A major loan exhibition dedicated to the first internationally celebrated British artist, Samuel Cooper, will go display at the Philip Mould gallery from 13 November – 7 December 2013 (Preview Tuesday, 12 November). Known to his contemporaries as ‘the prince of limners’ or ‘Vandyck in little’.
Lenders to the exhibition include Royal Collection Trust, The Duke of Buccleuch, Castle Howard, Burghley House, The Ashmolean Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum and the National Portrait Gallery. The exhibition takes its name from the Duke of Buccleuch’s iconic unfinished portrait of Oliver Cromwell, which, for the first time, will be hung alongside Sir Peter Lely’s identical portrait of Cromwell [on loan from BirminghamMuseum and ArtGallery]. The death mask of Oliver Cromwell will also be loaned from WarwickCastle to allow visitors to compare his features to Cooper’s ad vivum sketch and subsequent portraits. As the exhibition will conclusively show, it is to Cooper that Oliver Cromwell is believed to have made clear his desire to be painted ‘warts and all’.
This ambitious exhibition has been curated by Emma Rutherford, portrait miniature specialist to Philip Mould & Co, who has succeeded in securing loans from across the country to make this an outstanding show and give visitors a rare opportunity to glimpse these significant portraits together. Most have not been seen together since leaving Cooper’s studio in the 17th Century.