A late 16th Century English School antique oil on board portrait of an aristocratic lady.
Painted by a “Follower of” Marcus Gheeraerts 1561-1635.
By “Follower of”, the definition means that we believe that the work was done in the manner of the named artist, during their lifetime or later.
Marcus Gheeraerts was a Flemish-born portrait painter, active in England. He settled here in 1568 with his father Marcus the Elder (c.1520–c.1590), an engraver and painter who had fled from Bruges because of religious persecution. Marcus the Younger was probably the leading society portraitist in London at the peak of his career (his popularity declined after about 1615). About 30 paintings can be confidently assigned to him on the basis of signatures or inscriptions, the best-known among them being the splendid full-length portrait of Elizabeth I known as the ‘Ditchley’ portrait (c.1592, NPG, London), in which the queen is shown standing on a map of England. Many other portraits have been attributed to him, but it is not easy to disentangle his work from that of some of his contemporaries.
About the sitter:
The sitter is unknown.
Portrayed wearing a large ruff and headdress, black bodice and silk cuffs.
An unidentified armorial is displayed above her left shoulder.
A broach is appended to the left side of her chest made up of precious stones.
She holds a device in her right hand, possibly a nose-gay or tussie mussie/tusemose laced with floral and herbal smells to hide the odours of everyday life where sanitation and hygiene were somewhat poor.
Presented in an associated ebonised frame and a gilt slip of a later date.
Size including frame: 82cm x 102cm (32 1/3″ x 40 2/8″)
Condition – restored and cleaned prior to our acquisition. The portrait has undergone considerable retouching (the date of this has not been ascertained) and the panel itself has split historically and been re-glued with a contemporary but unidentified adhesive. An additional highly detailed condition report is available upon request. Please refer to the images too. The portrait bears an old gallery label verso too (see last gallery image).
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