Anthony van Dyck

Portrait of Henry Danvers, Earl of Danby

Portrait of Henry Danvers, Earl of Danby
(click image to zoom-in)
Author: Anthony van Dyck
Portraiture, Painting, Oil on canvas, 223x130.6 cm
Origin: Flanders, Late 1630s

From 1632 to 1641 van Dyck worked at the court of the English King Charles I, where he produced a marvellous serious of portraits of the English aristocracy, of which this is perhaps one of the most outstanding. Henry Danvers, Earl of Danby , was a member of the Privy Council, Keeper of the Royal Seal and founder of the first botanical garden in England, at Oxford. He was also a renowned military commander, having fought in Ireland, the Southern Netherlands and France. Here, the Earl is seen wearing the attire of a Knight of the Order of the Garter, to which he was elevated in 1633. By his left temple is a black patch, which must cover a scar. The energetic, wilful gesture of the right hand is evidence of his decisiveness, whilst the left hand resting on the sword indicates his watchfulness, necessary to one of the King's inner circle. The elegant pose, the rich picturesqueness of the costume and the luxurious setting give the portrait a very official feel. Combining a true likeness of the sitter with a convincing impression of his character, this painting is also an important historical document.

Style: Baroque
Source of entry: Collection of Sir Robert Walpole, Houghton Hall, 1779
Exibition: Flemish Art: 17th century

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