Historical Portraits Picture Archive

Portrait of a Young Girl, a member of the Garrard family of Lamer Park c.1685

Studio of Willem Wissing c.1656-1687

Portrait of a Young Girl, a member of the Garrard family of Lamer Park, Studio of Willem Wissing
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Oil and Canvas
17th Century
41 ľ x 29 Ĺ inches, 104.8 x 74.9 cm
 
Provenance:
The Garrard Family, Lamer Park, Wheathampstead; By descent to Apsley Cherry-Garrard of Lamer Park; Old Hall Gallery, Iden, England; Dr. Wallace B. Shute, Ottawa; Private Collection, Ontario.
This portrait was painted c.1685, and has been traditionally identified as a member of the Garrard family. The sitter is placed in a throne-like seat, and is surrounded by the typical props of red drapery and a classical urn. Comparison with other portraits of the period shows that the artist here has clearly followed a pose typical of adult portraiture, and thus presents the child as a miniature adult. The message is further reinforced by the fact that she is holding a piece of orange blossom from the tree on her right, thus suggesting that she will one day bear fruit of her own. While this may seem unusual in modern eyes, it was not until later in the eighteenth century that child portraiture assumed a genre of its own.

The sitter in this portrait has in the past been identified as Elizabeth Garrard, daughter of Sir John Garrard, 2nd Bart. But since the picture was painted in the mid 1680s, it is in fact more likely that the sitter, if indeed her name is Elizabeth, is Lady Elizabeth Garrard, wife of Sir Samuel Garrard (d.1724). Another candidate for the sitter is Mary Garrard Drake, the daughter of Jane Garrard and Montague Drake MP.

Until 1947 this picture hung at Lamer Park, the Garrard family seat since 1617. Lamer, a large Tudor mansion, was acquired by Sir John Garrard, sometime mayor of London, and one of James Iís new breed of wealthy baronets. The portrait was sold from Lamer by the last member of the family to own the estate, Apsley Cherry-Garrard, who is best known as one of the members of Scottís expedition to the Antarctic. Cherry-Garrard survived the voyage and wrote an acclaimed account "The Worst Journey in the World" in 1922.



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