Attributed to Johann Closterman (1665-1711)
...Closterman died in May 1711, not long after being robbed of his valuables by a devious mistress, an event which supposedly drove him to madness.
Johann Closterman was one of the leading portrait painters working in England in the latter half of the seventeenth century and his work, which is characterised by rich colouring, epitomises the later phases of English baroque portraiture. The sitter in this work is shown holding a fowling piece, a prop which Closterman used a number of times during this period.
Closterman (anglicised from Kloosterman) was born in Germany and is thought to have arrived in England in 1681, following the death of court painter Sir Peter Lely. Soon after his arrival Closterman was employed by John Riley as a drapery painter, although the existence of signed works by both artists during the 1680s suggests they also worked independently.
The demand for Closterman’s work soared following the death of Riley in 1691, pushing him further into the higher echelons of society, and by the late 1690s he appears to have enjoyed a position amongst the most distinguished literary and artistic circles.
By November 1698 Closterman was in Spain where he was patronised by the Spanish court and painted full-length portraits of Carlos II and Maria Ana of Neuberg. As is frequently seen throughout the history of travelling artists, Closterman, whilst looking for patronage, also acted as an agent for wealthy English collectors and did much to encourage the collecting of Old Master drawings in England at this time.
After his return and up until his death in 1711, Closterman maintained a successful portrait painting practice and employed at least one assistant, and although in competition with great painters like Sir Godfrey Kneller and Jonathan Richardson, he seems to have sustained an illustrious lifestyle. Closterman died in May 1711, not long after being robbed of his valuables by a devious mistress, an event which supposedly drove him to madness.