Historical Portraits Picture Archive

Portrait of Mrs Ann Roydhouse 1690s

Sir John Baptist De Medina 1659 - 1710

Portrait of Mrs Ann Roydhouse, Sir John Baptist De Medina
Oil on canvas
17th Century
50 x 40 inches 127 x 101.2 cm
York House, Twickenham, 1936 Collection of Christopher Inge, 1986
Depicting his subject in a loose but confident manner, Sir John de Medina has elegantly enlivened this portrait of Mrs Ann Roydhouse with a blend of rich colours and flowing drapery. Capturing the subtle luminescence of her skin and highlights of her hair, the lightness of his brush strokes makes this portrait an outstanding example of the painterly skill for which the artist was known.

The son of a Spanish Officer, Medina was born in Brussels and studied under Francois Duchatel. Moving to London in 1686, he was able to establish a successful practice painting portraits and creating illustrations for Ovid's ''Metamorphosis'' and Milton's Paradise Lost''. In 1693, Medina was tempted to Scotland by the Earl of Melville, who promised him the sum of 500 for the production of portraits of him and his family. At a time when Scotland enjoyed the skill of few painters, Medina's arrival in Edinburgh was viewed as a blessing by members of the nobility such as Margaret, Countess of Rothes whose family were also amongst Medina's most active patrons.

This portrait of Ann Roydhouse, the wife of John Roydhouse, a prosperous merchant based in St Martin in the Fields, most likely dates from the period between 1686 and 1693, when the artist was working in London. Little is known about the sitter, but the depiction of her beauty so readily captured in Medina's work is certain to have been admired by John Smith, who chose to engrave her portrait.
Philip Mould Ltd, 18-19 Pall Mall, London, SW1Y 5LU.Copyright Philip Mould Ltd.