This detailed portrait, painted in oil on card, is a rare hybrid, which combines the skilful detail of the miniaturist with the medium of oil. Although painters working in oil during the 17th century were usually Flemish-born or trained, this small work has peculiarly English traits. Painted on a card support and not the usual metal used by other artists working on this scale, the palette and technique are more in line with artists such as Robert Peake the younger (c.1591-1619) and in particular, William Larkin (d. 1619). The lack of influence from Italian or Netherlandish sources on English portraiture of this period is well-documented and can be seen to be the case in the present work.

Although we cannot be certain of the sitter, the portrait may represent the young Frances Cary, who married the 7th Duke of Rutland in 1605. Her costume would appear slightly later, possibly closer to 1610. It is also demure, at a time when...

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This detailed portrait, painted in oil on card, is a rare hybrid, which combines the skilful detail of the miniaturist with the medium of oil. Although painters working in oil during the 17th century were usually Flemish-born or trained, this small work has peculiarly English traits. Painted on a card support and not the usual metal used by other artists working on this scale, the palette and technique are more in line with artists such as Robert Peake the younger (c.1591-1619) and in particular, William Larkin (d. 1619). The lack of influence from Italian or Netherlandish sources on English portraiture of this period is well-documented and can be seen to be the case in the present work.

Although we cannot be certain of the sitter, the portrait may represent the young Frances Cary, who married the 7thDuke of Rutland in 1605. Her costume would appear slightly later, possibly closer to 1610. It is also demure, at a time when many portraits of this date showed an open bodice, scooped daringly low. Her dress is supplemented by rosettes in her hair and on the shoulders of her gown – a fashion endorsed by Anne of Denmark after she became queen in 1603. A similar fashion, including the ‘cartwheel’ ruff can be seen on the portrait attributed to Robert Peake the younger (c.1591-1619), of Lady Weston, circa 1610.[1]An enamel of Frances Cary by the nineteenth century artist Henry Bone (1755-1834), presumably copied from a portrait by Robert Peake or William Larkin, is at Kingston Lacey, Dorset. This may be the same sitter painted at a later date.[2]

Frances Cary married George Manner, 7thEarl of Rutland (1580-1641) in 1605. The couple lived at Fulbrook Hall, Lincolnshire and he inherited the title of Earl Rutland in 1632. On inheriting the title, the family moved to Belvoir Castle. After his death in 1641, the title, property and land went to his second cousin, John Manners.

[1]Sold Sotheby's London, June 30, 2005, lot 8

[2]National Trust: NT 1250534

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500 Years of British Art