Historical Portraits Picture Archive

Portrait of a Gentleman, 1615 

 English School 

Portrait of a Gentleman, 1615,  English School
Oil on Panel
17th Century
19 x 14 in (48.5 cm x 35.5 cm)
Ketteringham Hall, Norfolk, until sold; K.H. Fielding Auctioneers, The Contents of Ketteringham Hall, 22-25 July 1947, lot 300; Bought from above by C.G.H Perks (according to an inscription on the reverse); Private collection, UK.
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This highly accomplished Jacobean panel portrait depicts a fashionable young gentleman; his wealth and fine taste reflected in his delicate lace-edged collar and slashed black doublet.

Although the subject of this portrait is at present unknown, he was almost certainly connected to one of the great families who lived at Ketteringham Hall in Norfolk where, until 1947, this portrait hung. A handwritten inscription on the back of the painting tells us that the portrait was at Ketteringham Hall prior its acquisition by Sir John Boileu (which was in 1836 not 1850 as the inscription states). If this was the case, then the portrait must have been brought to Ketteringham by either the Atkyn, Heron, Heveningham or Grey family. A connection to the Atkyn or Heveningham family, however, seems the most probable; the Grey family vacated the estate in 1492 and the Heron family appear to have lived there only very briefly before selling the estate to the Atkyn family in 1717.

We do not know the identity of the artist of this beguiling portrait, however, through stylistic analysis we are able to link it to a number of other works by the same hand, recorded in both public and private collections. One of the most recognisable attributes of this artist is the style of inscription; the lettering is highly distinctive and nearly always written in yellow. The structure of facial features and treatment of the subjectsí eyes is also quite consistent throughout this artistís recorded body of works, and many of his works, including the present example, reveal a familiarity with the work of court painter William Larkin (early 1580s-1619).

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