Historical Portraits Picture Archive

Portrait of a man, called William Cavendish, Duke of Newcastle 1592-1676 1610c.

William Larkin 

Portrait of a man, called William Cavendish, Duke of Newcastle 1592-1676, William Larkin
Oil on Panel
17th Century
23 x 17 inches 58.4 x 43.2 cm
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Little is known about William Larkin, who is assumed to be English and probably from London. He worked exclusively as a portrait painter and most of his known works, both documented and attributed, were completed within the second decade of the 17th century. His distinguished clientele were all related to each other and moved within the highest Court circles. His work is marked by a highly realstic and psychologically penetrating treatment of the faces, contrasted with very detailed and formalised costumes, frequently incorporating elaborate ruffs, which hark back to the Elizabethan costume piece.

William Cavendish is remembered as a great Royalist, a soldier and a man of letters. Heir to the combined estates of Welbeck, Nottinghamshire and the barony of Ogle, Northumberland he was a favourite of the Stuarts and he entertained both James I and Charles I at Welbeck at great expense, commissioning Ben Johnson to write the masques. Cavendish was created Earl of Newcastle in 1628 and was made governor of Charles, Prince of Wales, 1638 - 41. He fought for the Royalists during the Civil War, lending money to Charles I and raising his own troop. His support for the Stuarts meant that in 1641 he was forced to withdraw from court to avoid prosecution by parliament for raising troops. As a commander he met with both success and failure during the Civil War, always remaining close to the Royal family. During the Commonwealth he went into exile where he married Elizabeth Howard. Like many Royalists, he suffered great material hardship during his exile and was forced to pawn his wife''s jewels and take on heavy loans before he obtained an allowance out of his confiscated estates. Returning to England with Charles II in 1660, he had only part of his estates restored. It is estimated that he spent nearly 1,000,000 in the Royal service and in recognition of his service he was created Duke of Newcastle in 1665. After the restoration he retired to Welbeck and his literary pursuits. As well as being a patron of the arts, he left a body of works which included plays, poems and texts on horsemanship.
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