Historical Portraits Picture Archive

Portrait of Jan van der Wouwer after Van Dyck 1740c.

Thomas Gainsborough RA (172788)

Portrait of Jan van der Wouwer after Van Dyck, Thomas Gainsborough RA
Oil on canvas
18th Century
222 x 18 inches 57.8 x 55.5 cm
Thomas Gainsborough estate sale 1789; with John Nicholson Gallery until 1961; with Vose Galleries, Boston, 1961, by whom sold to; H. James Stone, Brockton MA; with Vose Galleries, Boston, 1977.
Ellis Waterhouse Gainsborough London 1966 p.124 no.1019.
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Although the artist would not have had access to Van Dyck's original painting, the life which he has managed to impart to his interpretation of an engraving is testament to his remarkable talent. It is characteristic of Gainsborough''s portraiture that he manages to impart to his sitters -even ''inanimate'' subjects such as this- a particular intelligence. Van Dyck remained a powerful influence on Thomas Gainsborough throughout his career, just as his presence looms in the background of British art through the whole of the eighteenth century and beyond.

Gainsborough was an assiduous copyist of Van Dyck and other Flemish masters, although too few of his versions are currently recognised. A wide variety of subjects came beneath his scrutiny, however, including in addition to this example, the double portrait of Lord John and Lord Bernard Stuart, the Herbert family, of which the original occupies a wall of the Double Cube Room at Wilton, and the Descent from the Cross.
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