Historical Portraits Picture Archive

Portrait of a Lady in a pearl necklace 

Theodore Roussel (1614-89)

Portrait of a Lady in a pearl necklace, Theodore Roussel
Oil on Panel
17th Century
15¼ x 12¼ in (38.8 x 31 cm)
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Theodore Roussel was born in London in 1614. The son of the Royal Stuart jeweller, he spent a nine year apprenticeship with his uncle, Cornelius Johnson before working as an assistant to Van Dyck after 1632. Following the master's death in 1641, Roussel began producing fashionably small-scale portraits that are predictably Van Dyckian in mood and presentation. Sets of his portraits (some copied directly from Van Dyck) can be found at Knowle, Woburn and Southside houses in Wimbledon, as well as in the Royal Collection. According to the art historian George Vertue, Roussel was a ‘lover of Ease and his Bottle’.

According to his son, Anthony, Roussel regularly copied Van Dyck’s ‘pictures on small pannells’. Although the present sitter is unidentified, and does not closely resemble the sitter in any known work by Van Dyck, it is likely that she too is a copy after Van Dyck. Like other such examples by Roussel, the present panel has been ‘squared up’ to assist in the copying from a larger work.
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