University of Leeds, and was a curatorial fellow at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He is an acknowledged expert on old violins, and was formerly European specialist head of musical instruments at Christie’s.

Kather ine Ara Katherine Ara was trained in the conservation of easel paintings both in Newcastle and at the Hamilton Kerr Institute. She has worked as a practising conservator/restorer in both the private and the museum sector for nearly twenty-five years including the Tate Gallery, the Royal Collection and the National Museums, Liverpool before establishing her own studio in London in 1997.

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G H E E R A E RT S, O L I V E R & L A N I E R ~ FA M I LY T R E E S


OLIVER FAMILY (from Rouen)

LANIER FAMILY (from Rouen)

Marcus Gheeraerts I (c.1520 - c.1586)

Pierre Oliver (arr. London before 1568, d. before 1610)

John Lanier (b.London, d.1616)

married Xst (1558)


married (1585)

Johanna Struve (d. c.1571)

Typhane (?) (d.1610)

Frances Galliardello (1566 - after 1616)

Marcus Gheeraerts II (c.1561-1636)

Isaac Oliver (c.1565 - 1617)

married (c.1590)

married Xst (c.1588)

Magdalen de Critz (d. c.1636)

Elizabeth (?) (c.1571-1599)

married Ynd (1571)

Peter Oliver (1589 - 1647)

Susanna de Critz married Ynd Sara Gheeraerts (1602) married Zrd (1606) Elizabeth Harding (c.1589 -1628)


Nicholas Lanier (1588 - 1666)

Judith Lanier (1590 - 1618)

married (1626)

married (1613)

Elizabeth (?) (d.1673)

Edward Norgate (1581 - 1650) (who referred to Isaac Oliver as ‘my deare Cozen’ see Roy Strong, p.20)


SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY Callon, G. J. ed., Nicholas Lanier: The Complete Works, Severinus Press, 1994. Charteris, R., ‘Jacobean Musicians at Hatfield House 1605-1613’, Royal Musical Association Research Chronicle, vol. XII, 1974, pp. 115-136 Emslie, McD., ‘Nicholas Lanier’s Innovations in English Song’, Music & Letters, vol. XLI, 1960, pp. 13-27 Gluck, G., ‘Some Portraits of Musicians by Van Dyck’, Burlington Magazine, vol. LXIX, 1936, pp. 147-153 Graham, F.L., The Earlier Life and Work of Nicholas Lanier (1588-1666), Collector of Paintings and Drawings, Columbia University M.A. thesis, 1967 Hevesy, A. de, ‘Rembrandt and Nicholas Lanier’, Burlington Magazine, vol. LXIX, 1936, pp. 153-154 Hulse, L., ‘The Musical Patronage of Robert Cecil, First Earl of Salisbury’, Journal of the Royal Musical Association, vol. CXVI, part I, 1991, pp. 24-40 James, S.E., ‘Nicholas Lanier. A Greenwich Notable. Part I’, Journal of the Greenwich Historical Society, I, no. 2, 1992, pp. 50-60 James, S.E., ‘Nicholas Lanier. A Greenwich Notable. Part II’, Journal of the Greenwich Historical Society, I, no. 3, 1992, pp. 81-88 James, S.E., ‘Reni’s drawing of Nicholas Lanier’, Apollo, October 1996, pp. 14-18 Lanier, N., Six Songs by Nicholas Lanier, ed. E.H. Jones, London, 1976 Rimbault, E.F., ‘The Laniere Family in England: a Biography’, Concordia, 8 January 1876 Spink, I., ‘Lanier in Italy’, Music & Letters, vol. XL, 1959, pp. 242-252 Wilson, M. I., Nicholas Lanier, Master of the King’s Musick, Aldershot, Scolar Press, 1994 Wilson, M. I., ‘Nicholas Lanier’ in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 1994 Wood, J., ‘Nicholas Lanier (1588-1666) and the origins of drawings collecting in Stuart England’, Collecting Prints and Drawings in Europe, c.1500-1750, ed. Baker, C., Elam, C. and Warwick, G., 2003, pp. 85-121


N I C H O L A S L A N I E R ~ a portrait revealed



✼ NICHOLAS LANIER 1588 ~ 1666 Oil on panel, transferred to canvas 35 5/8 x 28 3/8 ins 90.5 x 72 cms

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