Historical Portraits Picture Archive

Portrait of a Lady, 1690s 

Henry Tilson (1659-95)

Portrait of a Lady, 1690s, Henry Tilson
Oil on canvas in original carved and stained frame
17th Century
30 x 25 in (76.2 x 63.5 cm)
Henry Tilson was one of the more promising of the native-born painters in the generation that succeeded Sir Peter Lely. He was a member of a respectable family from Lancashire, and came to London as an assistant to Lely in1680, and is named as a purchaser from Lely''s studio sale. He later trained in Sir Godfrey Kneller's studio, where he made the acquaintance of the young Michael Dahl, with whom he then travelled to Paris, Venice and Rome between 1684 and 1688. Tilson is known to have made portraits of British visitors to Rome, as well as of Gianlorenzo Bernini and Francesco Borri.

Tilson and Dahl were back in London by March 1689, where Tilson had begun to enjoy a successful and large portrait practice. His suicide for personal reasons in 1695 terminated a career that might have placed him among the ranks of Kneller and Dahl as a national iconographer.. I, (Oxford, 1930), p.68.
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