Historical Portraits Picture Archive

Portrait miniature of a Gentleman, thought to be John Crew, 1st Baron Crew of Stene (1598-1679), wearing full-bottomed wig, armour and white lace jabot 

Mrs Susan Penelope Rosse (b.c.1655-1700)

Portrait miniature of a Gentleman, thought to be John Crew, 1st Baron Crew of Stene (1598-1679), wearing full-bottomed wig, armour and white lace jabot, Mrs Susan Penelope Rosse
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Watercolour on ivory
18th Century
Oval, 22mm (7/8in) high
 
Provenance:
By family descent.
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The gentleman in this miniature is presumed to be John Crew, 1st Baron Crew of Stene who was an English Lawyer and MP for Amersham, Brackley and Banbury between 1624 and 1629, before Charles I ruled without parliament for eleven years. He was Chairman of the committee of religion and was imprisoned in the Tower of London for a month in May 1640 after failing to deliver papers in his possession. Although he supported Parliament during the Civil War, he was sympathetic towards the king and was one of the committee that met Charles II in The Hague prior to his reinstatement as king. In 1661 during the king’s coronation honours, Crew was made 1st Baron Crew of Stene by Charles II. Samuel Pepys was well acquainted with Crew and writes fondly of him in his diaries.

The daughter of the miniature painter Richard Gibson, Susannah-Penelope Rosse trained by copying the works of her neighbour, the internationally renowned limner Samuel Cooper (1609-1672). She was praised by George Vertue ‘as by these may bee seen; nobody ever copy’d him better’ (Vertue I, p.116). A talented artist, she did not need to work for a living, but produced portraits of family and friends which serve as an intimate record of her life. Many of her connections to artists and sitters came through her parents, who were famous at court not only for their artistic talents but also for their small stature.

Many of Rosse’s portraits, such as this example, are extremely small in size and were likely to have been worn as jewellery, set into lockets and rings by her husband, the wealthy court jeweller Michael Rosse.
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