The present portrait presents a lively face to the viewer, easily matched to the best artists working in watercolour and bodycolour on vellum in a more traditional portrait miniature format.

This characterful portrait is typical of the high-quality but regrettably unattributable work of the Dutch artists working in Britain in the mid 17th century. Most of these artists were emigres, from both the Northern and Southern Netherlands. Their reasons for arriving in Britain varied, from simply wishing to improve their economic status as artists in a thriving art economy to fleeing from religious persecution. Whatever their reason, British patrons benefited from their talented work in both large canvasses and small portraits on metal. The present portrait presents a lively face to the viewer, easily matched to the best artists working in watercolour and bodycolour on vellum in a more traditional portrait miniature format.

Working in oil on copper was a usual practice for many artists of the Dutch Golden Age, including, for example, Gerard ter Borch II (Zwolle 1617 – 1681 Deventer). Copper was an excellent support for this type of intricate painting, the reddish colour and smooth finish providing...


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This characterful portrait is typical of the high-quality but regrettably unattributable work of the Dutch artists working in Britain in the mid 17th century. Most of these artists were emigres, from both the Northern and Southern Netherlands. Their reasons for arriving in Britain varied, from simply wishing to improve their economic status as artists in a thriving art economy to fleeing from religious persecution. Whatever their reason, British patrons benefited from their talented work in both large canvasses and small portraits on metal. The present portrait presents a lively face to the viewer, easily matched to the best artists working in watercolour and bodycolour on vellum in a more traditional portrait miniature format.

Working in oil on copper was a usual practice for many artists of the Dutch Golden Age, including, for example, Gerard ter Borch II (Zwolle 1617 – 1681 Deventer). Copper was an excellent support for this type of intricate painting, the reddish colour and smooth finish providing an easy base on which to work. As proved by the condition of the present portrait, the fresh colours are due to the fact that the pigments do not chemically interact with the metallic support.

The present work is also housed in an openwork frame, set with diamonds. This type of frame was popular as a surround for portrait miniatures, particularly in France, in the later 17th and early 18th century. A fine gold example of this type of frame, also set with diamonds, can be seen around the portrait enamel of Oliver Cromwell by Christian Richter circa 1720 (Gilbert Collection, Victoria and Albert Museum, GILBERT.246:1, 2-2008).

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500 Years of British Art