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from the collections of the English nobility and their great country houses

The Weiss Gallery 59 Jermyn Street London SW1 6LX Tel 020 7409 0035 Fax 020 7491 9604 3


[ Contents [

I would

like to take this opportunity to thank

my Associate Director Florence Evans for overseeing the production of this catalogue and to offer my gratitude to the following for their assistance: Research Florence Evans, Simon Adams, Sabine Craft-Giepmans, Julia Dudkiewicz, Lynn Hulse, Jeremy Musson, Malcolm Rogers, Roy Strong, Libby Sheldon, Duncan Thomson, Ian Tyers, Thomas Woodcock, Garter Principal King of Arms and Janet Grant and not

least my beloved wife Catherine Weiss. Restoration Katherine Ara, Fabio Mazzochini, Henry Gentle and Debra Weiss. Framing Rollo Whately and John Davies Framing Photography Prudence Cuming Associates and Matthew Hollow Catalogue Design & Production Ashted Dastor



English School circa 1600 – 1610 The Ditchley Henry VIII (1491 – 1547)

William Larkin c.1580/5 – 1619 Lady Jane Thornhagh (c.1600 – 1661)



English School circa 1536 – 1540s Jane Seymour, third wife of King Henry VIII (1508 – 1537)

3 Studio of Hans Holbein the Younger c.1497/98 – 1543 Lady Alice More (c.1474 – c.1551)

4 Follower of Hans Holbein the Younger c.1497/98 – 1543 Lady Margaret Wotton, Marchioness of Dorset (1487 – 1541)

5 Robert Peake c.1551-1619 Peregrine Bertie, Lord Willoughby de Eresby (1555 – 1601)

6 Cornelis Ketel 1548 – 1616 Thomas Cecil, 1st Earl of Exeter (1542 – c.1622)

12 John Souch 1594 – 1645 Lady Anne Lawley, wife of Sir Thomas Lawley, 1st Bt.

13 English School circa 1625 – 1626 Lady Elizabeth Pope, wife of Sir William Pope (1596 – 1624), with her eldest son Thomas, later 2nd Earl of Downe (1622 – 1660) and eldest daughter Anne (b.1617)

14 Cornelius Johnson 1593 – 1661 Robert, Lord Bruce, later 2nd Earl of Elgin and 1st Earl of Ailesbury (1626 – 1685)


Robert Peake and Studio c.1551 – c.1619 Catherine Carey, Countess of Nottingham (c.1547 – 1603)

Cornelius Johnson 1593 – 1661 Willem Thielen (1596 – 1638), Reverend Minister of the Reformed Dutch Church of London; and his wife Maria de Fraeye (1605 – 1682)




English School circa 1600 Elizabeth Howard, Lady Southwell (c.1564 – 1646)

9 English School circa 1600 Frances Howard, dowager Countess of Kildare (c.1572 – 1628)

Front cover: The Ditchley Henry VIII (no.1) Page 2: Catherine Carey, Countess of Nottingham detail(no.7)

Daniel Mytens c.1590 – 1647 Lady Mary Feilding, as Countess of Aran, later Marchioness and Duchess of Hamilton (1613 – 1638)

Sir Anthony Van Dyck 1583/4 – 1653 Sir Robert Howard, K.B. (1583/4 – 1653)

17 Antonio David 1684 – 1750 Prince James Edward Stuart, The Old Pretender (1688 – 1766)







Mark Weiss


he catalyst for this catalogue was the unrepeatable opportunity to acquire last year the majority of the most important early British portraits from the contents sale of Cowdray

Park held by Christie’s, combined with portraits that were sold by Sotheby’s as part of the last

C o m p t o n Ve r n e y

Corsham Court

remnants of the Earls of Elgin and the Marquesses of Ailesbury great collection that descended at their ancient Savernake estate in Wiltshire. These paintings, along with the others which I have gathered together for this publication, are all notable for their distinguished provenances. As portraits, whilst clearly tangible manifestations of lives and fashions long past, their significance

Th e V i s c o u n t s D i l l o n ( D i t c h l e y Pa r k )

however transcends the purely representational; for they also stand witness to the history of the great country houses which they adorned, the notable collections of which they formed a part, and of course to the often colourful lives and times of their former owners. They therefore survive today as an eloquent and evocative testament to this island’s historic past.

Marquesses of Ailesbury ( To t t e n h a m H o u s e , S av e r n a k e )

Lords North ( W r ox t o n A b b e y )

Whilst undertaking the research and in writing the entries for many of these paintings, time and time again it was brought home to me the huge debt that our understanding and appreciation of this period owes to Sir Roy Strong. His love for and advocacy of Tudor and Jacobean portraiture may be seen by the many pioneering articles that he first wrote from the early 1960s

Lords Willoughby de Broke ( C o m p t o n Ve r n e y )

Lords Methuen (Corsham Court)

H o r ac e Wa l p o l e ( S t r aw b e r r y H i l l )

onwards, culminating in his legendary exhibition at the Tate in 1969, and more recently in the beautifully produced book that he wrote on the spectacular portraiture of William Larkin. Though not all his conclusions have stood the test of time, without his prodigious and passionate studies, written in such eloquent and erudite style, it is unlikely that the public today would be as informed, or indeed aware, of this crucial period of this island’s heritage. I would therefore like to dedicate this catalogue to him.

Th e V i s c o u n t s C o w d r ay ( C o w d r ay Pa r k )

Th e E a r l s o f Scarborough (Lumley Castle)

Moving forward, Karen Hearn and Tarnya Cooper – the current curators at Tate Britain and The National Portrait Gallery – have shown that, with the assistance of their respective conservation Ty n t e s f i e l d

W r ox t o n A b b e y Earls of Clarendon (Cornbury)

departments, research today is increasingly dependent on the support of technical studies, such as dendrochronology, pigment analysis, X-ray and microscopic and infrared photography to assist in assessing the status and the authorship of paintings. Indeed they have become essential adjuncts to ‘old school’ scholarship and connoisseurship.





From Marbled Halls


side to this too, for portraiture, heraldry, and historic portraits of ancestors or other family alliances, were just as important to the old established landed aristocracy who wished to emphasise their own status and their right to power.


Jeremy Musson

T 1. Karen Hearn, ‘Sixteenth and Seventeenth Century Portraits in Country Houses,’ In Celebration: The Art of the Country House, 1998, pp.9-11. 2. Gervase Jackson-Stops (ed.), The Treasures Houses of Britain, 1985, Oliver Millar, ‘Portraiture and the Country House’, pp.2839. The reference to Welbeck is on p.28. 3. Mark Girouard, Life in the English Country House, 1978, pp.101-102.

here is no form of painting which is quite so essential to an understanding of the English country house than portraiture; it can be seen both as a work of art as well as a clear dynastic statement. In the context of the country house, portraits have always been an unavoidable visual reference to the connection and status of the sitters depicted, and their assemblage plays an important part in defining the quality of any country house collection.1

The paintings featured in this catalogue are associated with many of the famous country houses of England – Corsham Court in Wiltshire, Ditcheley Park and Compton Verney, in Oxfordshire, to name just three, and are thus resonant with the histories of those famous houses and their collections. These collections have often grown over centuries, with portraits often seeming to occupy every corner of the house. In one of the most historic seats in England that still remains in original family hands, Welbeck Abbey in Nottinghamshire, there are said to be as many as one thousand portraits.2 A good display, spreading to the ceiling like a family tree, has been an expected element by a visitor to a nobleman’s house since the sixteenth century. For modern visitors to such houses too, portraits ‘populate’ the historic rooms they occupy – suggestive both of the lives lived out in them, and more immediately as evidence of the costume and manners of different times. Nowhere is this more clear than in the three newly identified and magnificent full-length portraits in this catalogue (nos.7, 8 & 9), of Catherine Carey, the Countess of Nottingham and her two daughters, Lady Frances and Lady Elizabeth Howard, in richly jewelled dresses of a rare magnificence – the very image of Elizabethan England. Full-lengths of this quality and character were to set the tone for aristocratic portraiture for the next three centuries. But why do portraits dominate the English country house interior so universally? Partly this is for art historical reasons. From the mid-sixteenth century, after the Reformation in England had dramatically reduced the production of religious art, portrait painting The Dining Room, Compton Verney, Warwickshire, with Catherine Carey (no.7) and became the most significant area of patron- Frances Howard (no.9) on the left wall age associated with the English court and nobility - allied closely to the funerary sculptures which appear in the parish churches associated with landed estates. Aristocratic portrait collections of this period often included more than just the family but also famous men and women of the day, as well as the kings and queens associated with the family’s rise to prominence. In a sixteenth and early seventeenth century country house, these portrait collections were usually displayed in the Long Gallery, a peculiarly English architectural feature which had evolved at the end of the sixteenth century. At first this seemed to be sparsely decorated, but as Mark Girouard has so succinctly observed, ‘pictures soon began to appear on the walls to give the family something to look at as they walked.’ Family and visitors were effectively invited to walk in the company of their hosts’ ancestors or their allies. For instance, Lord Howard of Bindon requested a gift of a portrait of Robert Cecil ‘to be placed in the gallery I lately made for the pictures of sundry of my honourable friends, whose presentation thereby to behold will greatly delight me to walk often in that place where I may see so comfortable a sight.’3 The full-length of Henry VIII in this catalogue was known to have been in the collection for Sir Henry Lee, a favourite of Queen Elizabeth I, and very likely hung in the Long Gallery at Ditchley Park in Oxfordshire – a house which was rebuilt in the 1720s and where the painting was to remain until the 1930s. But the overriding significance of the portrait in the country house was dynastic. Portraits in the mid-sixteenth century played an important role in sealing the arrival of a new dynasty and emphasised marital and political alliances. Rich with former monastic lands, these rising ‘new men’ were establishing themselves as the emerging landed and political elite but so deeply rooted was the respect for the hereditary principle that even they required the legitimacy of ‘roots’. Thus new portraiture helped elevate the sitter into his newly assumed aristocratic image. There was another


4. Kathryn Barron, ‘The Collecting and Patronage of John, Lord Lumley’, The Evolution of English Collecting, Studies in British Art, XII, 2003, pp.125-148. 5. Edith Milner, Records of the Lumleys of Lumley Castle, 1904, p.92. 6. Jackson-Stops (ed.), pp.124-127. 7. (ibid.), p.127.

It is impossible to consider the history of portrait collections in England without reference to two important and connected collections of members of this old landed aristocracy. Firstly, there is that of genealogically-obsessed John, Lord Lumley. Lumley’s collection was displayed in various of his homes including Arundel House in London, Nonsuch and 14th-century Lumley Castle, in Co. Durham, but by his death the bulk was at Lumley Castle. His collection was made up of numerous portraits of his own family as well as royalty, and various illustrious English and continental contemporaries who were not necessarily close relations - as for example, the renowned military commander and diplomat Peregrine Bertie, Lord Willoughby d’Eresby, whose portrait by Robert Peake appears in this catalogue (no.5), and Lady Margaret Wotton, by a follower of Holbein (no.4). This was a type of display inspired by famous collections on the continent.4 These Lumley portraits are notable for their cartellini - or trompe l’oeil painted labels - which originally identified the sitters. His collection was described in detail in the famous Lumley inventory of 1590. The Lumley collection, largely dispersed by sales in 1785 and 1807, was first and foremost a celebration of dynasty. Lumley’s preoccupation with genealogy meant that his inventory opened with a family tree showing his descent not only from the Holy Roman Emperor Charlemagne, but well beyond. An all too believable legend has it that when James I visited Lumley Castle on his journey south in 1603, as Lumley was absent, he was shown around by the Bishop of Durham, who lectured him extensively on Lumley’s illustrious pedigree. The king became bored and stopped the bishop, saying ‘oh, mon, gang na futher. I maun digest the knowledge I ha’ this day gained, for I didna’ ken Adam’s ither nam was Lumley’.5 Another great early example of portrait collections which must be mentioned is that of Thomas Howard, Earl of Arundel and Surrey, who inherited some of the collection of his great-uncle Lord Lumley. He was a connoisseur of considerable repute – the patron of Inigo Jones and Rubens – and in his London house he had an extensive collection of ancient sculpture (usually known as the Arundel marbles, much of which is now in the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford). In a remarkable pair of full-length portraits now at Arundel Castle in Sussex, painted by Mytens, the Earl and his wife are each shown with art galleries stretching out beyond them.6 Behind Lord Arundel are classical sculptures but behind Lady Arundel a ground floor room is shown, with full-length portraits hung between the windows, all framed in uniform dark frames. Intriguingly, the Earl of Clarendon described Lord Arundel as having ‘the appearance of a great man, which he preserv’d in gate [gait], and motion. He wore and affected a Habit very differente from that of the time, such as men only beheld in the Pictures of the most considerable men.’ Clarendon observed that he strove to The Hall at Wroxton Abbey, Oxfordshire, with Lady Pope and her children (no.13) be ‘the Image and Representative of the Primitive on the left wall. Nobility.’7 Clarendon himself had an important collection at Clarendon House in London, which included the Van Dyck of Robert Howard (no.16), and reflected his research into English history. After the sixteenth century, family portraits tended to be treated as heirlooms attached the country house, while the newest portraits or the finest paintings of the family’s collection were displayed in the London house as demonstrations of taste and fashion. Older portraits added lustre to ancient great hall interiors underlining the family’s long history and survival, and often still do today. English portrait painting was, of course, deeply influenced by key continental artists, including Augsburg-born Holbein in the sixteenth century and the Flemish Van Dyck in the early seventeenth century, who both worked in England as court painters, and whose paintings are felt to define the image of the respective eras in which they worked. Holbein came to England in 1526, and although he returned to Basel for a time, he came back to England in 1532, and was, within a very few years, King’s Painter, justly admired for his precisely detailed renderings of face and costume that still possess a feeling of direct individuality to contemporary viewers. His great influence is reflected in this catalogue by the much replicated and famous image of Henry VIII from Ditchley (no.1) and the rarer portrait of Alice More (no.3), Sir Thomas More’s second wife from Corsham Court, which is thought to have been painted under his supervision in his Basel studio. A century later Van Dyck arrived in England and so brilliantly captured the necessary ingredients of the English noble portrait, in pose, gesture, costume, and self-assurance, that his influence can be seen ever since. Although he invented an apparently relaxed image of grandeur, the quality of the costume 9



8. Ann Jones & Peter Stallybrass, Renaissance Clothing and the Materials of Memory, 2000, p.45. 9. Jackson-Stops (op.cit.), p.32. 10. William Hazlitt, ‘On a Portrait of an English Lady by Van Dyck’, in Criticisms of Art, 1844, pp.143-44. 11. Jackson-Stops (op.cit.), p.30. 12. (ibid.), p.34.

depicted was as critical for his sitters then as for the preceding generations of their families. The Countess of Sussex sat to him in 1639 – 1640 and, painted in her best jewels, memorably admitted that her portrait was ‘too rich in jewels I am sure, but it is no great matter for another age to think me richer than I was.’8 Fine portraiture of the Stuart and Tudor period became increasingly valued for historical associations, especially by connoisseurs including Horace Walpole, who did so much to record the collections of great houses. In this catalogue, for instance, is the portrait of Lady Margaret Wotton, Marchioness of Dorset (no.4), by a follower of Holbein, which as we have seen was once also owned by Lord Lumley, and two centuries later decorated Walpole’s famous pioneer Gothic Revival villa, Strawberry Hill, at Twickenham. The painting was sold from that house in 1842 to one of the most famous collectors of the day, Lady Charlotte Guest (later Schreiber). Naturally, one of the elements of these collections which intrigued Walpole, and intrigues us today, was the remarkable longevity of some aristocratic collections. This meant that a portrait may have remained in the same family collection for centuries as, for example, were the portraits of Jane Seymour (no.2) and the Earl of Exeter (no.6) by Cornelius Ketel, which both passed by direct descent in the ownership of the Marquess of Ailesbury’s family. Although portraits were often painted for particular houses and settings, they were often moved between great houses because of marriage and inheritance, and in each they were evidence of the connections and alliances of the landed family in whose hands they had fallen. Sometimes the accumulation was such that the family lost track of the subjects of their portraits, which would be displayed in most of the significant public rooms of the house, from the Great Hall and the Long Gallery to later types of room such as entrance halls, saloons and picture galleries. Walpole noted in despair of one country house in which the noble family had managed to lose the list of numbers which gave identities of their extensive portrait collection, caustically observing that ‘they are only sure that they have so many pounds of ancestors in the lump.’9 The impression that Van Dyck made on succeeding generations as having captured the essential image of English nobility, can be seen in the writings of critics and painters in the early nineteenth century. William Hazlitt, for instance, in his essay ‘On a Portrait of an English Lady, by Vandyck’, wrote of an unnamed portrait in the Louvre, which he ranked alongside paintings by Titain, Rubens, and Poussin, as ‘the very perfection of the English female face ... the complexion is delicate and clear; and over the whole figure (which is seated) there reigns the utmost propriety and decorum.’10 The painter Benjamin Haydon saw the portraits at Petworth House in Sussex, when staying as the guest of Lord Egremont in 1826. They dined, he recalled, ‘with the finest Vandykes in the world’ and he noted how at night he ‘saw the old Portraits trembling in a sort of twilight, I almost fancied I heard them breathe.’11 But by the early twentieth century, the provenance and association of the portrait had become almost as significant as the sitter, and a number of important collections were brought together at this time. This is illustrated by the highly important collections acquired in the early twentieth century by the 1st and 2nd Lord Cowdray at Cowdray Park, in Sussex, and his brother the Hon. Clive Pearson at Parham Park, in the same county. The Cowdray collection included the three full-length portraits in this catalogue of the Countess of Nottingham and her two daughters (nos 7, 8, & 9), which were acquired from the Compton Verney sale in 1921, as well as purchases made at the Wroxton Abbey dispersals in the 1930s, such as the family group of Lady Pope and her two children (no.13). The furnishing of Cowdray Park and Parham with the finest examples of Tudor and Jacobean portraiture was made possible by a wave of sales of ancient country house estates from the now impoverished aristocracy that began following the First World War. It gave an opportunity for the nouveau riche who had made financial fortunes through industry, commerce and banking, and who were now being ennobled themselves, to acquire for their houses the instant patina of heritage that had taken the ancient regime centuries to accrete. In English country houses, portraits still play a key role today, both as works of art and historical documents that underline the history of the family and the history of the place. In no other genus of art are the identity of the sitter and the location of the family home as significant. It is impossible for the curious modern mind not to wonder what scenes these portraits have watched over in their time. In Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen wonderfully conjured up the image of Stuart portraits peering down on the transformation of an country house interior to the latest fashion, ‘Oh could the originals of the portraits against the wainscot, could the gentlemen in brown velvet and ladies in blue satin have seen what was going on…The portraits themselves seemed to be staring in some astonishment.’12

Opposite Buck Hall, Cowdray Park © Christies





English School circa 1600 – 1610

The Ditchley Henry VIII (1491 – 1547) Oil on canvas: 90 ¾ x 58 ½ in. (230.5 x 148.5 cm.) Painted circa 1600 – 1610 Provenance Sir Henry Lee, K.G. (1533 – 1611) of Ditchley, Oxfordshire; thence by descent at Ditchley Park to the Rt. Hon. Harold Arthur Lee-Dillon, 17th Viscount Dillon (1844 – 1932); his estate sale, Sotheby’s London, 24 May 1933, lot 53, 300 gns., bt. Leggatt by whom sold to the Rt. Hon. Ronald Nall-Cain, 2nd Baron Brocket (1904 –1967), Bramshill, Hampshire; The Brocket sale of Historical Portraits, Sotheby’s London, 16 July 1952, lot 45, 228 gns., bt. Barratt; Private collection, France. Literature G. Vertue, ‘Notebook I’, The Walpole Society, vol. XVIII, 1929/30, p.155. ‘A New Pocket Companion for Oxford…’, Oxford, 1809, printed for J. Cooke, under Ditchley, p.137, ‘Henry VIII. By Hans Holbein, in his highest finishing’. Catalogue of Paintings in the possession of the Right Honble. Viscount Dillon at Ditchley, Oxford, 1908, p.17, no.20. Tancred Borenius, ‘Ditchley Pictures’, Country Life, vol.LXXIII, 1933, p.190. R. Strong, Tudor and Jacobean Portraits, 1969, vol. I, pp.158-159. R. Strong, The Tudor and Stuart Monarchy, 1995, pp.34-35.

1. Of the other seven full-length versions, the four earliest are on panel and those that are later in date, on canvas. In order of likely age they are: (i) 1537 – c.1562, panel, The Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool; (ii) 1537 – c.1557, panel, Earl of Egremont, Petworth House (National Trust), Sussex; (iii) 1557 – 1574, panel, Duke of Devonshire, Chatsworth, Derbyshire; (iv) c.1560s, panel, Trinity College, Cambridge; (v) 1560 – 1600, canvas, Parham House, West Sussex, canvas; (vi) 1600 – 1620, Duke of Rutland, Belvoir Castle, canvas; (vii) 1620 – 1630, canvas, Royal Collection, St. James’s Palace, London. For a full discussion, see X. Brooke & D. Crombie, Henry VIII Revealed, Holbein’s Portrait and its Legacy, 2003, ex. cat., Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool. 2. R. Strong, The Cult of Elizabeth, 1977, p.154, where it is described as ‘Lee’s own picture of his life’s heroine’. It was bequeathed to the National Portrait Gallery by his descendant the 17th Viscount Dillon in 1932. 3. E.K. Chambers, Sir Henry Lee: An Elizabethan Portrait, 1936, p.149.


s the most potent and iconic image ever created of a monarch, Holbein’s monumental portrayal of Henry VIII has come down to us over the centuries through innumerable copies and versions, and even derivations to pub signs. This newly rediscovered work now joins a small surviving group of seven other full-lengths.1 All the other replica portraits after Holbein of the King are smaller in scale, being either three-quarter, half- or bust-length; the great majority of which were predominantly painted in the second half of the sixteenth or beginning of the seventeenth century. Since none of the other known full-length versions are ever likely to be sold, our portrait has extra significance, particularly given its important and prestigious provenance. It was very likely commissioned by Sir Henry Lee, K.G. (1533 – 1611), one of Queen Elizabeth’s most beloved and faithful courtiers, to decorate his newly built long gallery at Ditchley, his home in Oxfordshire. There it would have been a companion to another full-length portrait, Lee’s celebrated masterpiece by Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, the so-called ‘Ditchley Elizabeth I’, which portrays the elderly Queen standing upon a map of England (fig.2).2 Lee by now was quite elderly and in retirement, having faithfully served Queen Elizabeth for over forty years as one of her greatest favourites. In 1570 Elizabeth had appointed him her Champion, and thus he was responsible for the supervision of the famous accession-day tilts, turning them into large and spectacular public festivals. These armed combats were padded out with eulogistic speech-making and triumphant music for which Lee directed and wrote most of the material. In 1580 he was then also appointed Master of the Armoury. Even after his retirement in 1590 aged fifty-seven, with the royal choir singing ‘my golden locks, time hath to silver turned’ set to music by Dowland, Elizabeth I still required him to continue overseeing the annual festival in her honour. During her visit to Ditchley in 1592, Lee told Elizabeth that though no longer her Champion, he nonetheless continued to have ‘a verie courte in his own bosome, making presence of her in his soule, who was absent from his sight’.3 Lee had first entered the service of the Tudors under Henry VIII at the young age of fourteen, so for him to commission and display majestic portraits of first his Queen and then his former King, would have been a significant statement both of his loyalty to the Tudor crown, as well as a glorious reflection of his own importance within their courts. fig.3 Anthonis Mor (Antonio Moro), Sir Henry Lee, oil on panel, 1568, © The National Portrait Gallery, London.



4. A portrait of Lee depicted fulllength in his robes as a Knight of the Garter, now in the collection of the Society of Armourers and Brasiers, London. 5. Vertue (op. cit.) 6. Including ‘Sir Thomas Lee’, (Tate Britain). 7. Inscribed by the artist on the reverse: ‘Henry VIII.- London June1823. Painted by Henry Bone R.A. Enamel Painter to His Majesty, and Enamel painter to His R.H. the Duke of York, &c &c after the Original by Holbien [sic] in the possession of Lord Viscount Dillon, Ditchley, Oxfordshire’ 8. 29 November 2011, lot 95, 13 5/8 x 9 1/16 in. (34.4 x 22.8 cm.), against an estimate of £50,000 – £70,000. 9. Lord Brocket was a notorious Nazi sympathiser, who even flew to Germany to attend Hitler’s 50th birthday party. It is likely that the character of Lord Darlington in the book by Kazuo Ishiguro, Remains of the Day, which was later made into a film, was based on Brocket.

In the early eighteenth century, after his visit to Ditchley Park in 1713, the famous antiquarian George Vertue wrote in his notebook that the portrait of Henry VIII may well have been painted by the same artist who had also painted Lee’s own portrait which is now known today to be by Marcus Gheerearts:4 – ‘I have some reason to suspect by the colouring & pencilling, that this was not the very Original, by Holben, but rather I guess a copy done by the same hand that painted the Sr Henry in his Robes.’5 This is certainly an intriguing hypothesis, since Lee was one of Gheeraerts’ most faithful patrons. As the leading court painter during the latter years of Elizabeth’s reign, the artist had previously painted the great portrait of Elizabeth for Lee in 1596, and he went on to paint not only several portraits of Lee himself, but also Lee’s four brothers as well as other family portraits, all of which once hung at Ditchley.6 Such was the fame of this portrait that in 1823, the Ditchley Henry VIII was to be copied and recreated as an important large-scale painted enamel by Henry Bone R.A. (1755 – 1834), the court artist to George III, George VI and William IV.7 This recently sold at Christie’s in London for £313,250.8 The last descendant of Lee to own Ditchley Park was Harold Arthur Lee-Dillon, 17th Viscount Dillon, who was himself a renowned antiquarian and a leading authority on the history of arms and armour and medieval costume. Having succeeded to the title in 1892, he devoted himself to study, writing over fifty books and articles. As well as serving as the Curator of the Royal Armouries from 1892 – 1913, he acted as chairman of the trustees of the National Portrait Gallery from 1894 – 1928. After his death in December 1932, he bequeathed various important portraits to the gallery including that of Sir Henry Lee by Anthonis Mor and of course the Ditchley Elizabeth I. Most of the remaining collection was dispersed in a great sale at Christie’s a few months later in May 1933, where our portrait was bought by the London dealers Leggatts. The painting was then acquired by the 2nd Lord Brocket of Brocket Hall, Hertfordshire. A noted collector, Lord Brocket had recently bought in 1935 another great country house called Bramshill, a Jacobean mansion in Hampshire which since the seventeenth century had been the former family seat of the Cope family. Here, Brocket displayed his large collection of historical portraits that he was able to purchase at the numerous country house sales now forced on the English nobility. Crippling death duties and rising costs had made their large estates unmanageable and from the 1930s to the 1950s there were many important dispersal sales. Some twenty years later, rather ironically financial pressures forced Brocket to sell his collection too.9 The pattern for our portrait derives from Holbein’s great mural for the Privy Chamber at Whitehall Palace which was commisioned

fig.1 Hans Holbein the Younger, King Henry VIII & King Henry VII, ink and watercolour c.1536 – 1537, © National Portrait Gallery, London 14

fig.2 Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Queen Elizabeth I (‘The Ditchley portrait’), c.1592, © National Portrait Gallery, London

by Henry VIII and completed in 1537. This dynastic group portrait, with its strong anti-Papist subtext, portrayed the King standing full-length alongside his then queen, Jane Seymour, (who was to die that very same year), and with his long deceased parents Henry VII and Elizabeth of York. Though this work was destroyed in a fire that in January 1698 swept through the old palace of Whitehall, we can gain an impression of the portrait through the small-scale later copy at Hampton Court by Remigius van Leemput, painted circa 1667, and through the surviving left-hand section of the cartoon, which Holbein drew as the full-size preparatory sketch for the mural, now in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery, London (fig.1). Of the other surviving full-length copies, one of the earliest and finest in quality is that in the collection of the Walker Art Gallery which, given its provenance, may well have been commissioned by Edward Seymour, Jane’s brother. Two others painted in the 1550s were painted by Hans Eworth, who followed on from Holbein as court painter during the reign of Mary I.

10. R. Strong, Holbein and Henry VIII, London, 1967, p.39. 11. See X. Brooke, op. cit., p.36. 12. Since it is found in other paintings by the artist, it is known today as the ‘Holbein pattern’. Of the finest quality, these carpets came from Oushak in Western Anatolia.

Holbein’s original design for the mural, as seen in the cartoon, depicts the King facing towards the right, whereas van Leemput’s copy shows he was ultimately painted in the mural looking straight towards the spectator, as in our portrait, with a splendidly priapic cod-piece, creating a powerful impact and leaving the viewer in no doubt as to the authority of the King and his power as a monarch. This portrait pattern was so successful that it was widely disseminated thereafter as an early form of royal propaganda, and even today it is the most recognised image of the King. Roy Strong has noted how ‘the bulky figure of the king, legs astride, feet firmly planted on the ground, a fantastic amalgam of the static and the swaggering, is accepted as Holbein’s most definitive portrait creation. No one ever thinks of Henry VIII in any other way than as this gouty, pig-eyed, pile of flesh, whose astounding girth is only emphasized by the layers of slashed velvets and furs that encase him’.10 Henry’s costume is opulent in its display of regal wealth. The body and sleeves of his heavily embroidered gold brocaded silk tunic are set with gold-mounted rubies and slashed to reveal a white silk shirt, and his cloak is lined with ermine. Below his left knee is the blue ribbon of the Order of the Garter with embroidered gold motto ‘Honi soit qui mal y pense’ from the Old French, ‘shame upon him who thinks evil upon it’. Across his shoulders is a heavily jewelled collar studded with giant rubies or ‘ballas’, interspersed with rows of pearls and foiled diamonds, and which may well have been that worn by Henry at the grand official reception of Anne of Cleves at Greenwich in January 1540, and described in wonder by the chronicler Edward Hall as ‘a collar of such Balystes [rubies] and Perle that few men ever saw the lyke’.11 His circular gold pendant centred with a black-foiled diamond and suspended from a gold chain of alternating columns and initial ‘Hs’, also reproduces that which appears in the Whitehall mural. Other versions, such as the one at Petworth House, show him with a cruciform pendant. The King’s hands clasp leather gloves and a dagger in a magnificent bejewelled scabbard suspended from his waist, poignantly hung beneath his virilantly protruberant cod-piece. Rather than a crown he wears a diagonally positioned pearl and diamond-encrusted black velvet cap with white ostrich plume. His jaunty cap, along with his pose – arms akimbo and legs apart – add a nonchalantly powerful element to his strongly authoritative presence. The rich decorative design of the portrait is further brought together by the costly and prized ‘Turkey’ carpet on which Henry stands.12 15



English School circa 1536 – 1540s

Jane Seymour (1508 – 1537), third wife of King Henry VIII Oil on panel: 16 x 13 in. (40.5 x 33 cm.) Painted circa 1536 – 1540s Provenance Presumably commissioned by her brother Edward Seymour, 1st Earl of Hertford and 1st Duke of Somerset (c.1500 – 1552); thence by descent in 1676 through the Earls of Hertford and Dukes of Somerset to the Earls of Elgin and Marquesses of Ailesbury, Tottenham Park, Savernake, Wiltshire; David Brudenell-Bruce, Earl of Cardigan, Savernake Lodge, Wiltshire. Literature Jones, Views of the seats of Noblemen & Gentlemen in England, Wales, Scotland & Ireland, second series comprising of the western counties’, 1829, under Tottenham Park, Wiltshire; the seat of the Marquess of Ailesbury, K.T. where, as the very first painting listed in the collection, it is described as ‘a head of Lady Jane Seymour, wife of Henry VIII ’.


1. Ian Tyers, Tree-ring analysis of a panel painting: Jane Seymour, Queen of England, May 2011. 2. Private note dated November 2011 written by the conservator Katherine Ara, in conjunction with Libby Sheldon. 3. research/programmes/makingart-in-tudor-britain/case-studies/ case-study-1.php

his is a rare image of Jane Seymour, Henry VIII’s one true love, and the mother of the future King Edward VI. Her premature and tragic death in October 1537 after giving birth to the male heir Henry VIII so craved for, having being Queen for a mere seventeen months, has meant that her portraiture is very sparse - indeed she is not even represented in the National Portrait gallery. Therefore, this small portrait with its unbroken provenance leading directly back through fifteen generations of the Seymour family and their descendants at their estates in the forest of Savernake, is an important new addition to her iconography. Dendrochronology has revealed that the Baltic panel on which it is painted has a last tree ring from 1519, which gives a probable felling date of between 1523 – 1539. This suggests a dating for the portrait to between c.1536 – 1540s, which is to say either shortly before, or just after, Jane Seymour’s death in 1537.1 The painting has no pretensions to being an ad vivum likeness as in Holbein’s famous renditions of her known by the drawing in the Royal Collection (fig.1) and the oil portrait in the Kunsthistorische Museum in Vienna. Rather, it is a much simplified and idealised image of the Queen, several times removed from the Holbein, and perhaps from another source altogether. However, it does accurately convey Jane’s famously pale skin, blonde hair and very light blue eyes. Although her costume at first glance appears modest, it is nonetheless comprised of costly fabrics; she sports a golden mantle, exquisitely rendered by the artist in gold leaf with a beautifully preserved over-laying pattern, and her bodice and head-piece are trimmed with pearls. There is also the motif of a crown subtly included in the pattern at the top of her bodice to affirm her regal status. Whilst our portrait could have been painted in her lifetime, it is probably more plausible to consider that it was painted in the years immediately after her death as a memento for the family of their late relative’s achievement in becoming Queen and mother to the heir. Another very rare comparative is the primitive portrait of Jane in the collection of early historical portraits belonging to the Society of Antiquaries of London at Burlington House on Piccadilly. Their painting is likewise on panel and is of almost an identical size to ours, measuring 16 ½ x 14 ¼ in. Although it is extremely difficult to assess it properly due to the thick old yellowed varnishes and over-paint which cover it, it too has been dated to the 1540s, (fig.2).

Technical analysis of our portrait has revealed that the painting is constructed using techniques that are similarly found in other royal portraits of the period such as that of Edward IV, (fig.3), and Henry VI.2 These two portraits, both of which are in the National Portrait Gallery in London, have recently been the subject of an ongoing research project undertaken by the institution, the results of which can be seen online.3 The preparation layers are similar for all three panels, comprising of a white chalk ground followed by a thin pink imprimatura composed of lead white and red. In the Seymour portrait two reds are present, vermilion and red lead; vermilion is also present in the imprimatura of the Edward VI portrait. The underdrawing in all three portraits is red, and appears JaneHans was born at the Wulfhall (Wolf Hall), Savernake Forest, chalks Wiltshire, the eldest fig.1 Holbein Younger, Jane Seymour, black and coloured on paper, c.1536 – 1537, TheJohn RoyalSeymour Collection © Her MajestyWentworth. Queen Elizabeth II daughter of Sir and Margery Through her maternal 16


Comparison between the eyes and mouths of our portrait of Jane Seymour and the NPG’s portrait of Edward IV

fig.3 English School, King Edward IV, oil on panel, c.1540, © National Portrait Gallery, London

fig.2 English School, Jane Seymour, oil on panel, c.1540s, © The Society of Antiquaries of London

to have been executed with a dry earth pigment or red chalk, and this is visible to the naked eye. It has been executed with small curved lines visible in places indicating the features and positioning the figures within the space. The presence of these ‘anchor marks’ rather than a coherent underdrawing implies that there may have been a pattern or earlier version from which the drawing was transferred to the panel. In addition to these marks all three panels have very fine diagonally aligned linear hatching to indicate the shadows of the features, some in red, some in brown and black. Other similarities are in the painting technique of the images; all have the use of very distinct fine brush strokes to indicate the lashes of the eyes and a sgraffito technique has been used in the azurite of the drapery of the Seymour portrait and that of Henry VI. It seems probable therefore that all three portraits were executed at a similar date in England and have been produced within the same studio tradition. Jane was born at Wulfhall (Wolf Hall), Savernake Forest, Wiltshire, the eldest daughter of Sir John Seymour and Margery Wentworth. Through her maternal grandfather, she was a descendant of King Edward III of England. She succeeded Anne Boleyn as queen consort and third wife of King Henry VIII following the latter’s execution in


4. See L. Barrett, Jane Seymour, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, http://

1536. Jane had been a maid-of-honour in 1532 to Queen Catherine, and went on to serve Queen Anne Boleyn. The first record of Henry VIII’s interest in Jane was early in 1536, some time before the death of Catherine of Aragon. Contemporary accounts note that Jane had a child-like face, and a modest personality. According to the Imperial Ambassador Eustace Chapuys, she was of ‘middling’ stature and extremely pale; he also commented that she was not a great beauty. However, John Russell stated that Jane was ‘the fairest of all the King’s wives’ And Polydore Vergil that she was ‘a woman of the utmost charm in both character and appearance.’4 Jane was Henry’s favourite wife because she gave birth to his much coveted male heir, the future King Edward VI (1537 – 1553). However, she died of postnatal complications less than two weeks after Edward’s birth. She was the only one of Henry’s wives to receive a queen’s funeral, and after her death, Henry wore black for the next three months and did not remarry for a further three years. When he died in 1547, at his request he was buried beside Jane in the grave he had made for her, at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle




Studio of

Hans Holbein the Younger (c.1497/98 – 1543)

Lady Alice More (c.1474 – c.1551) Oil on panel: 14 ½ x 10 ½ in. (36.9 x 26.7 cm.) Painted circa 1530 Provenance Frederick, 2nd Baron Methuen (1818 – 1891), Corsham Court, Wiltshire; thence by descent to Paul, 4th Baron Methuen (1886 – 1974); sold August 1958 to Dr Hans Schaeffer, Schaeffer Gallery, New York; acquired (via Paul Herzogenrath) by Rudolf August Oetker (1916 – 2007), Bielefeld, Germany. Literature Dr Paul Ganz, ‘Zwei Werke Hans Holbeins d. j. aus der Fruhzeit des ersten englischen Aufenthalts’, Festschrift des Kunstmuseums, Basel, 1936. Tancred Borenius, Catalogue of the Pictures at Corsham Court, 1939, no.147. ‘Two Little-Known Pictures by Holbein in England’, The Burlington Magazine for Connoisseurs, vol.83, no.488, (Nov.1943), pp.285–288. Professor Elizabeth Rogers, The Correspondence of Sir Thomas More, Princeton, 1947, p.422. Dr Paul Ganz, The Paintings of Hans Holbein, 1950, cat.42, pl.76. R. Salvini, Holbein il Giovane, 1971, no.48. Ruth Norrington, In the Shadow of a Saint: Lady Alice More, 1983, p.49 & pp.57–58. Kathleen Wells, ‘The Iconography of Thomas More’, Studies: An Irish Quarterly Review, vol.70, no.277 (Spring, 1981), pp.55–71. John Rowlands, Holbein: The Paintings of Hans Holbein, Oxford, 1985, p.70 & p.231, no.227. Exhibited London, Royal Academy, Burlington House, 1877, no.146. London, Royal Academy, Burlington House, 1910, no.106. London, Royal Academy, Burlington House ‘Holbein and other masters of the 16th and 17th Centuries’, 1950, no.11. Brussels, Palais des Beaux-Arts, ‘L’Europe Humaniste’, 1954/5, no.39, pl.25.

1. Apart from our portrait, the only other surviving images of Alice More are to be found in Holbein’s preliminary sketch for the More family group (Basel Museum), and the late sixteenth century copy at Nostell Priory by Rowland Lockey after Holbein’s original. Holbein’s great painting which had passed into the collection of the Bishop of Olmütz hung in his Summer Palace at Kremsier where it was destroyed by fire in 1752. 2. The portrait of Erasmus revealed by the infrared reflectograms relates to a group of portraits of the scholar painted by Holbein and his studio in the early years of the 1530s, before the artist’s return to England. In these, Erasmus is shown in three-quarter profile to the left, his hands either on a closed or open book, a design not dissimilar to that of Alice More. For a discussion of the Basel portraits of Erasmus, see P. Ganz, The Paintings of Hans Holbein the Younger, First Complete Edition, London, 1950, p.235. 3. Allen VII, nos. 2211, 2212 (see R. Norrington, op. cit., p.58). 4. See S. Foister, op. cit., pp.35–38.



his intimate portrait is the only surviving independent and contemporary likeness of Alice, the second wife of Sir Thomas More.1 Sir Thomas was one of Hans Holbein’s greatest and most famous patrons and this portrait, which was once considered to be by Holbein himself, was most likely produced under his supervision by his studio in Basel. Intriguingly, infrared examination shows it to have been painted over an unfinished portrait of the Dutchborn scholar and Humanist philosopher, Desiderius Erasmus, Sir Thomas More’s great intellectual rival and friend, and the person responsible for Holbein’s introduction to More in 1526 (see illustrations overleaf).2

To mark their friendship, as a gift for Erasmus, More commissioned from Holbein a life-size group portrait of his family. Erasmus wrote of his delight at receiving it in a letter of 1529 to More’s eldest daughter, Margaret Roper – ‘I cannot find words to express the delight I felt when Holbein’s picture showed me your whole family almost as faithfully as if I had been among you… The gifted hand of the painter has given me no small portion of my wish. I recognise you all... Convey my respectful salutations to the honoured Lady Alice…since I cannot kiss her, I kiss her portrait.’3 Holbein, as was custom, prepared for this monumental painting by making individual, ad vivum portrait studies in crayon. Of the eleven figures to be included in the composition, the drawings of seven survive today in the Royal Collection at Windsor.4 These drawings are all of a similar scale, varying from approximately 35 - 40 cm. in height by 26 - 30 cm. in width – dimensions that are comparable to our panel portrait of Alice. These drawings provided the source for subsequent portraits in oil by Holbein, as in the drawing of Thomas More, whose outlines were pricked for transfer, and whose head is on the same scale as his oil portrait in the Frick Collection, New York. The crayon study of Alice More no longer survives, but our portrait is likely to have derived from it, transferred by the same method. Although Holbein’s famous group portrait of the More family was destroyed by fire in the eighteenth century, its preparatory drawing, which is now in the Kunstmuseum in Basel, provides us with further insight into the artist’s methods and his relationship with More as patron. The drawing, executed in pen and brush with black ink


over chalk, has additional inscriptions and motifs in brown ink that document the changes More wished Holbein to incorporate. They show for example that Sir Thomas preferred for Alice, on the far right of the group, to sit reading a book rather than kneeling in prayer, with her pet monkey scrabbling at her skirt.5 Given that our portrait is painted over an unfinished Erasmus, and from a pattern type that is dateable to c.1530 when Holbein was in Basel, and that it is painted on a linden panel (a distinctive European native hardwood), rather than on Baltic oak which was predominantly used in England, it seems certain that our portrait was painted in Basel. Holbein’s return to London in 1532 therefore gives us a terminus ante quem for the portrait. It is also worth noting the double layer of azurite, a highly expensive blue pigment used for the background. Often found in Holbein’s portraits and those of his contemporaries, its cost meant that it was only used for significant commissions, whereas in copies or lesser works, it invariably was replaced with cheaper, less stable alternatives.

5. Susan Foister has commented that Holbein’s compositional arrangement of the figures mirrors traditional groupings of the Holy Family (S. Foister, ibid., p.34). 6. Harpsfield, pp.93-94 (R. Norrington, ibid., p.45). 7. Allen IV, no.999 (R. Norrington, ibid., p.37). 8. Letters and Papers. Henry VIII, 2. Part I, no.2726 (R. Norrington, ibid., p.31). 9. Retha M. Warnicke, ‘More, Alice, Lady More (b. in or after 1474, d. in or before 1551)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004.


Alice More (née Harpur) was the wealthy widow of a prominent Mercer, John Middleton, at the time of her marriage to Sir Thomas More in the summer of 1511. Sir Thomas’s first wife, Hans Holbein the Younger (1497/8 –1543) Erasmus of Rotterdam, 1530 Jane Colt, had been dead and buried a mere Oil on panel: 13 x 10 in. (33 x 25.5 cm.) three weeks. There is no explanation for the Galleria Nazionale, Parma, Italy speed with which they married, but this did © Mondadori Electa / The Bridgeman Art Library not compromise what proved to be a very successful union that lasted nearly twenty-five years until More’s execution in 1535. Alice became surrogate mother to More’s four children (as well as her own by her first marriage), mistress of the house, and his most faithful companion. Erasmus noted Sir Thomas’s devotion to her, describing how ‘He lives on such sweet and pleasant terms with her, as if she was as young and lovely as anyone can desire, and scarcely anyone obtains from his wife by masterfulness and severity, what More does from his blandishments and jests’.6 For her part, her determination to please her husband and win his respect is revealed in another observation by Erasmus, who was impressed that More convinced Alice to take up music despite her middle age, ‘It was a striking persuade a woman, middle-aged and set in her ways, and much occupied with her home, to learn and sing to the cithern and lute, the monochord, or the recorder, and to do a daily exercise set by her husband’.7 It can be no coincidence that it was during their marriage that Sir Thomas More achieved greatness, and within a few years of it he wrote his theological masterpiece, Utopia (1516). In his own words and personal utopia – ‘I come home, and commune with my wife, chat with my children and talk with my servants. All these things I reckon and account as business, for as much as they must be done, and done must they need be, unless a man will be a stranger in his own house. And every man must do his utmost to be civil and obliging to those whom nature had provided to be companions of his life, or chance, or choice...’8 As his career advanced, More frequently left Alice alone to supervise the household; his only extant letter to her concerns their barn that burned down in 1529. Around the end of 1534, although she did not understand the reasons for his imprisonment, she petitioned the government for his release. After his execution the crown voided the trust he had belatedly established for her but granted her an annuity of £20 in 1537. She became entangled in lawsuits, one of them initiated by William Roper, her stepson-in-law, who depicted her as an interfering busybody in his account of Thomas’s life. She died on or before 25 April 1551 and was probably buried at Chelsea.9

Infrared reflectograms revealing the portrait of Erasmus beneath that of Alice




Follower of

Hans Holbein the Younger (c.1497/98 – 1543)

Lady Margaret Wotton, Marchioness of Dorset (1487 – 1541) Oil on panel: 30 ½ x 25 in. (77.5 x 64 cm.) Inscribed upper right with the Lumley cartellino Painted circa 1532 – 1535 Provenance John, 1st Baron Lumley (c.1533 – 1609), Lumley Castle, Durham; Horace Walpole, 4th Earl of Orford (1717 – 1797), Strawberry Hill; by descent to William 8th Earl Waldegrave (1788 – 1859), by whom sold, ‘Sale of the Valuable Contents of Strawberry Hill’, 17 May 1842, lot 78 (as a ‘portrait of Mary Tudor’); where acquired by Lady Charlotte Elizabeth Guest (1812 – 1895); by descent to Ivor Bertie Guest, 1st Baron Wimborne (1835 – 1914); sold 9 March 1923 to Dr Eduard Beith; Christie’s, London, 8 April 1938, lot 23, (as ‘The Duchess of Suffolk’, bt. Leggatt Bros., London); Ronald Nall-Cain, 2nd Baron Brocket (1904 – 1967), Bramshill Park, Hampshire; Sotheby’s, London, 16 July 1952, lot 46 (as ‘Mary Tudor’); Private Collection, USA; The Weiss Gallery, London, 1987; Dr. & Mrs Bonheim, Cologne, Germany. Literature Lionel Cust, ‘The Lumley Inventories’, Walpole Society, vol. VI, 1917, no.18, pp.15-29. David Piper, ‘The 1590 Lumley Inventory: Hilliard, Segar and the Earl of Essex’, The Burlington Magazine, July 1957, no.7, fig.13, pp.224-229. Mark Evans (ed.), Art Collecting and Lineage in The Elizabethan Age; The Lumley Inventory and Pedigree: Facsimile and Commentary, 2010, no.164, p.163.

1. For more information on the inventory, see catalogue no.5. 2. The entry in the inventory reads ‘Of the olde Marquesse of Dorsett, syster to Sir Edw. Wooton’. The collection also included works quite certainly by Holbein’s own hand, including the famous portrait of Christine of Denmark now in the National Gallery (from which the cartellino was removed during cleaning). 3. Another example of a picture from his collection that was painted after the sitter’s death is a portrait from the 1570s of John, 2nd Lord Bray, who died in 1557 (Private collection, England). 4. See Karl Theodore Parker, The Drawings of Hans Holbein in the Collection of His Majesty the King at Windsor Castle, Oxford, 1945, p.43, no.28. 5. (with whom she had four sons and four daughters). 6. Henry Grey was father to Lady Jane Grey (1536/1537 – 1554), whose brief claim to the throne lasted a mere nine days before her summary execution. 7. Embittered by the experience she moved out of the Grey family seat at Bradgate House and died in 1541 at the age of fifty-four.



he cartellino in the top right corner of this portrait establishes it as having belonged to the famous collector, John Lumley, 1st Baron Lumley (c.1533 – 1609).1 Lumley had many of his paintings inscribed with a trompe l’oeil label such as this, as also seen in the portrait of Peregrine Bertie by Robert Peake, catalogue no. 5. These usually bore the sitter’s name, their offices and dates, but notably not the artist’s name.2 This offers an insight into the importance then attached to a sitter’s identity over that of the artist’s. It suggests Lumley was more concerned with collecting a group of portraits of significant historical figures, rather than being concerned by their attribution. This is not surprising when considering how most of the painters at that time were considered no more than artisan guildsmen, and that few actually signed their works. Nor does Lumley seem to have minded if some of these portraits were later replicas, based upon earlier works. A recent dendrochronology of the panel for this portrait reveals an earliest tree-ring date of c.1556, so presumably it must have been painted after 1560. Lumley may have commissioned the painting himself, and certainly it would have been fairly new when he acquired it for his collection.3 Having left Lord Lumley’s collection, for many years this portrait was assumed to be of Mary I; however, the very closely related drawing by Hans Holbein the Younger in the Royal Collection, Windsor, inscribed as the Marchioness of Dorset clearly establishes that she is indeed Margaret Wotton.4 Other versions of the portrait are known to exist, and like the present work, are based on a lost original, presumably by Holbein. Three variants of our portrait, all identified as Margaret Wotton, are in the collectons at Welbeck Abbey (Duke of Portland), Durnham Massey (National Trust), and the Beecroft Art Gallery, Southend. Margaret Wotton was the daughter of Sir Robert Wotton of Boughton Malherbe, Kent, and the widow of William Medley. She married secondly Thomas Grey, 2nd Marquess of Dorset (1477 – 1530).5 In 1533 she rode in Anne Boleyn’s coronation procession, and was one of two godmothers for Elizabeth I. However, by 1534 Margaret was openly engaged in a dispute with her son, Henry Grey, 1st Duke of Suffolk, 3rd Marquess of Dorset (1517 - 1554),6 a rift that would ruin her reputation. She first quarrelled with her son, who had succeeded to the Marquisate in 1530, when he was forced to pay a fine of £4000 for renouncing his bethrothal to Katherine Fitzalan, daughter of the Earl of Arundel. As a punishment, she tried to restrict his allowance as he was technically still a minor, only agreeing to his marriage to his preferred choice, Lady Frances Brandon, niece of the King, on the condition that the bride’s father, Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk, supported the couple until her son came of age. In 1534 she finally offered to contribute ‘as my small power is and shall be’, but nonetheless Henry brought their dispute before the Kings’ Council, forcing her to admit that his allowance was not ‘meet or sufficient to maintain his estate’, and to offer to increase it.7



Robert Peake (c.1551 – 1619)

Peregrine Bertie, Lord Willoughby de Eresby (1555 – 1601) Oil on panel: 24 x 19 ¾ in. (61 x 50.5 cm.) Inscribed centre left with the Lumley cartellino, Painted circa 1588 – 1590 Provenance John, 1st Lord Lumley (c.1534 – 1609); Dr Raffles, by whom sold 18th October 1863; Thomas Arthur Hope Esq.; National Maritime Museum (1938 – 1972); by whom de-accessioned, Christie’s, 24 July 1972, lot 67; Private collection, England; Sotheby’s, London, 14 July 1999, lot 83 (as ‘Sir Francis Drake’); with The Weiss Gallery; Private collection, England. Literature L. Cust,‘The Lumley Inventories’, Walpole Society, 1918, vol.VI, p.23, described as ‘of the first Lo: Willoughbye [Perigrine] Bartue’. Mark Evans (ed.), Art Collecting and Lineage in The Elizabethan Age; The Lumley Inventory and Pedigree: Facsimile and Commentary on the Manuscript in the Possession of The Earls of Scarborough, The Roxburghe Club, 2010, no.85, p.161. Exhibited London, The New Gallery, Exhibition of the Royal House of Tudor, 1890, no.322, p.112 (as ‘Sir Francis Drake by Frans Pourbus’).

1. The Latin name for the peregrine falcon, Falco Peregrinus, meaning ‘foreigner’ or ‘stranger’ because it is a migratory bird found throughout the world and tends to travel great distances. 2. In 1588, then at Flushing in Flanders, he directed the ships under his command to prevent the Duke of Parma’s forces from going to the aid of the Spanish armada. That same year, when the Spanish forces became active in the Netherlands, with his small force he defended the city of Bergen and through his energy kept them at bay until they finally retired. Peregrine returned to England in 1588 in ill health, and somewhat impoverished. In 1594 Elizabeth I sent Willoughby a letter, expressing the hope that he had recovered his health, and lamenting his inability to serve her, and by 1597 he was appointed Governor of Berwick. He arrived at his post and set about improving the fortifications and governing the district with a severity that although unpopular, was approved by the government in London. His health was rapidly failing, and he died in 1601, purportedly protesting with his last breath his loyalty to the Queen.



his characterful portrait, with its vibrant palette, depicts Peregrine Bertie, Lord Willoughby de Eresby (1555 – 1601), trusted envoy for Queen Elizabeth I, one of the great military commanders of his time. Its distinctive cartellino establishes that it once belonged to the renowned Elizabethan collector, John, 1st Baron Lumley (c.1533 – 1609), as also seen on the portrait of Margaret Wotton from Lumley’s collection, (no.4). Lumley amassed one of the greatest collections outside the Royal Court through a combination of inheritance, astute purchase and commission, including paintings of almost all the notable figures of the Tudor dynasty. His inventory of the collection, also known as the ‘red velvet book’ on account of its binding, and compiled in 1590, still survives today and stands as the single most important document for the study of art in Elizabethan England. Its significance lies not merely in the fact that it is a comprehensive list of the largest private collection of its time, but for the number of paintings to whom artists’ and sitters’ names are given. The finely delineated features of the sitter are comparable to other portraits by Peake, including Arthur, Lord Grey de Wilton (1587), Humphrey Wingfield (1587) and Sir Thomas Crompton (1590), all of which are some of the earliest examples of the artist’s work. The recent re-identification to Peregrine Bertie came about through a detailed study of the Lumley inventory and thence by comparison to known images of the sitter. Other likenesses include a full-length portrait at Drummond Castle, Tayside, attributed to Hieronymous Custodis, and a three-quarter-length portrait at Grimsthorpe Castle, Lincolnshire, by an unknown hand. Ours was very likely executed during Peregrine’s short stay in England between military manoeuvres from March 1588 – 1589 and 1590. The son of Richard Bertie (1517 – 1582), 12th Baron Willoughby de Eresby, and his wife Catherine (1519 – 1580), Peregrine was born at Lower Wesel, Cleves, whilst his parents were fleeing from the Marian persecution of Protestants in England. He was baptised Peregrine because he was born in terra peregrina.1 Due to his continental upbringing and acquaintance with many of the European Royal courts, he was trusted with diplomatic tasks of the utmost delicacy. In December 1585, having successfully persuaded the King of Denmark to send two thousand horse to the aid of the English forces in the Low Countries, Willoughby set off for Hamburg on his way to Flanders. He was appointed to succeed in the governorship of Bergen-op-Zoom, and in 1587 was installed as commander of the English forces in the Low Countries. His valour excited more admiration on the part of his contemporaries than that of most other soldiers of his time.2



Cornelis Ketel (1548 – 1616)

Thomas Cecil, 1st Earl of Exeter (1542 – c.1622) Oil on panel: 36 ½ x 29 ½ in. (93 x 75 cm.) Painted circa 1575 Inscribed at a later date upper left: ‘THOMAS EARL OF EXETER / GRATE GRANDFATHER TO DIANA COUNTESS OF/ AILESBURY’ Provenance By descent through the Earls of Elgin and Marquesses of Ailesbury, Tottenham Park, Savernake, Wiltshire; David Brudenell-Bruce, Earl of Cardigan, Savernake Lodge, Wiltshire.

1. For other portraits from this collection, see Jane Seymour (no.2), and Robert Bruce (no.14). 2. A year after Dorothy’s death he married Frances Brydges, (1580 – 1663) daughter of William Brydges, 4th Baron Chandos of Sudeley Castle, Gloucestershire. They had one daughter who died in infancy. 3. R. Strong, The English Icon, Elizabethan & Jacobean Portraiture, London, 1969, nos.100 & 101. 4. The Weiss Gallery, Icons of Splendour: Early Portraiture (1530 – 1700), 2004, no. 4. 5. For a full analysis of Ketel’s technique see K. Hearn, Dynasties: Painting in Tudor and Jacobean England 1530 – 1630, p.238. 6. K. Hearn, Dynasties: Painting in Tudor and Jacobean England 1530 – 1630, nos.58-60. 7. Karel van Mander, The Lives of the Illustrious Netherlandish and German painters, (Het Schilderboek, 1604), Hessel Miedema (ed.), 1994, p.358. 8. Karel van Mander, (loc. cit.), p.358. 9. According to Van Mander this painting was commissioned by Edward Seymour, 1st earl of Hertford, for which she sat at ‘the house of Hantworth’. The work seems not to have survived. 10. ‘Prodigy Houses’ were so-called as they were usually built with a view to housing Elizabeth I and her entourage as she travelled around the realm; ‘prodigy’ relating, presumably, to ‘prodigious’ hospitality. 11. Van Mander, (ibid.) 12. This observation is made by Tom Shultung from the Hanse Archive, Cologne in Dynasties (ibid.), p.105.


his characterful portrait of Thomas Cecil is one of three portraits in the catalogue to have come from the collection of the Marquesses of Ailesbury.1 The artist has captured Cecil’s handsome figure with great confidence and swagger, yet also a restrained opulence. He is set in clear relief from the muted tones of the background, and it is only on closer examination that the delicate diamonds, rubies and pearls that adorn his hat, and the costly blue silk lining of his cloak become evident. The effect is such that Cecil appears at first glance a modest man, with little to portend that he would die one of the wealthiest men in England. As with the portrait of Jane Seymour (no.2), this portrait passed by descent in the Savernake estate to Cecil’s granddaughter, Lady Diana Grey (d.1689), mentioned in the later inscription, and who married as her second husband Robert Bruce, 2nd Earl of Elgin.

Despite Thomas Cecil’s many accomplishments as a celebrated soldier, politician and courtier, his life has historically been somewhat eclipsed by that of his father, William Cecil (1521 – 1598), 1st Lord Burghley, Secretary of State and chief advisor to Queen Elizabeth I, and his half-brother, Robert Cecil (1563 – 1612), 1st earl of Salisbury, Secretary of State to Elizabeth I and James I (1566 – 1625). In his youth Thomas received an exceptional education, and was pushed extremely hard by his father. In response, he developed a rebellious streak that first surfaced in Paris at the end of the grand tour that was to complete his education, in 1561. Much to his father’s dismay, he neglected his studies for the life of a bon viveur, playing cards and dice, and even becoming involved with a young woman. However, on returning to England in 1563 he married Dorothy Neville (1548 – 1609), daughter of Lord Latimer of Belvoir Castle. They had thirteen children; five sons and eight daughters.2 He was a successful politician and M.P. for Stamford in 1563 – 1567, 1571, and 1572 – 1583, and then for Lincolnshire in 1584 – 1587, and Northamptonshire in 1592 – 1593. Thomas was also acknowledged as a brave and skilful officer, a talent underlined in our portrait, as he pushes aside his cloak to lean on the golden hilt of his sword. Most significantly he helped to suppress the revolt of the northern earls in 1569, and was later made a Knight of the Garter for his part in crushing the rebellion of the Earl of Essex. At the end of Elizabeth I’s life, his father placed him in important strategic roles, both as Lord Lieutenant of Yorkshire and Lord President of the Council of the North, pivotal in helping to secure a peaceful transition of power to James I. In 1598, he became second Baron Burghley, and in 1605 was created 1st Earl of Exeter. Of the few signed works by Ketel to have survived are portraits of Sir Martin Frobisher (c.1535 – 1594) and William Gresham (b.1521),3 as well as a remarkable portrait of Richard Goodricke of Ribston, Yorkshire (1560 – 1601), previously with the Weiss Gallery.4 As in Cecil’s portrait, the artist’s distinctive busy brushstrokes render his sitters more animated and three-dimensional than commonly seen in contemporary English portraits.5 The richly modelled and ruddy faces of his subjects recall the remarkable group of nine portraits of the Smyth family by Ketel, painted around 1579, with notable ‘wet-in-wet’ brushwork and brown-tone shadows.6 His friend and biographer, Karel van Mander (1548 – 1606), praised Ketel’s ability to create ‘good likenesses’ and recounts how, without the use of brush or pencil, he could paint with extraordinary technical dexterity using his fingers and even his toes.7 The striking similarity of the execution of these autograph works helps confirm the attribution of our picture to the hand of Ketel. Born in Gouda, the artist trained under his uncle Cornelis Jacobsz. Ketel (d.c.1568), and in Delft with Anthonie Blocklant. He then moved to Fontainebleau, c.1565, but in 1573 arrived in London as one of the many immigrant artists to enrich London’s artistic community. He established a studio where he painted the ‘great lords of the nobility with wives and children’8 and stayed in London for just eight years, working primarily as a portraitist. Amongst his commissions was a portrait of Elizabeth I,9 who was famously entertained on several occasions by Cecil at his ‘prodigy’ house in Wimbledon.10 Although Ketel enjoyed great success with portraiture, his desire was to be known as a painter of grand historical and allegorical subjects. However, there were few patrons in Elizabethan England for such works, and according to van Mander, though he ‘obtained many portrait commissions [there were] but none for histories towards which his spirit still ever inclined’.11 It was for this reason that it is believed Ketel may have left London for Amsterdam in 1581.12




The Howard Ladies [


he following three full-length portraits representing a mother and two of her daughters were purchased at the Christie’s dispersal sale of the contents of Cowdray Park. Another portrait of a young girl dressed all in white was also part of the set, however we did not acquire that due to concerns over its condition (fig.1). These four portraits of hieratic ladies, depicted at the apogee of courtly life during the last few years of the reign of Elizabeth I, have been described by Sir Roy Strong as ‘…supreme instances of the late Elizabethan costume piece.’ This important group originally passed by marriage into the family of the Lords Willoughby de Broke with whom they descended for some three hundred years, before being acquired by the 2nd Lord Cowdray in the 1920s for his Edwardian baronial hall at Cowdray Park. By this time, however, the identities of the sitters, passed by word of mouth through the generations, had become muddled if not completely forgotten, resulting in the portraits being incorrectly labelled. This confusion, commonly found amongst country house collections, was not resolved at the time of the Christie’s sale. It is perhaps no surprise that the most fabulously decorated of the women, Catherine Carey, the Countess of Nottingham (no.7), should have been as the centuries passed incorrectly identified as Queen Elizabeth herself, which further resulted in the portrait of one of the daughters (no.8) being confused with her mother. The cypher motif ‘C C C’ corresponding to Catherine Carey’s initials found on the crossbow jewel helps confirm that she is indeed the Countess. We were then able to identify no.9 as the Countess’s middle daughter Frances Howard, since the portrait is filled with allusions to love and fidelity, and therefore was almost certainly painted at the time of her second marriage in 1601.

Cat. no.7 Robert Peake, Catharine Carey c.1547 – 1603 30

Cat. no. 8 English School, Elizabeth Howard, c.1564 – 1646

Further understandable confusion had arisen over the identity of the remaining two portraits, since both sitters were identically named Elizabeth. Given that Elizabeth Howard, Lady Southwell, was the Countess of Nottingham’s eldest daughter, based on her more mature features, we have been able to identify her as no.8. Therefore it must be her daughter, Elizabeth Southwell, who is depicted in the white dress of a maid-of-honour, from circa 1599, (fig.1). One interesting question remains; why was there not a portrait of the Countess’s third and youngest daughter Margaret Howard in the group? Sadly, it is recorded that she was troubled by mental illness, which ultimately resulted in her confinement, and probably accounts for her absence. In her public life Elizabeth I was surrounded by a world of men, but in private she was constantly attended by her ladies of the bedchamber and the maids-of-honour who clothed her, bathed her and watched her while she ate. Amongst this close inner circle it was her female relations who had the greatest access to the Queen. It was these cousins, ladies-in-waiting and gentlewomen of the chamber who tended her and helped Elizabeth to carefully cultivate her image as Gloriana, the Virgin Queen, in the glittering world of her court. Catherine Carey was Elizabeth’s first cousin, for she was the grand-daughter of Mary Boleyn, the elder sister of the fated Anne Boleyn, and mistress to Henry VIII even before Anne. Catherine was regarded by Elizabeth as more than just a cousin, or first lady-in-waiting, as she also fulfilled the role of a trusted confidante, and was held in Elizabeth’s affection like a sister. Thus it was natural that her daughters would also be included in this elite inner circle of women who surrounded the Queen. The Howards were consummate courtiers; beautiful, well-born, and highly educated - they were versed in courtly manners, humanist ideals and renaissance allegory. Their portraits can be placed within the context of Elizabeth’s court, where in the years following the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588, an intricate iconography for the Queen was woven from various threads combining mythological and chivalric symbolism, creating a tapestry of immense complexity

Cat. no. 9 English School, Frances Howard c.1600

fig.1 English School, Elizabeth Southwell, c.1600, © Christie’s, London 31



7 Robert Peake (c.1551 – c.1619) and Studio

Catherine Carey, Countess of Nottingham (c.1547 – 1603) Oil on canvas: 78 x 54 in. (198.1 x 137.2 cm.) Painted circa 1597 Provenance By descent through the sitter’s granddaughter Catherine Southwell (d.1657), who married in 1618 Sir Greville Verney, 7th Baron Willoughby de Broke (c. 1586 – 1642), of Compton Verney, Warwickshire, and by descent to Sir Richard Greville, 19th Baron Willoughby de Broke (1869 – 1923), of Compton Verney, Warwickshire, by whom sold; Sotheby’s London, 27 June 1921, lot 66, as ‘Marcus Gheeraerdts, the Younger, Portrait of Queen Elizabeth’, bt. Leggatt’s, London, from whom acquired by Harold Pearson, 2nd Viscount Cowdray (1888 – 1933), thence by descent to Michael Pearson, 4th Viscount Cowdray (b.1944), Cowdray Park, Sussex. Literature R. Strong, ‘Forgotten Age of English Paintings, Portraits at Cowdray and Parham, Sussex’, Country Life Annual, 1966, p.46. C. Anson, A Catalogue of Pictures and Drawings in the Collection of The Viscount Cowdray, London, 1971, p.9, no.27, pl.1, as ‘Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger’. J. Arnold, Queen Elizabeth’s Wardrobe Unlock’d, 1988, pp.86-88, no.150. J. Ashelford, Dress in the Age of Elizabeth I, 1988, p.36, no.21. Exhibited Vienna, Galerie of the Succession, Exhibition of British Art, September-October 1937, as ‘Gheeraerts’ (lent by Viscountess Cowdray).

O 1. It was Roy Strong who first speculated in 1966 whether ‘we may be contemplating the features of her [Elizabeth I’s] close and devoted friend Catherine Carey, Countess of Nottingham.’ Strong, op.cit, p.46. 2. He was the Queen’s first cousin, the son of Mary Boleyn by her first husband William Carey, and as such a member of the ‘extended royal family’, relatives of the sovereign who were not in the line of succession. 3. For the first decade and a half of their marriage, little is known about Howard and his wife, thanks in large part to the disappearance of their family papers. 4. The son of Lord William Howard, and the grandson of the 2nd Duke of Norfolk, he was the only member of the Howard family, after the fall of the 4th Duke of Norfolk, to retain influence until the very end of Elizabeth’s reign. 5. Aware of his own lack of experience as a wartime leader he was judicious in surrounding himself with expert seamen and councillors such as Drake, Hawkins and Frobisher.


nce thought to represent Elizabeth I, this is the most spectacular and elaborately decorated of all known Elizabethan female full-lengths. Without equal, the magnificent costume is embroidered in multi-coloured threads, including gold and silver, and is decorated with a myriad of insects, flowers and leaves as well as symbolic and emblematic designs, most notably obelisks, and further embellished with the most fabulous jewels. In the richness of all these elements, it surpasses even the famed and wondrous portraiture of Queen Elizabeth herself.1 Whilst the portrait clearly does not represent the Queen, the costume and indeed many of the jewels may well have come from her royal wardrobe, gifted or loaned to the actual sitter, her closest friend and confidante, Catherine Carey. Catherine was the eldest daughter of the Queen’s first cousin Henry Carey, 1st Baron Hunsdon (1526 – 1596),2 and this familial link facilitated her life-long friendship with Elizabeth and ultimately a position at court that was the highest of any woman. Indeed, such was their bond of friendship, that Catherine’s death in February 1603 is said to have precipitated Elizabeth’s own demise some few weeks later. In July 1563 Catherine Carey married Charles Howard, later 2nd Baron Howard of Effingham and 1st Earl of Nottingham (1536 – 1624), a marriage that shaped the Elizabethan court.3 The bride and groom were both descendants of Thomas Howard, 2nd Duke of Norfolk, though by different wives. Her husband was one of the most important military and political figures in Elizabeth I’s reign, also enjoying the Queen’s friendship and confidence, thus reinforcing the couple’s mutual ties to the monarch.4 Appointed Lord High Admiral of England in 1570, Howard was in command of the English fleet at the time of the Spanish Armada in 1588, and in 1596 he led the celebrated Cadiz Expedition that had caused such enormous humiliation both militarily and psychologically for Philip II of Spain.5 In recognition of these great victories he was created Earl of Nottingham in 1597.6 The celebration of this event was the likely catalyst for this portrait of his wife, with her jewelled headdress perhaps representing an early form of countess’s coronet, and the anchor jewel she wears in her hair reflecting her husband’s glittering maritime career, and also being a symbol of constancy. Catherine Carey was born between 1545 and 1551, the year that the births of her father’s numerous children began to be recorded. It is thought that she first joined Elizabeth’s household at Hatfield as a child in the last years of Mary’s reign. On 30 January 1560, when she was still under fifteen, the new queen Elizabeth appointed her a gentlewoman of the Privy Chamber, a position she would hold until her death. Their close relationship is confirmed by an unusual incident when in November 1561 Elizabeth went to see her favourite Lord Robert Dudley shoot at Windsor disguised as ‘Kate Carey’s maid’, one of the rare times she is reported as going abroad in disguise. By 1572, Catherine was appointed to First Lady of the Bedchamber, one of the most exalted offices in the Elizabethan household. Her

6. The esteem in which he was held by Elizabeth I at the end of her reign was reflected in the fact that as she lay dying in March 1603, it was to him that she finally confirmed her successor, James VI of Scotland. Nottingham’s support for the accession of King James I gave him great influence in the new reign and James I expressed his gratitude to him with the gift of Arundel House which had been forfeited by Nottingham’s cousin Philip Howard. 7. An inventory still exists of the jewels which Elizabeth received, mainly as New Years’ gifts in the years between 1572 and 1587. 8. However recent scholarship has argued that they acted as a duopoly.

prominence at court is further reflected in the report that in March 1579 she was presiding over the table of the ladies of the Privy Chamber. By this date her eldest daughter Elizabeth (no.8), named after her god-mother the Queen, had joined her mother at the centre of courtly life.7 During the 1590s, as Catherine’s influence at court increased further – not least because Elizabeth I, as her contemporaries died off, became increasingly attached to those who remained – was joined at court by her younger sister Philadelphia, Lady Scroop, and her second eldest daughter, Frances, Countess of Kildare (no.9). Finally, in 1599 her granddaughter Elizabeth, ‘fair young Mistress Southwell’, followed her name-sake mother as one of the Queen’s maids-of-honour. However, two years later, the young Elizabeth Southwell caused a major scandal by eloping to Italy with a married man, Sir Robert Dudley, son of the Earl of Leicester. Catherine’s health deteriorated sharply in late 1601, shortly after her daughter Frances’s second marriage, and she went into a steady decline, dying at Arundel House on 24 February 1603 after suffering numerous ‘fits’. Catherine was buried at Chelsea Old Church on 25 April, three days before Elizabeth’s own funeral. After his wife’s death, the Earl of Nottingham remarried and, despite being in his late sixties, he went on to sire a second family. On his death in 1624, at the impressive age of eighty-eight, he was one of the last of the great Elizabethans. Apart from his achievements as Lord High Admiral and as a senior privy councillor, he attracted the enmity of the Earl of Essex and played a leading role in the defeat of Essex’s attempted coup in 1601. He was also the patron of one of the two leading theatrical companies of the 1590s – the Lord Admiral’s Men, and sponsor of one of the great artistic projects of the time, the Armada tapestries. As for Catherine, an intriguing question remains: since her husband was the patron of one of the two eminent theatrical companies, and its rival the Lord Chamberlain’s Men which was presided over by first her father Lord Hunsdon, and then her brother,8 was she perhaps herself an unacknowledged patroness in the age of Shakespeare? This painting is an excellent example of the problems in trying to identify a single artist as the sole creator of a Tudor or Jacobean portrait. Whilst visually it could almost be a large scale work by the miniaturist Nicholas Hilliard – indeed some of the pigments and techniques used in its construction may be found in that artist’s work – there are also very strong stylistic similarities to the work of Robert Peake, particularly in the manner in which the artist has captured the sitter’s features and hands. Certainly Peake’s work followed very closely the artistic tradition that Hilliard had established and laid out in his A Treatise Concerning The Arte of Limning, written around 1600. The construction of the painting would appear to have been executed in several clearly distinct stages. Firstly, the white (or pale grey) of the costume drapery, ruff and the structure of the table were painted in over the unusually simple single layer of grey ground, with the outline form of the head and hands at this stage likely just blocked in. The pattern and positioning of the costume detail and jewellery was then drawn out using a mixture of red and grey-black paint, with many pentimenti still remaining. Next the elaborate costume decorations and details were applied, and at Comparative detail of Robert Peake’s, Charles I, as Prince of Wales, painted circa 1611-12 the same time interspersed with the additions of the jewellery. Finally, the sitter’s features and hands were completed. Although the latter appears to be the work of Robert Peake, the complex and sophisticated costume detail and jewellery, with its copious use of gold and silver leaf – almost Byzantine in its effect - may well be the work of a specialist guildsman, who could even have trained as a silver or goldsmith, as indeed Hilliard had. Pigment analysis has revealed that the visual complexity of the painted surface is matched by the techniques used to achieve it, with the use of highly expensive minerals including the finest quality azurite and smalt, as well as gold and silver leaf – the latter having oxidised to black over time. The gold leaf was applied over a dark brown mordant base. Apart from the notable use of azurite and smalt for the blues, three different types of green including verditer and an artificial copper have been used to paint differing elements; Libby Sheldon has commented that the use of such a variety shows ‘a fastidiousness which is curious’ We would like to thank Dr. Simon Adams for his assistance with the bigraphical note and Libby Sheldon for providing a detailed technical report on the pigments and paints, and finally Katherine Ara’s studio for their analysis of the techniques used in the painting’s construction.




S leeve

S leeve


Laurel leaves

Orange lily



Silver slug

Holly leaf

Oak leaf



Vine leaf

9. Arnold, (op.cit.), p.85. 10. Arnold, (op.cit.), p.86. 11. Ashelford, (op.cit.), p.36, describes the costume as a splendid example of the new fashion of the 1590s for wearing a bodice and skirt of different embroidered patterns. 12. Strong, The Cult of Elizabeth: Elizabethan Portraiture and Pageantry, 1977, p.71. 13. In the absence of physical evidence it is impossible to say if the painted execution of the rinceaux in the Carey portrait is a faithful rendition of the scrolling lines embroidered on the actual bodice, or merely the artist’s interpretation.




Cherry Damsons

Wild garlic

daffodil (Jonquil)

Columbine (aquilegia)





Laurel leaves

Green bell



Eglantine rose

The Costume







Sweet peas Peas in pods

his portrait of Catherine Carey, Countess of Nottingham, contains one of the most technically complex and thematically rich embroidered costumes to be found in late Elizabethan portraiture. It represents the superlative quality of professional embroidery at the very pinnacle of late sixteenth century court dress in England. With such extensive use of glittering precious metals and minerals, with gold, silver, diamonds and pearls, the Countess must have been an extraordinary sight to behold in the candlelit court – indeed, a veritable perambulating Christmas tree. Her monarch, Elizabeth I, had the largest and most extensive wardrobe in England, and such was the closeness of Catherine’s relationship with the Queen, it may well be that some of what the Countess wears could have come from Elizabeth’s own wardrobe, especially given that, as First Lady of the Bed Chamber, she acted as ‘mistress of the robes’, supervising Elizabeth’s extraordinary repertoire of clothes, and the treasures of her jewel collection. It is clear that the Queen often gave presents of her clothing to her closest entourage and, as surviving records confirm, numerous gowns were given to ladies-in-waiting and others throughout her reign. In Janet Arnold’s seminal book Queen Elizabeth’s Wardrobe Unlock’d: the inventories of the Wardrobe of Robes prepared in July 1600, published in 1988, the renowned costume expert provides an extraordinary description of the garments, their materials and their decoration made by the artisans of the Royal Wardrobe and embellished by the Queen’s embroiderers. The so-called Stowe inventory described by Arnold, and which dated from 1600, constitutes more than twelve hundred entries. Arnold comments that ‘unfortunately the records are incomplete and the gifts cannot be linked conclusively with the portraits. However, it may be conjectured that any lady who received a piece of beautifully embroidered clothing once worn by the Queen might well decide to have a portrait painted to display the gift.’ She goes on to conclude ‘we may be looking at items of the Queen’s clothing in portraits other than her own without realizing it.’9 In specifically discussing the petticoat that Catherine wears in our portrait, she speculates that it may even have been a New Year’s gift ‘embroidered by the donor’, noting its similarity to a petticoat listed in the Stowe inventory, f.60/58: ‘Item one Petticoate of white Satten embroidered all over like peramydes and flowers of venice golde and silke’.10 The dress itself is made up of two main items of clothing; the bodice and the petticoat, and each is decorated with distinctly different designs.11 The bodice, with its bulbous padded sleeves, is made of white satin embroidered in brilliant and vibrant colours, and decorated with a myriad of strikingly naturalistic insects, fruits, flowers and leaves whose stems are decorated with silver and silver-gilt spangles. The floral motifs include roses, pansies, vine leaves (and grapes), honeysuckle, lilies, dog-rose, strawberries, campion, sweetpeas and hazlenuts among others. There is even a moth resting on the sleeve of the left arm of her dress.

Wild strawberries




CARNATION (GILLY FLOWER) Pansy Hazelnuts Honeysuckle Rose Pear/Quince Cornflowers

Each flower and colour had a particular meaning; ‘...the Queen’s flowers, roses, pansies and eglantine. Everyone in the court circle and beyond it knew of the Queen’s use of eglantine as especially her flower. She was the eglantine.’12 Motifs from nature dominated English embroidery throughout the second half of the sixteenth century, which may partly be explained by the fact that botanical imagery was so closely associated with the Queen. Sir John Davies in Hymnes of Astraea (1599) describes Elizabeth as the ‘Empresse of Flowers’. The sixteenth century witnessed a growing interest in horticulture for the culinary and medicinal uses of plants, with most of the flowers and fruits depicted on Elizabethan costume commonly grown in English gardens.

S kirt (right) LOVERS’ KNOtS Asp (snake) Obelisk Quince

The swirling embroidered designs on the bodice are called rinceaux, ornamental motifs of sinuous and branching scrolls elaborated with leaves and other natural forms. For a surviving example of this form of decoration, one can look at Margaret Layton’s jacket, from c.1610 – 1615, which is today in the Victoria & Albert Museum, (fig.1). Rinceaux applied to dress first appeared in blackwork embroidery in the mid-sixteenth century, and from the 1570s onwards are found on whole sleeves and garments. In our portrait of Catherine Carey, the artist foregrounds the vegetal motifs while the scrolling tendrils overlap or meander across individual motifs rather than encircling them in an alternating clockwise and anticlockwise pattern, a characteristic feature of rinceaux decoration found in a number of extant embroideries, including the Layton jacket.13

Vine leaf Pear


Since the design of Elizabethan embroidery also embodied the wider aesthetics of the Renaissance, their inspiration often came

fig.1 Margaret Layton’s jacket, c.1610 – 1615, © V&A.


14. W. Morrall & M. Watt, English Embroidery from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1580-1700: ‘Twixt Art and Nature, 2008. 15. Arnold, (op. cit.), p.87. 16. Arnold, ‘Serpents and Flowers: Embroidery Designs from Thomas Trevelyon’s Miscellanies of 1608 and 1616’, in Costume: A Volume for Janet Arnold, The Journal of the Costume Society; 2000, Vol.34, p.7. See also R. Strong, Gloriana: The Portraits of Queen Elizabeth I, 1987, p.140.

via printed patterns and design-books which were published across Europe in the sixteenth century. As early as the 1520s pattern books were specifically designed for embroidery, and continental examples were known to have made their way to England. The first printed book of emblems, impresa or ‘devices’, was Andrea Alciato’s Emblematum liber, appearing in 1531, although the first English emblem book, Geffrey Whitney’s A Choice of Emblems, did not appear until 1586. Motifs from these and many other printed sources were frequently used as designs for the decorative arts of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, including wood carving, plaster work and embroidery.14 A Choice of Emblems seems to have provided the source of inspiration for designs, as for example with the dominant pyramid design seen in Catherine Carey’s skirt in our portrait. Arnold discusses how this spire ‘or pyramid, as it was once described’, was the emblem of the Cardinal of Lorraine, the ivy and the ‘four-squared pillar’ representing the bishop ‘clinging to his faith.’15 Whitney adapted this symbolism to suit the Queen’s protestant religion, its emblematic significance made clear from these lines of a poem which accompanied the emblem in his book: ‘A mighty spyre, whose toppe doth pierce the skie, An ivie greene imbraceth rounde about, And while it stands, the same doth bloome on high… …And whiles though raignst, oh most renowned Queen By thie support my blossome shall bee greene.’ The pyramidal designs in our portrait are interspersed with snakes, presumably representing the serpent of prudence or wisdom.16 There is also a single fermesse to be found in her skirt, an emblem usually associated with constancy in love, or fidelity. The transferring of designs onto the fabric for the embroiderers to work up was usually done by a professional draughtsman or pattern-drawer. These artists were responsible for laying-out and drawing panels from a stock of designs adapted from prints and book illustrations which for costume often required a degree of scaling down. Designs were transferred by one of two methods, both of which are illustrated in Allesandro Paganino’s lace pattern book Il Burato, Venice, 1527, (fig.2). Using candlelight or natural light from a window to illuminate the design, the outline was drawn onto the fabric ground using pen and ink. Alternatively, it was transferred by the ‘prick and pounce’ method. This involved pricking the outline of the pattern to create a series of holes 2-3 mm. apart; the pricked design was then pinned to the fabric and pounced by rubbing powdered charcoal across the surface to leave a dotted outline; finally, any excess powder was blown away and the dots joined together using ink or paint. By the end of the sixteenth century single sheet designs were also available, which were printed directly onto the fabric from an engraved plate. The embroidered motifs depicted on the Carey costume were worked in polychrome silk threads imported into England from southern Europe or the Levant, which was renowned for the quality of its silks. A good range of strong colours was available in various shades of green and blue, cream, yellow, pink, crimson and black. The quality of sewing needles had improved considerably during the course of the century, with steel needles, first manufactured during the reign of Mary I, replacing the old wire drawn ones. Drawn gold wire was also available in England during the Elizabethan period, though Venice gold thread seems to have been preferred, particularly for costumes made for the Elizabethan court. Spangles or ‘oes’(gold and silver eyelets stamped from metal sheets which were attached to fabric using silk thread) were commonly used as embellishments during the last quarter of the sixteenth century and can be seen here in the rinceaux and decorating the fringe of Catherine’s veil, evoking the delicate stamens of honeysuckle

fig.2 Allesandro Paganino’s lace pattern book, Il Burato, (Venice, 1527) © V&A.

We are grateful to Dr. Lynn Hulse of Ornamental Embroidery for her assistance with this entry.




English School circa 1600

Elizabeth Howard, Lady Southwell (c.1564 – 1646) Oil on canvas: 79 ½ x 47 ¾ in. (201.9 x 121.3 cm.) Painted c.1600 Provenance By descent through her daughter Catherine Southwell (d.1657), who married in 1618 Sir Greville Verney, 7th Baron Willoughby de Broke (c.1586 – 1642), of Compton Verney, Warwickshire, and thence by descent to Sir Richard Greville, 19th Baron Willoughby de Broke (1869 – 1923), of Compton Verney, Warwickshire; Sotheby’s London, 27 June 1921, lot 69, as ‘Paul van Somer’; bt. by Leggatt Bros., London, from whom acquired by Harold Pearson, 2nd Viscount Cowdray (1888 – 1933), thence by descent to Michael Pearson, 4th Viscount Cowdray (b.1944), Cowdray Park, Sussex. Literature R. Strong, ‘Forgotten Age of English Painting, Portraits at Cowdray and Parham, Sussex’, Country Life Annual, 1966, p.46. C. Anson, A Catalogue of Pictures and Drawings in the Collection of The Viscount Cowdray, London, 1971, p.8, no.25, pl.2, as ‘Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger’. Exhibited Vienna, Galerie of the Succession, Exhibition of British Art, September-October 1937, as ‘Gheeraerts’ (lent by Viscountess Cowdray).


1. See fig.1 in cat. no.7. 2. See T.E. & M. Miller, ‘Vice Admiral Sir Robert Southwell, 1563-1598’, ‘The Southwells of Woodrising, Norfolk’, chapter 5, Woodrising/Chapter 5.htm. 3. Lord Carrick had no legitimate male issue and the titles became extinct on his death in 1644. Their daughter Margaret married Sir Matthew Mennes (d.1648).


his striking portrait of Elizabeth Howard (c.1564 – 1646) is a companion to that of her younger sister Frances, (no.9). Both are clearly by the same distinctive hand, by an artist yet to be identified. With its simple palette of whites, blacks and reds, complimented by the expensive multi-coloured ‘Turkey’ carpet on which she stands, the painting makes a bold visual statement. It was correctly identified as Lady Elizabeth Howard in the Willoughby de Broke sale at Sotheby’s in 1921. At the recent Christie’s sale at Cowdray Park in 2011, there was also a third related portrait from the same family group, of a young girl in a white dress, holding cherries, which depicts Elizabeth’s daughter by her first husband, Robert Southwell, and who, like her mother and grandmother, became a maid-ofhonour to Queen Elizabeth in 1599. Elizabeth Southwell would later cause something of a scandal by running away in 1605 with a married man, Sir Robert Dudley; a rather retrospective irony when viewing her portrait in virginal white, with cherries to symbolise her innocence.1 Elizabeth Howard was the eldest daughter of Charles Howard, 1st Earl of Nottingham (1536 – 1624) and his wife Catherine Carey (c.1546 – 1603), (no.7). She was named in honour of the Queen, who was her godmother, and later became her maid-of-honour from 1576 until 1583, the year she married her first husband, Robert Southwell of Woodrising (1563 – c.1598/9). They had eleven children, six of whom died at an early age or died unmarried. Two of their daughters married well, Katherine to Sir Geville Verney and Frances to Sir Edward Rodney. Their only son to marry, Thomas (1599 – 1643), married twice but had four daughters, with no direct male heir to the Woodrising estate.2 Whether Robert had embarked on a naval career before his marriage is unclear, but his betrothal to Elizabeth Howard certainly secured his future and that of his family. His father-in-law, Charles Howard, was Elizabeth I’s cousin and the Lord High Admiral, and Lord Thomas Howard, another relative also had command of ships of the realm. This system of nepotism facilitated Robert’s being knighted and appointed a Vice Admiral of the Coast and Narrow Seas for Norfolk and Suffolk in 1585, and in 1587 he was made a Sheriff of Norfolk. Nonetheless he proved his mettle, gaining command of the Elizabeth Jonas, one of the four most powerful ships in Queen Elizabeth’s navy, actively involved in the defeat of the Spanish Armada in July 1588. He died in November 1598/9, and was buried at Woodrising. Elizabeth remarried in 1604, taking as her second husband John Stewart, Earl of Carrick (d.c.1644), with whom she had one daughter, Margaret.3


4. For further discussion of this particular symbolism, see no.9. 5. For example, the Darnley portrait, now in the National Portrait Gallery, London.


Elizabeth was between husbands when this portrait was painted, and is depicted here in the rich black velvet of a widow, her skirt supported over a wheel farthingale, with a contrasting stomacher of intricately brocaded silver cloth. Her dress is decorated with white gauze cinquefoils, embellished with lavish table-cut diamonds. Cinquefoils, a flower in the rose family, are so-called from the old French for five petals, ‘cinque feuilles’. The rose was a symbol of Venus, love, and the Virgin Queen.4 These are complimented by Elizabeth’s white head-rail of silk veiling, wired outwards behind the ruff so that it curves into her shoulders and falls to the ground. Her tightly curled hair, like that of her sister Frances (no.9), is raised over a support and adorned with a head-dress of table-cut diamonds. She wears thick ropes of pearls and a pearl girdle interspersed with yet more costly diamonds, and emphasising her narrow waist. Her ostrich feather fan was an exceedingly expensive accessory that only those in the highest level of society would have had as an accoutrement, and is reminiscent of those seen in portraits of the Queen. It is particularly close in design to the fan seen in a portrait of Elizabeth I by an unknown artist, c.1590 - 1597, now in the Toledo Museum of Art, Ohio, fastened at the handle by a table-cut diamond and four rubies



English School circa 1600

Frances Howard, dowager Countess of Kildare (c.1572 – 1628), later Baroness Cobham Oil on canvas: 80 x 44 ⅝in. (203.2 x 113.3 cm.) Painted circa 1600 – 1601 Provenance By descent through her niece Catherine Southwell (d.1657), daughter of Elizabeth Southwell (no.8), who married in 1618 Sir Greville Verney, 7th Baron Willoughby de Broke (c.1586 – 1642), of Compton Verney, Warwickshire, and by thence descent to Sir Richard Greville, 19th Baron Willoughby de Broke (1869 – 1923), of Compton Verney, Warwickshire; Sotheby’s London, 27 June 1921, lot 67, as ‘Marcus Gheeraerdts, the Younger’; bt. by Leggatt Bros., London, from whom acquired by Harold Pearson, 2nd Viscount Cowdray (1888 – 1933); thence by descent to Michael Pearson, 4th Viscount Cowdray (b.1944), Cowdray Park, Sussex. Literature R. Strong, ‘Forgotten Age of English Paintings, Portraits at Cowdray and Parham, Sussex’, Country Life Annual, 1966, p. 46. C. Anson, A Catalogue of Pictures and Drawings in the Collection of The Viscount Cowdray, London, 1971, p.10, no.30, pl.4, as ‘Marcus Gheeraerts’. Exhibited Vienna, Galerie of the Succession, Exhibition of British Art, September-October 1937, as ‘Gheeraerts’ (lent by Viscountess Cowdray).


ne of the most ravishingly beautiful of all late Elizabethan full-lengths and steeped in romantic symbolism, this portrait has survived in an almost pristine state of preservation. Once thought to represent Catherine Carey, Countess of Nottingham (no.7), research reveals the portrait is almost certainly Catherine’s second daughter, Frances Howard (c.1572 – 1628). It was painted around 1601 at the time of her betrothal or marriage to her second husband, Henry Brooke, 11th Baron Cobham (1564 – 1628), some time after the death of her first husband, Henry Fitzgerald, 12th Earl of Kildare (1562 – 1597). In the 1921 Willoughby de Broke sale at Sotheby’s, the sitter was incorrectly identified as her mother, Catherine Carey. Roy Strong was the first to suggest in his 1966 article ‘The Forgotten Age of English Paintings’ (op. cit.), that it might alternatively be one of the Countess’s daughters.

1. See D. McKeen, A memory of honour: the life of William Brooke, Lord Cobham, 1986, vol.2, p.435.

Frances’s first husband Henry Fitzgerald, 12th Earl of Kildare was known for his military prowess as ‘Henry na Tuagh’ (‘Henry of the Battleaxes’). He fought against the Spanish invaders in Ireland in 1588, the year before his marriage to Frances. However, he was mortally wounded in July 1597 aged only thirty-five, at a skirmish on the Blackwater to quell the Earl of Tyrone’s uprising in Ulster. Frances’s second husband, Henry Brooke, was very much a favourite of the Queen and in 1599 had just been nominated a knight of the Garter. In the year of the couple’s betrothal and presumably the year of this portrait, Cobham sumptuously entertained Elizabeth I at his London house in Blackfriars, and it was not long after, in May 1601, that they were married. The Queen’s delight in the couple was much to the chagrin of Robert Devereux, earl of Essex, who coveted Cobham’s position as lord warden of the Cinque Ports, an office he had inherited from his father. Famously Essex called Cobham ‘Sir John Falstaff’, in other words, little better than a court jester, and thought him a ‘sycophant’.1 Frances was likewise much favoured by the Queen, both for her marriage to Cobham, but also as kin – her mother, Catherine Carey, being Elizabeth’s cousin. Her status at court was such that at the Queen’s death, Frances was one of the two noblewomen appointed to lead a delegation sent to meet Anne of Denmark on her journey down from Scotland. Frances’s relationship with Cobham became strained following the death of the Queen. For whilst initially her husband had been instrumental in the privy council’s deliberations to proclaim James VI of Scotland King of England, he was implicated in the so-called Bye Plot to kidnap King James I. With his younger brother, George Brooke (1568 – 1603), as the principal participant, this conspiracy had the aim of securing guarantees from the King for the toleration of Catholics in England. Despite his professed innocence, Cobham was sent to the Tower of London, forfeiting his titles and estates. Though he continued to deny any involvement in treason, Cobham was held in the Tower until 1617,



when sick and aged, he was permitted to spend the summer at Bath, and likewise the following summer, before dying in disgrace of a stroke in 1619. Frances nonetheless was allowed to remain at Cobham Hall for her life, and was visited in an act of clemency by the King in 1622. She died in 1628 and was buried in Westminster Abbey.

2. See R. Strong, The Cult of Elizabeth: Elizabethan Portraiture and Pageantry, 1977, p.71. 3. R. Strong (ibid.), p.71. 4. R. Strong, (ibid.), p.59, no.35. 5. Jane Ashelford, A Visual History of Costume: the Sixteenth Century, 1985, p.119. 6. See R. Strong, Gloriana: The Portraits of Queen Elizabeth I, 1987. 7. See R. Strong, Gloriana: The Portraits of Queen Elizabeth I, 1987, pp.139-140.

This spectacular portrait pre-dates Cobham’s downfall and remains a visual record of their courtship and marriage on 27 May 1601. The monochromatic costume design may also have symbolic significance as black and white were acknowledged to be the Queen’s colours, and those at court therefore often commissioned their portraits using this palette.2 The exact meaning of every symbol and allusion may have been lost to us over time, for whilst there can be no doubt that the portrait is a clear statement of love and marriage, with Frances’s left hand and arm entwined by pink roses (a gesture symbolising an offer of love and devotion), they could also be a reference to the Queen. As Strong has written, ‘the Queen’s flowers were roses... She was the eglantine.’. Hence roses were both the flowers of Venus and of Elizabeth.3 The sprig of aquilegia (or columbine as it would then have been called), tucked into the folds of Frances’s elaborate lace ruff, is another metaphor for love, representing fidelity. Traditionally columbine was considered sacred to Venus; carrying a posy of it was said to arouse the affections of a loved one. Roses and columbine, love and fidelity, were the two key attributes of a courtly marriage. This portrait can be seen as a Renaissance allegory of love, recalling other works such as Nicholas Hilliard’s Young Man amongst Roses.4 Frances wears one of her grandest court dresses with the higher hemline of the late 1590s, her heavily fringed underskirt clearly visible. She ‘carries the latest fashion accessory from France – a folding fan’5 and her bodice is extended into an exaggerated point, decorated down the front with a puffing of gauze fixed with jewels. A ten-pointed star of diamonds is pinned at her cleavage, and other jewels include a bejewelled collar or carcenet around her throat, heavy ropes of pearls, and a pearl girdle around her tiny waist. Her closely curled hair, like her sister’s, (no.8), carefully and precisely rendered by the artist, is raised over a support and adorned with horse-shoes of pearl, and a head-dress of pearls wired into spherical shapes. Her black velvet skirt, draped over a wheel farthingale, is seeded with pearls in a scrolling design of leaves and armillary or celestial spheres, a popular motif at the court, often associated with the Queen herself, alluding to her cosmic presence. Roy Strong describes ‘the long, if cryptic history’ of the use of the armillary sphere as a royal emblem for Elizabeth I, but cautions that its appearance throughout her reign was mainly within a courtly context. He cites several examples in portraits, the first appearing as embroidery on the sleeves of Sir Henry Lee’s shirt in his portrait by Antonis Mor, painted 1568, where it alternates with ‘true-lover’s knots’. It appears again in a portrait of the Queen by an unknown artist from the early 1580s, where her sleeves are embroidered with spheres, and most famously, she wears a sphere as an earring in the Ditchley portrait by Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, of c.1592.6 The repeating pattern of spheres seen here are entwined with trailing stems of olive leaves, perhaps in reference to the Queen’s role as champion and defender of both the royal pax and religio, but equally, Frances may have chosen this potently royal symbol to adorn her dress in order to emphasise her position at court as a lady-in-waiting, quite literally in the Queen’s orbit. A comparable combination of spheres and branches of olives can be seen embroidered onto the lining of the 3rd Earl of Cumberland’s surcoat in his portrait by Nicholas Hilliard, c.1590. Strong has argued that the use of this symbol in the above example in honour of the Queen had a ‘fundamentally religious connotation’, symbolising the maintenance of the reformed protestant faith in England. 7



[ 10

William Larkin (circa 1580/5 - 1619)

Jane, Lady Thornhagh (c.1600 – 1661) Oil on panel: 44 3⁄4 x 33 in. (113.8 x 83.8 cm.) Painted 1617 Provenance By descent through the Thornaghs of Fenton and Osberton, Nottinghamshire to John Thornhagh (d.1787), of Osberton and Shireoaks, Nottinghamshire; thence to his second daughter and sole heir, Mary Arabella Thornhagh (1749 – 1790), who married in 1774 Francis Moore (1749 – 1814), of Aldwarke, who inherited the estates of his uncle, Thomas Foljambe, and assumed the name Foljambe by Act of Parliament; thence by descent with the Foljambes of Osberton to G.M.T. Foljambe, by whom sold, Christies, London, 8 July 2008, lot 18; Private collection, England.

1. Strong has suggested that the Suffolk series were commissioned to celebrate the union of the Howard and Cecil dynasties through Thomas Howard’s marriage to Elizabeth, eldest daughter of William Cecil, Lord Burghley, later 2nd Earl of Exeter, in 1614. See R. Strong, Larkin, Icons of Splendour, Milan, 1995 2. See R. Strong, (ibid.), no.23, fig.1. 3. A pair of oval portraits of his patrons ‘Sir Edward Herbert (1583 – 1648), later 1st Baron Cherbury’ and ‘Sir Thomas Lucy (1584 – 1640’ at Charlecote Park (National Trust), refered to by Lord Herbert in his autobiography were first published as by Larkin by James Lees-Milne, ‘Two Portraits at Charlecote Park by William Larkin’, Burlington Magazine, XCIV, 1952, pp.352-356. Sir Roy Strong subsequently was the first to assemble his oeuvre around these two documented works. 4. Ellis Waterhouse described his paintings’ ‘enamelled brilliance’, while David Piper claimed ‘artistically they are a dead end, but they have a strange and fascinating splendour’. 5. Most commonly spelt Thornagh, the name literally meant ‘thorn hedge’, a reversal of ‘hawthorn’, and was also sometimes written Thorney, and Thornhaugh, probably deriving from the village of Thorney in Nottinghamshire, within a few miles of the city of Lincoln. 6. Their son and heir, Colonel Francis Thornhagh (1617 – 1648) distinguished himself during the Civil War as one of the county’s most brilliant soldiers, becoming the Colonel of his father’s regiment. He would lose his life in action, fighting for the Parliamentarian cause against the Duke of Hamilton’s army at the battle of Preston in Lancashire, impaled by a Scotsman’s lance.



nly recently rediscovered, this is arguably the best preserved of all known works on panel by William Larkin. It compares in quality to Larkin’s most famous series, the celebrated set of nine full-length portraits that were formerly in the collection of the Earls of Suffolk, and which now hang at Kenwood House (English Heritage).1 Of these, the costume of Lady Isabella Rich,2 with her low-cut bodice, pale yellow lace collar and red and blue mantle, is echoed here in this portrait of Jane Thornagh. A significant difference in their pose, however, is the positioning of Jane’s right hand over her stomach, which could be an indication that she is depicted pregnant with her first child Francis, who was born in 1617, the year of this portrait. The painting is in a remarkable state of preservation, with virtually all of its original glazes and impasto intact, allowing us to enjoy its dazzling surface and Larkin’s virtuoso technique, for he was an artist whose paintings brought the Elizabethan and Jacobean tradition of court portraiture to a brilliant climax during the second decade of James I. Before Larkin and the main body of his work were first identified, portraits such as this were ascribed to ‘The Curtain Master’, on account of their presentation of the sitter within draped curtains.3 These formalised swags of silk were a device he commonly employed to frame his subjects. The artist, or his studio, often replicated almost identical folds. Those used for Lady Thornagh are closely comparable to sections of the curtains found in the full-length of Richard Sackville, 3rd Earl of Dorset and Elizabeth Drury, Lady Burghley from the Suffolk collection. There are few records of Larkin’s life and brief career, which was cut short by his untimely death in 1619, the same year that Nicholas Hilliard and also the Queen, Anne of Denmark, died. He never occupied an official position at court, but we do know he was London-born. His exaggerated, iconographical style has been likened to miniature painting on a grand scale, reflecting a particularly English aesthetic.4 In this portrait, the intricately embroidered and brilliantly coloured costume is kaleidoscopic in effect. The motifs include sea monsters, maritime birds and flora, emerging from stylised silvery ripples of water on her skirt. Her bodice is decorated with crimson-crested woodpeckers, insects, grapes, and flowers punctuated by silver spangles and swirling patterns of golden thread. They are depicted with painstaking attention and each brushstroke imitates individual stitches. The detail reflects the exquisite craftsmanship characteristic of Larkin, all the more noticeable for its execution on panel rather than canvas. Her loosely flowing fair hair is caught on the fashionably starched pale yellow collar, beneath which the neck-line of her bodice scoops low to reveal a pearlescent chest of milky skin and a maze of aristocratic ‘blue-blooded’ veins. The provenance of our painting indicates that the sitter is very likely to be Jane, Lady Thornhagh. She was the eldest daughter of Sir John Jackson (b.1568) of Edderthorpe and Hickleton, a member of the council at York and an attorney to King James I, and his wife Elizabeth Savile, whose father had been a Baron of the Exchequer during the reign of Elizabeth I. Jane was married in around 1615 to Francis Thornagh (1593 – 1643), of Fenton. The Thornaghs5 were an influential Nottinghamshire family whose roots can be traced back to the 13th century when a Petrus de Thornhawe sat in the parliament of 1295 for Lincoln city. Her husband Francis was knighted the year of his marriage, and was to become High Sheriff of Nottinghamshire (1637 – 1638), a position his father had held, and that his son after him would also later hold. At the outbreak of the Civil War, siding with the Parliamentarians, he raised a regiment of horse to fight against the King though he died shortly after in April 1643. Jane retained the family estates at Fenton in dower, and continued to live there until her death in 1661.6


[ 11

Daniel Mytens (c.1590 – 1647)

Lady Mary Feilding, as Countess of Aran, later Marchioness and Duchess of Hamilton (1613 – 1638) Oil on panel: 45 x 30 1⁄2 in. (115 x 78 cm.) Inscribed upper right: Aetatis 7 A0 1620 Painted 1620

1. Her husband was a direct descendant of Archibald Douglas, who had married Margaret Tudor, sister of Henry VIII. The daughter of Angus and Margaret Tudor, also Margaret, was in due course mother of Lord Darnley, King Consort of Scotland, and husband of Mary, Queen of Scots. The Hamiltons were thus next in line to the throne after the Stuarts, and owned vast tracts of Scotland. As such the bridegroom’s father would have been the most powerful of all the Scottish nobles who joined James I’s court in England. 2. As a result of this marriage, Mary (also known as Margaret), was to become the highest ranking woman at Court, after the Queen. See Sarah Poynting, ‘”In the name of all the sisters”: Henrietta Maria’s Notorious Whores’, in Women and Culture at the Courts of the Stuart Queens (2003), ed. Clare McManus, pp.163-85. 3. She was described by Bishop Burnett as ‘a most affectionate and dutiful wife, and a very decent person’, the latter part of which sounds more than mere convention. 4. Hamilton, a man of taste, was the subject of two great masterpieces of seventeenth-century portraiture, both by Daniel Mytens: a full-length portrait painted in 1624 (Tate Britain), and another one painted in 1629 (Scottish National Portrait Gallery). 5. It is really a different strand in European painting, which should not be relegated, in purely aesthetic terms, to a position below the late and better known works of the Spanish painter, and, of course, those of Van Dyck. In addition, in the same way that the early Velázquez has a natural, and surprising in someone so young, grasp of the inner workings of the human soul, Mytens could also express these powerful workings of the mind with an almost equal sensitivity. 6. Mytens was to portray Mary again two years later, this time in a bust length portrait dated 1622, a painting which has descended to the current Duke of Hamilton.


Provenance Presumably commissioned by her father, William Feilding, 1st Earl of Denbigh (1606 – 1649); thence to Lady Mary Feilding’s daughter, Anne, who married William Douglas (1634 – 1694) in 1656, created Duke of Hamilton (2nd creation) in 1660; thence to their daughter, Katherine (1662 – 1707), who married the 1st Duke of Atholl in 1683; thence by descent to Ralph Neville of Butleigh Court (1817 – 1886), thence to his grandson Commander Edward Neville of Charlton Adam, Somerset, who sold the painting along with the house around 1955 to an English family, by whom sold, Sotheby’s, London, 23 November 2006, lot 5. Literature Gordon Nares, ‘Charlton Adam and Charlton Mackrell, Somerset: The Abbey Charlton Adam’, Country Life, vol.CVII, no.2674, 6 January 1950, pp. 98-102, illus., (as ‘by Cornelius Johnson of Princess Elizabeth, second daughter of Charles I and Henrietta Maria’). The Weiss Gallery, Historical Reflections; Early Portraiture 1520 – 1780, 2007, no.14.


his exquisite child portrait, one of the finest to be painted during the Jacobean reign, is a major rediscovered work by Daniel Mytens, the dominant court painter in England prior to the arrival of Van Dyck. The sitter is Lady Mary Feilding, who was the third child and first daughter of William Feilding, Earl of Denbigh and his wife Susan Villiers, sister of George, Duke of Buckingham. In June 1622, at the very early age of nine, she was married to the fourteen-year-old James Hamilton, 3rd Marquess of Hamilton, later created 1st Duke of Hamilton in 1643.1 This arranged marriage was one of the most significant dynastic matches to be made during the Jacobean reign, for it paired up the scion of Scotland’s leading noble family, the Hamiltons – distant cousins to James I – with that of Margaret’s uncle, George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham. Buckingham, as ‘favourite’ to both James I and Charles I, was to become the most powerful man in the kingdom before his assassination in 1628.2 Marriages of aristocratic children of this sort were becoming rare by this time, and the fact they could not be consummated gave them a public dimension that, in Mary Feilding’s case, bordered on farce. In 1626, when she had reached the age of thirteen, Hamilton removed himself to Scotland, perhaps in fright. The King was incensed and tried to bribe Hamilton to return by making him Master of the Horse. This failed initially, and the King then wrote a letter in his own hand demanding that Hamilton ‘be quickly here’. This forced Hamilton, now an eighteen-year-old, back to London and, on the night of his return, into the bed of his teenage wife. He tried to plead exhaustion and lack of clean linen in the hope of causing a brief postponement, ‘Whereupon his Majestie commanded his owne Barber to attend him with a shirt, waistcoat & nightcap of his majesties, & would not be satisfied till he had seen them both in bed together.’ Thereafter not a great deal is known of Mary’s short life, which came to an end at the age of twenty-five.3 She and Hamilton had six children, only two of whom survived: the younger, Susannah (subject of a beautiful portrait by John Michael Wright), who married the 7th Earl of Cassilis, and Anne who became Duchess of Hamilton in her own right.4 Daniel Mytens came to London in around 1618 and remained until 1634, when he returned to The Hague. His art tends to be categorised as transitional between the highly formalised portraits of the Jacobean period and the more painterly ‘modern’ images of Anthony van Dyck, but this hardly does justice to his best work, which has virtues of a descriptive accuracy, not unlike the early works of Velazquez painted in Seville around 1618 – 1620, part of a Europewide move towards a new kind of realism.5 We find these qualities in his portrait of Mary Feilding.6 Being only a child, there is not the same well of experience for the artist to draw on, but Mytens becomes so close to the hesitant, shy personality of his subject that we can begin to read into the beautifully delineated face the trials and triumphs that came later in her short life. In this way, it is a work of art that is also redolent of a life history that still speaks across the centuries, something that has an endless validity We are grateful to Dr Duncan Thompson, former Keeper of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, for confirming the attribution of this portrait and for his assistance in writing the catalogue entry.


[ 12

John Souch (1594 – 1645)

Lady Anne Lawley, wife of Sir Thomas Lawley, 1st Bt. Oil on canvas: 83 x 56 in. (211 x 146.2 cm.) Painted circa 1625 Provenance By descent to Beilby Lawley, 3rd Baron Wenlock (1849 – 1912); thence to his daughter the Hon. Irene Constance Lawley and by descent to her daughter-in-law, Mrs Vivian Forbes-Adam, only child of Sit Oswald Moseley, by whom sold, Sotheby’s, London, 12 May 1954, lot 80, (as ‘Daniel Mytens’); bt. Agnew & Sons, on behalf of George Gibbs, 2nd Baron Wraxall of Tyntesfield, (whose mother was the Hon. Ursula Lawley, elder daughter of Sir Arthur Lawley, 6th and last Baron Wenlock); thence by descent at Tyntesfield, North Somerset; sold by the Trustees of the Tyntesfield Estate, Christie’s, 26 November 2002, lot 6; with The Weiss Gallery, London; Private collection, USA.


1. See Larkin’s portrait of Lady Thornagh, (no.10), for a discussion of this pictorial device, which can also be seen in the portraits of the Howard ladies (nos.7, 8 & 9), and in the portrait of Lady Pope (no.13). 2. See J. Treuherz, ‘New Light on John Souch of Chester’, The Burlington Magazine, May 1997, p.302.

ohn Souch was one of the most intriguing portrait painters working in provincial England prior to the outbreak of the Civil War. The attribution for this lavish portrait of Lady Lawley, which can be dated on costume to circa 1625, was first suggested by Sir Oliver Millar and Karen Hearn at the time of its sale at Christie’s in 2002. It depicts the sitter sumptuously attired in all her finery, beneath richly draped curtains, a conceit that by this date was well established for courtly and later for aspirational portraiture.1 Souch has painstakingly painted the sitter’s conspicuously chosen accessories, extravagant statements of her wealth and status. His ‘neat and careful’ technique, ‘especially of costume details’, is particularly apparent, as is his use of ‘soft white highlights blended to give an almost shiny look to the flesh’.2 Her lace collar is fastened by three silk pansies studded with pearls, and a bejewelled and enamelled locket with golden putti hangs across the collar. A heavy agate necklace is looped over her shoulders and bodice, and the slashed silk sleeves reveal an under-garment embroidered with carnations. She has a heavy golden timepiece and key suspended from a ribbon at her waist, and a diamond ring hangs from a black mourning thread, precariously perched on her right sleeve. The ring magnificently defies gravity, its placement a pure nod to artistic license and iconographical significance. Her hands and wrists are bejewelled, and in her left she holds an ostrich feather fan, while the right rests on a small, beautifully bound book, presumably a bible, and some elaborately trimmed gloves. Here is a woman who wishes to leave the viewer in no doubt as to her social standing. Born in 1594 in Lancashire, the son of a draper, Souch was apprenticed to Randle Holme from 1607 – 1617, the famous founder of a Chester dynasty of genealogists and heralds. It was from Holme that Souch learned his earliest skills and in all likelihood he would have assisted his master in painting coats-of-arms, genealogical rolls and wooden memorial tablets. Following his apprenticeship, he became a Freeman of Chester and a member of the Chester Painters and Stationers Company. His years with Holme gave him an introduction to the predominantly Royalist Cheshire and North Wales gentry, who comprised Holme’s clientele and later became Souch’s patrons. Indeed, Holme was responsible for the order of funeral for Lady Aston, whose death is commemorated in Souch’s large and mysterious masterpiece, a memento mori depicting Sir Thomas Aston at the deathbed of his wife, 1635 (Manchester City Art Gallery). Souch died suddenly in 1645, and may have been killed during the Siege of Chester, for like his former master Holme, he was a staunch Royalist supporter. Lady Lawley’s portrait is characteristic of Souch’s interest in opulent costume and decorative detail. The timepiece, of particular note, reflects Chester’s significance as one of the earliest centres of watch-making, with the first ‘watchsmith’ recorded there in 1602. Both the watch and the rings seen here are elements likewise found in Souch’s marriage portrait of An Unknown Couple from 1640, in the Grosvenor Museum, Chester. Lady Lawley, née Anne Manning, was the daughter and co-heir of John Manning of Hackney, Middlesex and Cralle in Sussex. She married Sir Thomas Lawley, 1st Bt., of Spoonhill, Salop, son of Francis Lawley of Spoonhill, and his wife Elizabeth, daughter and heir of Sir Richard Newport of High Ercall. Thomas was created a Baronet in 1641, and was MP for Wenlock in 1625 – 1626 and 1628 – 1629. Their eldest son, Sir Francis Lawley, succeeded to the baronetcy in 1646 and like his father was MP for Wenlock in 1659 – 1660 and for Salop from 1661 – 1679. After her husband’s death in 1646, Anne remarried Sir John Glynn, Lord Chief Justice of the Upper Bench in 1655. She died in 1666 and was buried with her parents in London



[ 13

Elizabeth Watson was the daughter and heiress of Sir Thomas Watson of Halsted, Kent, a major investor in the settlement of Virginia. She married William Pope (1596 – 1624), the eldest son and heir of William Pope, 1st Earlof Downe(1573 – 1631), in 1615. Her husband died young, aged only twenty-seven, in 1624, and in this portrait, which can be dated on costume to the mid 1620s, Elizabeth is presumably shown with their eldest son, Thomas (baptised in Oxford in 1622), who succeeded his grandfather as Baron Bealturbit and 2nd Earl of Downe, and their elder daughter, Anne (baptised in 1617. Following her husband’s death, she married secondly Sir Thomas Penyston (1591 – 1644) of Leigh in Sussex.

English school circa 1625 – 1626

Lady Elizabeth Pope, wife of Sir William Pope (1596 – 1624), with her eldest son Thomas, later 2nd Earl of Downe (1622 – 1660) and eldest daughter Anne (b.1617) Oil on canvas: 79 ½ x 58 in. (202 x 147 cm.) Painted c.1628 – 1638 Provenance By descent through the Earls of Downe at Wroxton Abbey, Oxfordshire to Sir Francis North (1637 – k1685), 1st Baron Guildford, and thence through the Earls of Guildford and the Lords North to William, 11th Baron North (1836 – 1932); by whom sold Sotheby’s, London, 11 July 1930, lot 63 (unsold); with Leggatts, London, 1931, from whom acquired by Harold Pearson, 2nd Viscount Cowdray (1888 – 1933), thence by descent to Michael Pearson, 4thViscount Cowdray (b.1944), Cowdray Park, Sussex. Literature C. Anson, A Catalogue of Pictures and Drawings in the Collection of The Viscount Cowdray, London, 1971, p.6, no.20, plate 7, as ‘Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger’. J. Arnold, ‘Jane Lambarde’s Mantle’, Costume, 1980, XIV, pp. 56-72. R. Strong, ‘Forgotten Age of English Paintings: Portraits at Cowdray and Parham, Sussex’, Country Life Annual, 1966, pp.46-47, fig.4.

T 1. Lady Anne Pope and her three children by Gheeraerts (private collection, on loan to the National Portrait Gallery), Henry Frederick Prince of Wales with Sir John Harrington out hunting (Metropolitan Museum, New York) and Princess Elizabeth Stuart (National Maritime Museum, Greenwich), both by Peake, and The Saltonstall family group by des Granges (Tate Britain, London); all exceptional works by their respective painters. 2. See catalogue nos. 7, 8 & 9. 3. Both paintings, along with some other of the family portraits, were to be enlarged with canvas extensions in the late 17th century and put in house-style carved and guilded frames as part of a new decorative hanging scheme. Some were also inscribed with identifications, possibly 18th century in date, which in the case of our portrait has proven to be incorrect.

his endearing family portrait, dating from the first years of the reign of Charles I, has a very prestigious provenance. Before entering the collection at Cowdray Park, it hung for some three hundred years at Wroxton Abbey, the home of firstly the Pope and then the North family. Wroxton’s collection of early English portraits was one of the greatest ever assembled, with notable masterpieces by Marcus Gheeraerts, David des Granges and at least four large-scale portraits by Robert Peake, as well as fine examples by William Larkin and Cornelius Johnson. Several of these are now in museums including Tate, the National Maritime Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Yale Center for British Art.1 The collection was dispersed in a great house sale in 1932, by which time this portrait had already left the collection. The artist for this painting remains unknown. Painted around 1625 – 1626 during the new reign of King Charles I, and some thirty years after our set of full-lengths of the Howard ladies,2 its theatrical Jacobean design – with the sitters set between curtains, as if on a stage – had become somewhat outmoded. However, this can be simply explained, for clearly the artist chose, or was instructed, to emulate in symmetry and design a particular painting from approximately thirty years before that was already hanging in the house. This is the portrait from 1596 by Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger (1561 – 1635/6) of Anne, Lady Pope (1561 – 1625) and her children, (fig.2), (now on loan to the National Portrait Gallery, from a private collection). Anne Pope was the mother of Elizabeth’s deceased husband, Sir William Pope (1596 – 1624), with whom in Gheeraert’s portrait Anne is clearly pregnant. His father, Sir William Pope, (1573 – 1631), the 1st Earl of Downe, would outlive his son, and in all likelihood later commissioned this portrait of his son’s widow and children as a pendant to the earlier portrait.3 Within a few years, however, the revolutionary and ultimately all-pervading artistic influence of Anthony van Dyck at the English court would dramatically sweep away these stiffly formal tableaux, changing the face of English portraiture forever.

Robert Peake, Lady Elizabeth Pope, c.1615, © Tate Britain, London


4. It is possible that the Pope family would have kept up connections with Robert Peake’s workshop, which was inherited by his son William. Given the family’s past patronage, is it conceivable that they would have turned again to this workshop for the present commission. 5. J. Arnold, [op. cit.], p.68. 6. J. Arnold [ibid.], p.72, mentions that an old photograph of our portrait before it was restored in the early twentieth century showed Lady Pope with a lock of hair over her left shoulder. During recent cleaning of the picture this lock was uncovered and is again visible. 7. R. Strong, ‘Forgotten Age of English Painting: Portraits at Cowdray and Parham, Sussex’, Country Life Annual, 1966, p.47.

Elizabeth, considered quite a beauty, had been painted around ten years earlier by Robert Peake (c.1551 – 1619), (fig.1), at the time of her first marriage, a portrait which likewise was at Wroxton and now hangs at Tate Britain, where she is shown in an Arcadian landscape with loosely flowing tresses and a subtly exposed bosom, adorned with costly diamonds, pearls and an azure, pearl-encrusted robe and jauntily plumed hat; quite the ‘Jacobethan’ seductress.4 In our later, group portrait, red velvet curtains are drawn back to reveal the three figures in opulent costume. Lady Pope is magnificently dressed in a close fitting silk jacket and matching petticoat with floral embroidery, articulated with a geometric pattern of gold thread. The blues in the embroidery are echoed in her sweeping silk mantle fastened to her left shoulder by a sapphire and pearl brooch. The artist skilfully renders her scalloped collar of bobbin lace and the matching scalloped, falling lace cuffs, reflecting a move away at this time from stiffly starched lace, as worn by her children.5 Lady Pope’s hairstyle is also à la mode. By the mid 1620s, hair, which previously was combed away from the forehead in the manner of Anne of Denmark, began to be worn with fringes of little curls. Here, Elizabeth sports a fringe, but retains the flowing tresses of her youth.6 Thomas and Anne wear matching green jackets and petticoats with gold embroidery. Thomas is still in skirts, and appears to be around three or four years old whilst his sister seems to be eight or nine years old. Their ages, along with the fashions worn, support a dating for the painting to circa 1625 – 1626. The portrait is a striking example of what Roy Strong described as the Jacobean ‘feeling for portraiture as a document’, celebrating the Pope family’s lineage and descent, for ‘Elizabethan and Jacobean family groups are the materialisation in paint of family trees’.7 The manner in which Lady Pope is shown with her right hand on her eldest son’s head signals his future succession to the family’s estates and titles. Indeed, he succeeded his grandfather as 2nd Earl, but like his father before him, he did not live to a great age, dying at 38, and was therefore unusually succeeded by his uncle, his father’s younger brother, Thomas Pope (1598 – 1667), who became 3rd Earl. Of particular note is the very rare carpet on which they stand. As with the other carpets depicted in several of the portraits which are included in this catalogue, it originated from the village of Oushak in Western Anatolia. This exact pattern has only survived in one complete example, known as ‘the Wind Carpet’ which was sold at Christie’s, 20th October 1994, lot 517

Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Anne, Lady Pope (1561 – 1625), with her children, © Private Collection courtesy of Nevill Keating Pictures Ltd.


[ 14

Cornelius Johnson (1593 – 1661)

Robert, Lord Bruce, later 2nd Earl of Elgin and 1st Earl of Ailesbury (1626 – 1685) Oil on canvas: 29 x 24 ½ in. (73.5 x 62 cm.) Signed lower right: ‘C.J. fecit/ 1635’ and inscribed on a cartellino lower left: ‘Robert Lord Bruce afterwards Earl of Ailesbury & Elgin drawne at the age of 7 years. C. Johnson Pt ’ Painted 1635 P rov e n a n c e By descent through the Earls of Elgin and Marquesses of Ailesbury, Tottenham Park, Savernake, Wiltshire, to David Brudenell-Bruce, Earl of Cardigan, Savernake Lodge, Wiltshire.


his sensitive portrait of the young Robert, Lord Bruce captures him as a young boy, at the age of seven. He wears a delicate pink silk doublet embroidered with silver thread and blue ribbons, and is depicted within a feigned marbled oval, caught in a space that reveals his innocent vulnerability. Johnson was one of the most gifted and prolific artists working in England in the 1620s and 1630s. Born in London but of Flemish and German extraction, he is thought to have trained as an artist in the northern Netherlands before establishing himself in England around 1619. Our portrait was painted in 1635, three years after he was appointed as ‘his Majesty’s servant in ye quality of Picture drawer’ to Charles I. It is a fine example of Johnson’s restrained and sensitive portrayals for which he was renowned.

1. ‘The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge,’ known as The Royal Society, was founded in 1660. It was a learned society for science, intended to be a place of research and discussion. 2. K. Hearn, ‘The English Career of Cornelius Johnson’, Dutch and Flemish Artists in Britain 1550 - 1700, Leiden, 2003, ed. E. Domela et al., pp.113-128.

Robert, Lord Bruce was the elder son of Thomas, Lord Bruce, 1st Earl of Elgin and his wife Anne, daughter of Sir Robert Chichester. Despite receiving little formal education, he was known in later years for his intellectual curiosity, amassing a collection of antiquities and historical manuscripts, as well as becoming a fellow of the Royal Society. Styled Lord Kinloss during his father’s lifetime, he travelled extensively in Europe between 1642 – 1646. In 1646 he returned to England to marry Lady Diana Grey, daughter of the 1st Earl of Stamford, with whom he had seventeen children of whom nine survived to adulthood. By 1659 he was an active royalist conspirator, becoming deeply involved in plans for a royalist uprising. This stood him in good stead after the Restoration. In 1663 he succeeded his father as 2nd Earl of Elgin and the following year he was given the additional English title of Earl of Ailesbury by Charles II. In 1685 he bore St Edward’s staff at James II’s coronation, was made a Fellow of the Royal Society,1 and appointed Lord Chamberlain, only to die later that year. Cornelius Johnson was born in London, the son of Flemish émigrés whose family originated from Cologne. His parents were part of the great influx of Protestants from the Netherlands who fled religious persecution following the Spanish conquest of Flanders and the fall of Antwerp. It has been speculated that Johnson may have trained in the Netherlands with Michiel Jansz. van Miereveld, however, it also may well be that that he studied under Marcus Gheeraerts in London.2 Not only do Johnson’s first signed and dated works, which appear from 1619 onwards, use a form of inscription similar to that of Gheeraerts, but stylistically they very much continue the Jacobean traditions encapsulated in that artist’s oeuvre. Although in December 1632 Johnson was appointed as ‘his Majesty’s servant in ye quality of Picture Drawer’, the arrival of Van Dyck evidently had a major impact on his patronage. For Johnson’s art was best suited to the relative intimacy of the bust-length portrait where, with a certain detachment, he captured the reticence of the English landed gentry and minor aristocracy. As exemplified by this portrait, and also by the pair of Willem and Maria Thielen, painted the previous year in 1634 (no.15), by the 1630s Johnson had perfected a style and pattern all his own for these half-length portraits, where the figures were placed unusually low within the composition and the sitter portrayed in a gentle, almost wistful manner. Johnson was still among the King’s ‘servants in ordinary of the chamber’ in 1641 However, as described by Vertue, he ‘Stayd in England till the Troublesom civil war… being terrifyd with those apprehensions & the constant persuasions of his wife went to Holland’. Thus he and his family left for Holland in October 1643, where he continued to paint into his final years, dying in Utrecht in 1661




[ 15

Cornelius Johnson (1593 – 1661)

Willem Thielen (1596 – 1638),1 Reverend Minister of the Reformed Dutch Church of London; Signed and dated lower right ‘C.J. fecit- 1634’ and inscribed upper right ‘MATH.II.28.29. IN CHRISTIE RVSTE ICK MY VERLVSTE’ with his armorial and further inscribed upper left ‘WILHELMVS THIELEN 1634’ and ‘Æt Suæ.38’

and his wife Maria

de Fraeye (1605 – 1682)

Signed and dated lower right ‘C.J. fecit- 1634’ and inscribed upper left ‘LVC.1.47. FRAY IN DEVCHT IN GODT VERMEVCHT.’ with her armorial and further inscribed upper right ‘MARIA DIE FRAEYE 1634’ and ‘Æt Suæ.29.’ Each: Oil on panel: 31 x 24 ¾ in. (78.7 x 62.7 cm.) Painted 1634 Provenance Henri-Louis Bischoffsheim (1829 – 1909), Bute House, 75 Audley Street, Mayfair; sold by his wife at Christie’s, 23 February 1907, lot 73, (bought by Agnews for 300 gns.); with Romer Williams; with Scott & Fowles, 17 August 1911; acquired from Thomas Agnew & Sons, London, 18 February 1912, for £1,045 by Weetman Pearson, 1st Viscount Cowdray (1856 – 1927), Cowdray Park, Sussex, thence by descent to Michael Orlando Weetman Pearson, 4th Viscount Cowdray (b.1944). Literature Cowdray Park Catalogue, London, 1919, p.4, no.8. C. Anson, A Catalogue of Pictures and Drawings in the Collection of The Viscount Cowdray, London, 1971, p.2, nos. 6 & 7, pl.11 & 12.

1. Also known by his Latin name, Wilhelmus Thilenus. 2. For further information on the artist see catalogue no.14. 3. The church was destroyed during the Blitz in 1940. 4. Now in the Museum Briner & Kern, Winterthur, Switzerland (see fig.1).


his elegant pair of portraits is a testament to the fusion of Dutch and English artistic taste in a golden age of northern European portraiture. Painted in 1634 at the apogee of the Anglo-Dutch artist Cornelius Johnson’s English career, the quality and characterisation of the portraits mark them as among the finest examples of his work.2 His subtle use of softly blended sfumato brush-work gives the paintings an almost translucent surface, and the faces a vivid realism. As seen most notably in the portrait of Willem Thielen, Johnson is capable of masterfully achieving an almost porcelain-like finish for his works on panel. The sitters very probably knew Johnson personally, and like the artist, were prominent members of the immigrant Dutch community in London. Willem Thielen was the Reverend Minister of the Reformed Dutch Church in Austin Frairs between 1624 and 1638, and it can be assumed that Johnson, his contemporary by three years, was a parishioner there; Johnson was certainly baptised at the church on 14 October 1593. The original church was an Augustine monastic foundation established in 1550 when King Edward VI gave Protestant refugees from the Netherlands permission to establish their own parish. As such it was the oldest Dutchlanguage Protestant church in the world.3 Willem Thielen was the son of Joachim Cornelisz. Thielen and Josina Willemsdr. Haack. In 1623 he was a minister at Grijpskerke and from 1624 onwards in London. He married Maria de Fraeye, daughter of Jan de Fraeye and Maria Radermacher, in Middelburg in November 1625. The feigned marble cartouches in which Johnson has placed the husband and wife provide a visually solid setting, as though they are quite literally set in stone for posterity. Johnson, along with the English artist William Larkin, was one of the earliest proponents of this format, mimicking the miniaturist tradition of painting portraits in oval. Johnson was, in fact, just as adept at painting in miniature. A fascinating comparison to the present works is a pair of his miniatures depicting the Dutch Reformist minister, Theodericke Hoste (1588 – 1663) and his wife, friends of the Thielens.4 The Hostes and Thielens, along with the artist, were part of a close community of Dutch émigrés living in England at that time. In both sets of portraits Johnson skilfully captures his sitters’ expressions and individuality, with equally fine brush work on a large and a small scale. In our portraits, Johnson has decorated the marbled background with the sitters’ family crests and with quotes in Latin from the gospels of Matthew and Luke, apt mottos clearly chosen by



fig.1 Cornelius Johnson, miniatures on copper of Theoderick Hoste and his wife, © Museum Briner & Kern, Winterthur

5. We are grateful to Sabine Craft-Giepmans of the RKD for suggesting this comparison. 6. Keith L. Sprunger, Dutch Puritanism: A History of English and Scottish Churches of the Netherlands in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries, p.194.

the Thielens to reflect their piety and connection to the church. The sober, monochrome palette of black and white in their costumes reflects a Dutch protestant aesthetic, whilst also being fashionably sophisticated. Maria is dressed in a combination of Dutch and English clothes. Her striking hat can be compared to that of Maria Bockenolle (the wife of Joannes Ellison, a Protestant minister in Norwich), painted the same year by Rembrandt, now in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. It seems to be of a type worn by Dutch women with specific connections to England.5 Maria Thielen’s large ruff is very typically Dutch in fashion, whereas her intricately embroidered partlet, to modestly cover the chest, is characteristically English. Her partlet, a thing of wonder, with its blackwork embroidery patterned with honeysuckle, clematis, carnations, buttercups, pears, a bee, caterpillars and little birds, each with their own fruitful symbolism, is exquisitely captured by Johnson. Maria was the granddaughter on her mother’s side of the Middelburg merchant and humanist Johan Radermacher the Elder (1538 – 1617). As a deacon, Radermacher was closely involved in the early Dutch Reformed congregations of Middelburg, Antwerp, Aachen and London, and he amassed a remarkable theological library of around 1500 books, mainly from the sixteenth century. These were sold by auction some seventeen years after his death by his son, Steven Radermacher (Maria’s uncle) at his house in the Molstaat, in 1634, incidentally the same year the present portraits were painted. The catalogue was compiled by Hans van der Hellen, who was at that time the most important printer and publisher in Middelburg. Willem Thielen himself formed an impressive library which was again sold by auction in Middelburg in 1640 (two years after his death), which was also catalogued by van der Hellen. Both auctions were organised by an official auctioneer appointed by the town of Middelburg, and were significant events. A copy of the catalogue for Willem Thielen’s collection is today housed in the Biblioteca Angelica in Rome. Willem and Maria had at least three children, all born in London; Johannes (1627 – 1692), later a minister at Koudekerke, Goes and Middelburg; Sara (1630 – 1660), married to Johan Schorer in 1649, painted by the Dutch artist Nicolaes Maes (1634 – 1693); and Willem (1634 – 1684). Although they all returned to the Netherlands, Johannes rather charmingly is recorded by his friend and fellow pastor, John Quick, as having attributed his warm disposition unlike ‘that of the generality of the Nether Dutch ministers, who were of a more narrow and meaner spirit, more closed and reserved in conversation’, to the fact that ‘My deare Brother, I am no Dutchman, I am an Englishman borne.’6 These portraits formerly were part of the illustrious collection of Henri-Louis Bischoffsheim (1829 – 1909), a member of the prominent Jewish European banking dynasty. They decorated his London residence, Bute House in Mayfair, a grand property which is now the Egyptian Embassy. Bischoffsheim purchased Bute House in 1872, and surviving photographs of the interiors display an opulence comparable to that of the Rothschilds. His outstanding collection of Old Master paintings included major Dutch works from the seventeenth Century, reflecting a taste perhaps discovered during his childhood in Amsterdam, as well as British and French masterpieces of the eighteenth Century. Whether he acquired the Thielens in the Netherlands or England is not known



[ 16

Sir Anthony Van Dyck Sir Robert Howard, K.B. (1583/4 – 1653) Oil on canvas: 42 x 33 in. (106.9 x 83.8 cm.) Painted circa late 1630s Provenance Edward Hyde, 1st Earl of Clarendon (1609 – 1674); and by descent to his son Henry, 2nd Earl of Clarendon (1638 – 1709); recorded at Cornbury, Wiltshire, c.1683 – 1685 and c.1721 – 1731 by Vertue (loc.cit.); and by descent to Henry Hyde, 4th Earl of Clarendon (1672 – 1753); to his daughter, Catherine, Duchess of Queensberry and Dover (d.1777); recorded at Amesbury, Wiltshire, in 1769 by Musgrave (loc.cit.); to William Douglas, 4th Duke of Queensberry (1724 – 1810); to Archibald, 1st Lord Douglas (d.1827) at Bothwell Castle, Lanarkshire; to his eldest daughter and co-heiress, Jane Douglas (d.1859), who m. Henry Scott, 2nd Lord Montagu of Boughton (1778 – 1845); to their daughter, Lucy Scott, who m. Cospatrick, 11th Earl of Home (1799 – 1881); and by descent to Charles Douglas-Home, 13th Earl of Home (1873 – 1951), by whom sold at Christie’s, London, 20 June 1919, Lot 106; Private Collection, USA. Exhibited London, South Kensington, Exhibition of National Treasures, 1886, no. 887. Literature George Vertue, ‘Notebooks VI’, Walpole Society, vol.XXX, 1948 – 1950, p.6, ‘Pictures in Cornbury House. Ld. Clarendons in Oxfordshire, June 17 1722.’ R. Gibson, Catalogue of Portraits in the Collection of the Earl of Clarendon, 1977, p.143. William Musgrave, ‘Lists of Portraits’, Walpole Society, vol.54, 1991, p.477, at Amesbury.

1. We are grateful to Dr. Christopher Brown for confirming the attribution to van Dyck after firsthand inspection of the picture. 2. A comparison can be made with the artist’s likeness of Sir Robert’s cousin, William Howard, Viscount Stafford, which dates from about the same time. 3. After Lady Purbeck’s death in 1645, he married Catherine, daughter of Henry Nevill, seventh Baron Abergavenny, with whom he had two sons and a daughter. He died, aged sixty-eight in 1653 and was buried at Clun. 4. Oliver Millar, ‘Portraiture and the Country House’, in exh. cat., The Treasure Houses of Britain: Five Hundred Years of Private Patronage and Art Collecting, ed. G. JacksonStops, National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1985, p. 31. 5. Subsequently, the pictures were moved to the family’s country house, Cornbury, in Wiltshire, and were recorded there in the early eighteenth century by the famous antiquarian George Vertue.



his unpublished portrait of Sir Robert Howard is characteristic of Van Dyck’s English period, painted with a fluid economy of line.1 The sitter is portrayed in a self-assured pose, with one arm akimbo, gazing directly at the beholder, set in relief by a neutral background. The ribbon of the Order of the Bath provides a splash of vivid red in Van Dyck’s otherwise restrained colour scheme. Sir Robert sports a moustache and beard and his hair is worn long, with a fashionable lovelock cascading over his left shoulder. It is his one apparent concession to frivolity, although in fact it was a bold act of defiance, a proclamation of his love for another man’s wife. Simple in conception, the painting is enlivened with flowing brushstrokes that skilfully render the sitter’s white chemise and cuffs, and the sheen of his black silk garments. The broad, almost sketchy manner of its handling indicates a date in the late 1630s.2 Sir Robert is best remembered as an adulterer and a Royalist sympathiser. He achieved notoriety through his liaison with Frances Villiers, Viscountess Purbeck (1600/01 – 1645). Frances had been forced into a marriage with Sir John Villiers, Viscount Purbeck, a brother of the royal favourite, George Villiers, the Duke of Buckingham. After a period of separation from her husband, she gave birth in 1624 to a son, Robert, who was said to have been fathered by Robert Howard. Buckingham had the pair cited before the court of High Commission on 19 February 1625, and Howard was briefly imprisoned and publicly excommunicated. However, he was pardoned at the coronation of King Charles I. Lady Purbeck faired rather worse, and was ordered to pay a fine and serve a term in prison, but she evaded the penalties by escaping to France. Their attachment was clearly founded on love, for later, Frances returned to England and the pair resumed their affair, living together at Sir Robert’s house in Shropshire, and bearing more children.3 After Sir Robert’s death, this portrait entered the collection of Edward Hyde, 1st Earl of Clarendon. During the Civil War, Hyde fought on the Royalist side and in 1646 went into exile. After the Restoration in 1660, he was appointed Secretary of State to Charles II. Created Earl of Clarendon in 1661, he rose to the powerful position of Lord Chancellor. He built himself a splendid London residence, Clarendon House, and furnished it with a collection of portraits of illustrious sitters. It has been described as the ‘most splendid portrait gallery ever put together by a statesman in England’,4 and consisted mainly of portraits of famous men of the reigns of Elizabeth I and James I and contemporaries of Clarendon. His son Henry, Lord Cornbury, came into the possession of the house and its collection, where on 20 December 1668, he dined with John Evelyn who described the house as ‘bravely furnished... with the pictures of most of our ancient and modern wits, poets, philosophers, famous and learned Englishmen.’5


[ 17

Antonio David (1684 – 1750)

Prince James Edward Stuart, The Old Pretender (1688 – 1766) Oil on canvas: 31 ¼ x 25 in. (80 x 63.5 cm.) Painted c.1718 Provenance Possibly the portrait sent from Rome by the Prince in 1718 to John Erskine, 22nd Earl of Mar (1675 – 1732); Horatio William Walpole, 4th Earl of Orford (1813 – 1894) at Heckfield Place, by whom bequeathed to; Mrs. Colin Davy; and by descent until Christie’s, 28 March 1969, lot 109, as ‘Hyacinth Rigaud’ (850 gns. to Heim); Sotheby’s, London, 15 July 1998, lot 38, as ‘Attributed to Jean Baptiste Oudry’; with The Weiss Gallery, London, 1998; Christopher Nightingale, Appleby Castle, Cumbria. Literature W.G. Blaickie Murdoch, ‘Antonio David: A contribution to Stuart Iconography’, The Burlington Magazine, vol.56, no.325, April 1930, pp.203 – 205. J. Kerslake, National Portrait Galery: Early Georgian Portraits, London, 1977, vol.I, pp.158 & 349, as ‘closer to [Antonio] David’. E. Corp, The Jacobites at Urbino: An exiled court in transition, New York, 2009, illustrated on the cover. Exhibited Southampton, Southampton Art Gallery and Winchester, Winchester College, Pictures from Hampshire Houses, 2 July – 17 August 1955, no.59, as ‘Rigaud’.


s an icon of the Jacobite cause, James Francis Edward Stuart was the subject of numerous works of art during his lifetime. Few, however, stand as singularly vibrant as his portrayal by Antonio David. Painted at the inauguration of the artist’s long association with the Pretender, around 1720, at his exiled Jacobite court in Rome, he is shown in a fashionably voluminous wig, donning a lacy cravat above a highly sheened ceremonial breast-plate, a purposeful nod to his military intentions. His regal appearance is increased by the velvet and fur cloak he wears and his distinctions of the blue ribbon of the Garter and the green and gold of the Thistle. With David’s emphasis on texture, opulence and colour, he epitomises a kingly magnificence to rival the portraiture of James’s French contemporary, Louis XV. Yet more significantly, it would have successfully eclipsed the comparatively lack-luster likenesses of Queen Anne and George I across the channel.

1. Where previously these Orders were incompatible if worn together, new regulations issued from Avignon in April 1716 decreed that the Thistle could now be worn with the Sash. 2. See W.G. Blaikie Murdoch, ‘Antonio David: A Contribution to Stuart Iconography’ (op. cit.), p.203. 3. The Weiss Gallery, Facing the Past, 2011, no. 24. 4. See W.G. Blaikie Murdoch, ‘Antonio David: A Contribution to Stuart Iconography’ (op. cit.), p.204.


The incorporation of James’s Orders in this portrait suggests a dating for the picture to after 1717. Having returned from his unsuccessful campaign in Scotland in 1716, and wishing to recognise the efforts of his Jacobite supporters, he chose for the first time to display the Order of the Thistle as well as the Order of the Garter on his chest.1 Our portrait may well be the same painting that was sent to John Erskine, 22nd Earl of Mar in early 1718, as described in a letter written by David to the Earl dated 9th February, in which David stated that notwithstanding a recent illness he had painted it entirely with his ‘own brush’, and that he hoped it would be ‘cordially received’.2 The importance of David’s commission is further confirmed by the existence of a ricordo for the work, with the Weiss Gallery in 2011/2012, 3 that was also painted for one of the Old Pretender’s close supporters, James Ogilvy, 4th Earl of Findlater and 1st Earl of Seafield (1663 – 1730), possibly as one of several small-scale reductions by the artist dispersed among his Jacobite supporters. David was the son of the artist Lodovico Antonio David (1648 – c.1730), and like his father was based mainly in Rome. He earned repute there as a portraitist while he was still only in his early twenties, and went on to form a close acquaintance with the Stuarts, becoming an official portrait painter of the exiled Jacobite court in 1718, the likely year of this portrait, and in the words of the Old Pretender himself, ‘our Reigne the 17th year’. A letter from James Edward Stuart to David, now in the archives at Windsor, regally stated ‘We being well satisfied with your zeal for Us and of your Capacity and Qualifications in the Art of Painting And being willing to confer and bestow on you a Mark of Our Royal Favour Do hereby Name and Appoint you dureing our will and pleasur only To be One of Our Painters and to take on you the name of Such’.4 The artist went on to work almost exclusively for the House of Stuart for nearly twenty years, also painting the Old Pretender’s two children Prince Edward Stuart, the Young Pretender (1720 – 1788) and Prince Henry Benedict, Cardinal York (1725 – 1807), both painted circa 1732 (SNPG, Edinburgh).


Antonio David, Prince James Edward Stuart,The Old Pretender (1688 – 1766), ricordo, oil on canvas, 17 ¼ x 13 in. (44 x 33 cm.), © The Weiss Gallery, London

James Edward was the only son of the younger brother of Charles II, the briefly reigning James II (1633 – 1701), who was removed from the throne in the revolution of 1688 after only three years as King, due to his Catholic aspirations for the country. James II fled to France in December 1688, following his wife Mary of Modena and the young James Edward, but he died soon after, truly embittered, in 1701. James Edward was declared King by Stuart supporters but remained in France, spending his earliest years under the protection of King Louis XIV. He later attempted to officially claim his title by landing in Scotland in 1715. Failing, he was offered refuge in Rome by Pope Clement XI, and given the Palazzo Muti as his residence. Continuing the Stuart legacy of artistic patronage, his court in Rome was an epicentre for painting, employing the greatest Italian portraitists, among them David, Francesco Trevisani, Louis-Gabriel Blanchet and Rosalba Carriera


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Tudor and Stuart Portraits  
Tudor and Stuart Portraits