Category Archives: Art

Hans Holbein the Younger (German, 1497-1543): Humanist Portraits in England, 1526 to 1528.

Featured Image: Self-Portrait, Hans Holbein the Younger, 1542/3, black and colored chalks, 23 x 18 cm, Florence, Galleria degli Uffizi. This is the only secure self portrait in the Holbein oeuvre.

Self portrait Hans Holbein
Self-portrait Hans Holbein The Younger, Oil on paper, mounted on oak, 16.5 x 14 cm, inscribed on the left and right of the head: H H; on the left above the shoulder: AN [N] O. 1554 / ETATIS SVE/45, Kunstmuseum Basel, donated by Prof. J.J. Bachofen-Burckhardt Foundation in 2015. While Lüdin was probably working from a graphic reproduction, the unknown painter of this picture, if not Holbein’s own drawing, surely had one of the copies made shortly after his death in the narrow workshop environment. This is one more Hans Holbein self-portrait based on the secure Florentine drawing.

Self portrait Holbein
Self-Portrait Hans Holbein, copy by Johannes Lüdin, c. 1647-1667, Oil on canvas, 61.5 x 47.5 cm, Kunstmuseum Basel. In fall 1526 twenty-nine-year-old Hans Holbein crossed the channel from Antwerp to England where the German immigrant’s first concerns were to find work, useful friends, and a place to stay. While Lüdin’s painting was given as a gift to a major art collector in Basel and probably based on a graphic model whose type proliferated after 1600, it is the drawing in the Uffizi (see Featured Image) that remains the only secure self-portrait image according to current Holbein scholarship.

Introduction by John P. Walsh

Hans Holbein the Younger was born in Augsburg, Germany, in 1497. After 1515, he lived and trained in Basel, Switzerland. Over two visits, one starting in 1526 and another in 1532, Holbein spent a total of thirteen years in Henry VIII’s England until the artist’s death in 1543. The focus for this post is Holbein’s first visit to England which lasted two years – specifically, from around September 1526 to mid-August 1528. His second, more permanent, visit to England started in 1532 (Holbein likely arrived in the spring) and lasting to his death, almost certainly from plague, in late 1543. It was during that second, longer visit in England that Holbein became the most important court artist in the time of Henry VIII. His first visit is characterized by the activity of a young immigrant German artist – Holbein was about 29 years in 1526 – getting established in a foreign land and developing a mastery of his craft.

Holbein arrived in England in late 1526 with a letter of introduction from Dutch humanist Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536) addressed to Sir Thomas More (1478-1535). This was not the first time Erasmus wrote to More asking him to temporarily lodge a friend.1 More would be appointed Lord Chancellor in 1529, but in 1526 Sir Thomas was the Speaker of the House of Commons and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. By 1526, Erasmus and More had been friends for more than a quarter century. They met during Erasmus’s first high-spirited stay in England in summer 1499. In that year, Erasmus was 33 years old and More twelve years his junior. Other major protagonists in this story – namely, Hans Holbein the Younger and the future King Henry VIII – were just children in 1499.2 While Erasmus began writing seriously on theological topics during his first English stay he also reveled in the gentle and happy personality of More. Part of More’s reception to Holbein in 1526 by way of Erasmus’s request may go back to the two old friends’ first meeting in England in 1499. After Erasmus had been encouraged by More to bring his money into England which More assured the relatively poor scholar would be safe, most of it was confiscated by English customs at Erasmus’ departure. This unpleasant shock not only left Erasmus with keen anger towards England for months afterwards—he never, however, blamed More (and one other English friend) for the misinformation—but left him lacking for money in Paris and elsewhere for several years thereafter.3 Similar to Holbein’s effort in 1526, Erasmus returned to England in 1505 to improve his fortunes by staying with his new friends, including Thomas More, and working to establish a network of influential English contacts. Erasmus emigrated in large part to access various English scholars as well as to counteract friends in the Netherlands who were mostly ignoring his work. It was by way of a new English contact that Erasmus in June 1506 ventured to Italy where he stayed for three years.4 Back in England on his third visit in 1509, Erasmus wrote his Praise of Folly, probably his most enduringly famous work, while living in the house of Thomas More. But writing and lecturing (at Cambridge) brought Erasmus little profit.5 It was only when the Archbishop of Canterbury, another English friend, gave him a stipend in 1512 that Erasmus was relieved of practical destitution. But the favored scholar would remain chronically in need of money and wrote more books to help fill the need. A scholar’s life in cold Britain, however, following three years in Italy’s southern climes, proved tiresome for Erasmus. He found his many months of writing and teaching at Cambridge to be like “a snail’s life, staying at home and plodding.”6 Erasmus was lonely; the plague was frequently about; and, for whatever his labors, he was making literally no money. Further, a state of war between England and France commenced in June 1513 which alarmed and depressed Erasmus, prompting him to publish his first anti-war writings and resolved to leave the island as soon as he could. He sailed for Antwerp in the summer of 1514.7

In 1526 when Erasmus wrote to More asking him to welcome German artist Han Holbein the Younger, both old friends had achieved literary fame in Europe. Thomas More’s Utopia appeared in Latin in 1516, edited by Erasmus and published in Louvain. During the first years of the Reformation, Erasmus remained More’s link to the Continent as they continued their amiable correspondence following Erasmus’ settling in Basel, Switzerland, in 1521. That city would be Erasmus’s dwelling place for the next eight years. Erasmus relied on More’s friendship in the 1520’s as the disputes of the Reformation intensified.8 In 1523 when Hans Holbein the Younger painted two portraits of Erasmus, the young German artist and the older Dutch humanist had been acquainted for some years. Before Holbein joined the workshop of Hans Herbst (c. 1470-1552) in 1516 or had been taken into the Basel painters’ guild in 1519, the teenage Holbein provided a pen and ink drawing for the Basel edition of Erasmus’s Praise of Folly in 1515 which apparently pleased the humanist. From 1519 to 1526 before his first visit to England, Holbein, now in his 20’s, was a whirlwind of artistic activity in Basel. His expressive drawings and paintings were a leading feature, but he demonstrated talent and skill in the many topical arts of his time, including printmaking, metal engraving, frescoes, and altarpieces.9

By 1523 Holbein desired to focus his talent on portrait painting.10 Basel’s most famous resident of Basel was certainly Erasmus. Before his relocation to the Swiss city, the writer and theologian had been famously embroiled in controversies swirling around German reformer Martin Luther (1482-1546). Erasmus came to Basel from Louvain to escape these difficulties and live in relative tranquility.11 In 1523 in Basel Holbein painted three portraits of Erasmus of Rotterdam. One exists today in Basel (in the Öffentliche Kunstsammlung), in Paris (Louvre) and in London (on loan from the Longford Castle collection to the National Gallery). The Reformation was, for the foreseeable future, taking its toll in terms of the visual and plastic arts. Erasmus described to More the state of the arts on the Continent, citing Basel in particular: “Here the arts freeze.”12

Historian David Starkey has called Holbein’s three-quarter profile portrait of Erasmus which was sent to the Archbishop of Canterbury William Warham (c.1450-1532) as a gift in 1524 as “the most important portrait in England”13 Starkey claims the painting is the beginning of portraiture itself when so-called “realism” was introduced into art. By way of Erasmus’s portrait to Warham, Thomas More learned of Holbein’s artwork up to two years prior to the young artist’s arrival in England. It is probable that like Erasmus before him, Holbein lodged in More’s house during his first English visit. Such accommodation provided practical hospitality to a friend’s friend on many levels including the fact that immigrant artists in England were disallowed from dwelling  within the city gates of London (More’s house was in nearby Chelsea). Further, More, as a rising political figure in England, became Holbein’s first patron and in that way could secure Holbein’s modern art portraiture for himself. Indeed, the major work of Holbein’s first stay in England between 1526 and 1528 is the portrait of the household of Thomas More as well as the famous portrait of Sir Thomas painted around the same time. In this first two-year period in England Holbein also set to work on a variety of artistic projects, but the portraits highlighted the stay.

Like his famed classicist sponsor Erasmus before him, Holbein came to England to improve his fortunes as an artist. Holbein had visited France in 1524 with the hope for a royal commission but was ignored.14 While English guild artists required Holbein’s exclusion from London proper, the time restriction on his stay was owed to the city of Basel. At the cost of losing his citizenship, Holbein was allowed no more than two-year’s absence from the Swiss city. On August 29, 1528, Holbein returned to Basel.15 This marked the end of Holbein’s first visit to England, but not before he had developed many new influential contacts and established his mastery of craft within the orbit of one of Europe’s most dynamic royal courts. Little more than three years later, in spring 1532, with his old friend Thomas More in the last throes of service as Lord Chancellor (More would almost immediately resign that year as dangerous political storms grew), Holbein returned to England. The Continent’s political and religious revolution was creeping across the channel for England’s own idiosyncratic reasons such that the English world Holbein visited in the 1520’s was rapidly declining. A revolutionary zeal was emerging, especially under Thomas Cromwell between 1535 and 1539, which would inspire new challenges for artistic accomplishment which Hans Holbein the Younger met and engaged throughout his second rewarding visit in England from 1532 to 1543.16

Holbein the Younger Erasmus 1523 LouvreHans Holbein the Younger: Portrait of Erasmus, 1523, oil on wood, 42 x 32 cm, Louvre, Paris.

Holbein Erasmus Hands 1523 LouvreOne of Holbein’s study drawings of Erasmus’s hands for the profile portraits, silverpoint and chalks, 1523. Louvre.

Holbein erasmusHans Holbein the Younger: Portrait of Erasmus, 1523, oil on wood, 73.6 x 51.4 cm, London, National Gallery. Erasmus gifted this portrait to the Archbishop of Canterbury in 1524. The humanist is shown in three-quarter profile wearing a fur collar overcoat seated behind a table with his hands on an inscribed book. Behind the classicist and theologian are painted symbolic elements of the sitter’s profession and achievements: a Renaissance pilaster, green curtain and shelf of books with glass bottle. David Starkey of the National Gallery called this portrait “arguably the most important portrait in England” where “portraiture actually begins.”

Holbein Erasmus 1523 BaselHans Holbein the Younger: Portrait of Erasmus, 1523, paper mounted on wood, 36.8 x 30.5 cm, Öffentliche Kunstsammlung, Basel. Closely related to the Louvre portrait, it is lightly smaller but offers the same strict profile of the sitter. The profile derives from an ancient classical pose signifying political or intellectual power. In this painting Erasmus’s writing can be discerned: it is the opening of a commentary on the gospel of St. Mark dedicated to the king of France. (Wolf, p. 39)

Hans Holbein the Younger in England, 1526 to 1528.

Holbein the Younger, Thomas More, 1527
Hans Holbein the Younger: Thomas More (1477-1535), 1527, oil on oak panel, 29.5 in x 23.7 in. (74.9 cm x 60.3 cm), Frick Collection, New York. More became Lord Chancellor in 1529 where thereafter the great humanist scholar, author, and statesman, who resigned in 1532, defied the Act of Supremacy of 1534 that made Henry VIII head of the Church in England and was beheaded on July 6, 1535 for high treason. The “S-S” chain of office More wears in Holbein’s painting is an emblem of service to the King. (Frick, p. 48) More’s execution, coming in quick succession to John Fisher’s two weeks earlier, grieved Erasmus in Basel. Later, Erasmus in a letter lamented More’s involvement in “that dangerous business” which should have been left to “the theologians,” and ignored More’s plea on behalf of his conscience. (Huizinga, p. 183).

Thomas More_Frick_1527_head

Thomas More, 1526/27
Hans Holbein the Younger: Thomas More, 1526/1527, black and colored chalks, 9.8 x 29.9 cm sheet of paper, outlines pricked for transfer. The inscription is a later addition (18th century). Royal Collection Windsor.

Thomas More 1526/27
Hans Holbein the Younger: Thomas More, black and colored chalks, and brown wash on paper, 37.6 x 25.5 cm. Royal Collection Windsor. More’s career included study at Oxford and becoming a lawyer. He became a MP in 1504, King’s Councillor in 1518, was knighted in 1521, and became Speaker of the House of Commons in 1523. More became Lord Chancellor of England in 1529, but practical politics proved outside More’s forte. He resigned the office in 1532 and was beheaded for high treason in 1535. Thomas More was Holbein’s first patron in England, the German artist to enjoy a happier fate as the preeminent painter in the court of Henry VIII starting in the 1530’s. (Ganz, pp. 231-232)

The Living Room of the Frick Collection. Thomas More against Olver Cromwell with El Greco's Saint Jerome in the middle.
Frick Collection, New York City. Holbein the Younger’s Thomas More (1527) and Thomas Cromwell (1533) with El Greco’s Saint Jerome (1610) above the fireplace.

Anne Lovell, 1528
Hans Holbein the Younger: Portrait of a Lady with a Squirrel and a Starling (Anne Lovell), 1528, oil on oak, 56 x 38.8 cm, National Gallery, London. Recent scholarship has produced interesting speculations as to the identity of this unknown woman who, in any case, was in Thomas More’s circle (Foister, p. 30; Ganz, p. 232).

Lady Alice More, 1527.
Hans Holbein the Younger: Alice Middleton, Lady More, 1527, Corsham Court (private collection) near Bath, England, oil and tempera on oak, 14 1/2 x 10 5/8 in. This is a color study for the large family picture. The color chalk study is missing. Alice was Thomas More’s second wife.

Preparatory drawing More Family 1526/27
Hans Holbein the Younger: Portrait of Thomas More with his family, 1527, pen and black ink on paper,  Öffentliche Kunstsammlung, Basel. This is the preparatory drawing for a group portrait of the family of Sir Thomas More that was the major work of Holbein’s first period in England. The finished painting, whether on canvas or wood or a mural, is missing and was probably destroyed. It is the first nondevotional or ceremonial group portrait made north of the Alps (Ganz, p. 276). This is the household into which Holbein had taken up residence during his first visit to England. Thomas More lived outside London in a country house with his second wife Alice, his father John, his son John and bride to be Anne, three married daughters, eleven grandchildren and a live-in relative (Margaret Giggs). From left is Elizabeth Dauncy, More’s second daughter; Margaret Giggs; More’s father; Thomas More’s future daughter-in-law, Anne Cresacre; Sir Thomas More; More’s son; court entertainer Henry Patenson; More’s youngest daughter, Cecily Heron; eldest daughter, Margaret Roper; and More’s second wife, Alice. The Latin inscriptions in brown ink of the sitters’ names and ages were added a by astronomer-in-residence Nikolaus Kratzer (whose portrait was painted by Holbein).

Elizabeth Dauncey 1526/27
Holbein’s preparatory drawing of Elizabeth Dauncey, middle daughter of Thomas More. In 1525 she married Sir William Dauncey who served Henry VIII and was a member of parliament. This drawing’s later inscription (not by Nikolaus Kratzer) is inaccurate in its identification. (see –

Margaret Giggs by Hans Holbein the Younger.jpgMargaret Giggs Clement was Thomas More’s foster daughter. In 1526 she married John Clement, a court physician. Margaret eventually had eleven children and died in exile in the Netherlands in 1570. While the extant More family group drawing by Holbein shows Margaret leaning towards John More, this drawing may actually have served as the now-lost or destroyed painting’s final study. The exact meaning of the inscription “Mother Iak” is unknown. Royal Collection, Windsor.

Anne Cresacre , 1526/27.
Hans Holbein the Younger: Anne Cresacre (c.1511-1577), for the More family portrait. Royal Collection, Windsor.

Cecily Heron 1526/27
Hans Holbein the Younger: Cecily Heron (b, 1506 or 1507), youngest daughter of Sir Thomas More. She was married to Giles Heron, a Member of Parliament who was hanged for treason in 1540. Royal Collection, Windsor.

john more 1526
Hans Holbein the Younger: Sir John More (c.1451 – 1530), black and colored chalks, 35.1 x 27.3 cm. Thomas More’s father was a respected judge and described by a biographer as “very virtuous” and “merry.” Royal Collection, Windsor.

(Below) Hans Holbein the Younger: John More, black and colored chalks, 38.1 x 28.1 cm. Thomas More’s son. Royal Collection, Windsor.

john more son 1527

Sir Henry Guildford, 1527.
Hans Holbein the Younger: Sir Henry Guildford (1478-1532), Controller of the Royal Household, inscribed and dated, 1527, oil and tempera on wood, 32 1/8 x 26 in. (82.6 x 66.4 cm), Royal Collection, Windsor. Wearing the collar of the garter for his military service – which was the occasion for the portrait – Guildford, a physical giant of a man, holds the wand of office as Comptroller of the King’s Household. Sir Henry stands against a deep blue background, decorated with the twisting vine found in several Holbein portraits. Above the sitter’s head is a curtain rail, from which hangs a rich green curtain. This detail has lost context in the separation of the portrait from its companion, that of Guildford’s wife Mary.

Sir Henry Guildford (1489-1532)
Sir Henry Guildford, Black and colored chalks, and pen and ink on paper, 38.3 x 29.4 cm. The drawing is a study for the painted portrait. Sir Henry was one of Henry VIII’s closest friends and an early patron of Holbein.

Royal Collection, Windsor.

Mary Wotton, Lady Guildford 1527
Hans Holbein the Younger: Mary Wotton, Lady Guildford, inscribed and dated, 1527, tempera and oil on oak, 34 1/4 x 27 13/16 in.( 87 × 70.6 cm), St. Louis Art Museum. Mary was Sir Henry Guildford’s second wife. They married in 1525. She holds a devotional book.

Mary,_Lady_Guildford,_drawing_by_Hans_Holbein_the_YoungerMary Wotton, Lady Guildford, 1527, black and colored chalk on paper, 55.2 x 38.5 cm, Kunstmuseum Basel, Kupferstichkabinett. A study from life for the painted portrait. In the portrait Holbein muted the sitter’s overall playful expression and smile. Mary outlived Sir Henry to marry again.

William Warham, 1527
Hans Holbein the Younger: William Warham (1456-1532), Archbishop of Canterbury (first version), 1527, Oil and tempera on wood, 30 in x 25.75 in., Lambeth Palace, London.

William Warham, Archbishop of Canterbury, 1527
Hans Holbein the Younger: William Warham, Archbishop of Canterbury (second version)1527, Tempera on wood, 32.3 in x 26.4 in. (82 cm x 67 cm), Musée du Louvre, Paris. Both versions include the episcopal crucifix of gold and jewels with Warham’s coat-of-arms and his motto, prayer books and the Archbishop’s jeweled miter. Warham had this “original replica” painted to reciprocate for a portrait of Erasmus he received. The color is richer in the replica. The brown curtain is replaced with a green one. A later copy of this painting resides in the National Portrait Gallery in London.

William Warham Archbishop Canterbury drawing by Hans Holbein the Younger
Hans Holbein the Younger: William Warham, Archbishop of Canterbury, 1527.  Colored chalk on paper, 40.1 x 31 cm, The Royal Collection, Windsor.  This is the preparatory drawing for the Louvre portrait. The sitter had been in his position since 1504 and remained there until his death in 1532. The similarities between the Holbein portrait of Erasmus (1523) and that of Warham (1527) are striking for their compositional elements and the conveyance of each sitter’s function by way of iconographical symbols so that these forms are a portrait template.

Holbein erasmus  William Warham, Archbishop of Canterbury, 1527Nikolaus Kratzer, 1528Hans Holbein the Younger: Portrait of Nikolaus Kratzer (1487-1550), 1528, Tempera on oak, 83 x 67 cm, Musée du Louvre, Paris. The sitter was born in Munich and studied in Cologne and Wittenberg. With an appointment as professor to Corpus Christi College in Oxford, Kratzer relocated to England. As a humanist, he became friends with Thomas More and his family and, starting in 1519, served as an astronomer to Henry VIII’s court. The painting, created during Holbein’s first stay in England, continues to exemplify Holbein’s lively style of illustrating a sitter’s career. Kratzer was a maker of mathematical and geometrical instruments and is shown in practical involvement with these tools. Compared with the Guildford portraits of the year before, Holbein expresses a new subtlety of lighting and refined range of tones.

Sir Thomas Godsalve and His SonHans Holbein the Younger: Double Portrait of Sir Thomas Godsalve and His Son John, 1528, Resin tempera on oak, 35 x 36 cm, Gemäldegalerie, Dresden. Thomas Godsalve (1481-1542) was a notary from Norfolk.  Holbein cleverly shows him writing his name and age on a sheet of paper. By 1528, the Godsalves were among London’s most wealthy and politically influential men. (Wolf, p. 51) His son John (1510-1556) later had a double portrait of himself and his wife painted by Holbein.

Sir Henry Wyatt, c, 1528
Hans Holbein the Younger: Sir Henry Wyatt of Allington Castle, c. 1528?, oil on oak, 15.4 × 12.2 in. (39 × 31 cm), Musée du Louvre, Paris. Sir Henry Wyatt served in the court of Henry VII and Henry VIII and a member of the latter’s Privy Council. Sir Henry was part of the circle of Thomas More. N.B. This portrait, once thought to have been painted during Holbein’s first visit to England from 1526 to 1528, is today believed to have been painted towards the end of Sir Henry’s life.

Sir Brian Tuke c. 1527/1528 or c. 1532/1534
Hans Holbein the Younger: Sir Bryan Tuke, c. 1527/1528 or c. 1532/1534, oil on wood, 49 x 39 cm, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. The sitter is about 57 years old. The date of the painting is unknown and its conjecture is based on its style although that leads to at least two possibilities. The physical mass of the body and the sitter’s expression suggest Holbein’s last year in England (mid 1528) although the painting’s other features (notably its horizontal lines of text) suggest the painting was made after Holbein’s return to London in 1532.  There are further later additions after that. The subject, Bryan Tuke (1470-1545), was, starting in 1509, Clerk of the Signet and then Cardinal Wolsey’s secretary. By 1528 Sir Bryan was Treasurer of the Royal Household and secretary to the king for French affairs, a post he held until his death in 1545. There exist several versions of this portrait.

St. Thomas 1527Hans Holbein the Younger: St. Thomas, 1527, Pen and black ink, brush and gray wash, heightened with white gouache, 8 1/16 x 4 1/8 in. (20.4 x 10.5 cm). Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.  Holbein produced a diversity of art in England, including design and decorative works (at Greenwich), book illuminations, and sacred art.  St. Thomas is part of a series of apostles of which nine are known. The ultimate application of these drawings is not known and even may have reached their final form in these studies. (Foister, p. 128)

noli me tangere
Hans Holbein the Younger: Noli Me Tangere, 1526-1528?, Oil on oak panel, 76.7 x 95.8 cm, Royal Collection Windsor. Holbein paints the gospel narrative of Mary Magdalen meeting Jesus Christ at his resurrection, with angels illuminating the tomb and night breaking for dawn. Between the major figures, a rushing Peter and John in the background are discussing matters.  Royal Collection, Windsor.

Sir Nicholas Carew
Hans Holbein the Younger: Sir Nicholas Carew, 1527, black and colored chalk sheet: 54.8 x 38.5 cm, Kunstmuseum Basel, Kupferstichkabinett, Amerbach-Cabinet. Sir Nicholas was Henry VIII’s Master of the Horse until he was implicated in one of the various popular uprisings against the same king’s religious policies in the mid-1530’s, and summarily executed in 1539. (Foister, p.121)Portrait of an Unknown Englishman 1527Hans Holbein the Younger: Portrait of an Unknown Englishman, 1527, black and colored chalk and leadpoint on prepared paper; outlines traced blind, 38.9 x 27.7 cm,  Kunstmuseum Basel, Kupferstichkabinett.

Portrait of an Unknown Englishwoman 1527Hans Holbein the Younger: Portrait of an Unknown Englishwoman, 1527, black and colored chalk and leadpoint on prepared paper; outlines traced blind, 38.9 x 27.7 cm,  Kunstmuseum Basel, Kupferstichkabinett. These two drawings were prepared for transfer to panels for painting portraits, neither of which survive.

FOOTNOTES (Introduction).

  1. Erasmus and the Age of Reformation, Johan Huizinga, Harper & Brothers, New York, reprint 1957, p. 223.
  2. Huizinga, p. 29.
  3. Huizinga, pp. 35-36.
  4. Huizinga, p. 58.
  5. Huizinga, pp. 79-81.
  6. Huizinga, p. 83.
  7. Huizinga, p. 85.
  8. Huizinga, p. 87.
  9. Hans Holbein The Younger: The German Raphael, Norbert Wolf, Taschen, Cologne, Germany, 2006, p. 28.
  10. Wolf, p. 38.
  11. Huizinga, p. 161.
  12. Wolf, p. 45.
  13. See podcast –
  14. Wolf, p. 39.
  15. Holbein in England, Susan Foister, Tate Publishing, London, 2006, p. 13.
  16.  An Advanced History of Great Britain: From the Earliest Times To the Death of Edward VII, T.F. Tout, M.A., Longmans, Green, and Co, New York, London, Bombay and Calcutta, 1913, p.342.

An Advanced History of Great Britain: From the Earliest Times To the Death of Edward VII, T.F. Tout, M.A., Longmans, Green, and Co, New York, London, Bombay and Calcutta, 1913.
Erasmus and the Age of Reformation, Johan Huizinga, Harper & Brothers, New York, reprint 1957.
Five centuries of British painting: from Holbein to Hodgkin, Andrew Wilton, London: Thames & Hudson, 2001.
Holbein in England, Susan Foister, Tate Publishing, London, 2006.
Hans Holbein The Younger: The German Raphael, Norbert Wolf, Taschen, Cologne, Germany, 2006.
The Frick Collection /A Tour, Edgar Munhall,, The Frick Collection, New York, 1999.
The Paintings of Hans Holbein: First Complete Edition, Paul Ganz, Phaidon, London, 1950.

LINKS: – retrieved February 26, 2018

Hans Holbein the Younger: ‘A man very excellent in taking of physionamies’ (sic) – Dr Susan Foister – – retrieved February 26, 2018. – retrieved February 26, 2018.

©John P. Walsh. All rights reserved. No part of this material may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, which includes but is not limited to facsimile transmission, photocopying, recording, rekeying, or using any information storage or retrieval system.

EXPO Chicago 2016, 22-25 September. International Exposition of Contemporary & Modern Art. (42 Photos).

Photographs and text by John P. Walsh.

Expo Chicago/2016 is the 5th annual exhibition of international contemporary and modern art held in Chicago at Navy Pier’s Festival Hall. It took place from September 22 to September 25, 2016. Expo Chicago/2016 presented 145 galleries representing 22 countries and 53 cities from around the world. In alphabetical order, countries represented included Argentina, Austria, Belgium, China, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Korea, Lebanon, Mexico, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Netherlands, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States and Uruguay.

This post’s 42 photographs are of that event.

Jeff Koons' 17th Art Car.

Jeff Koons, BMW M3 GT2, Expo Chicago/2016.

Alfredo Jaar, Be Afraid of the Enormity of the Possible, 2015 neon edition GALERIE THOMAS SCHULTE DSC_0742 (1)

Alfredo Jaar, Be Afraid of the Enormity of the Possible, 2015, neon, edition 3/3 + 3AP, Galerie Thomas Schulte, Berlin, Germany. Expo Chicago/2016.

At Dittrich & Schlechtriem, Berlin (resized).

At Dittrich & Schlechtriem, Berlin, Germany includes artwork by Klaus Jörres and Julian Charrière. Expo Chicago/2016.

At Cernuda Arte Coral Gables FL. (resize)

At Cernuda Arte Coral Gables, FL. Manuel Mendive (foreground) Este Lugar Sagrado/This Sacred Place, 2009, acrylic on canvas. Expo Chicago/2016.

Art+Language Made in Zurich 1965-1972, London.

Paintings I, Art+Language, Made in Zurich 1965-1972, London. Expo Chicago/2016.

Michael Baldwin and Mel Ramsden.
The Art + Language group’s Michael Baldwin and Mel Ramsden in Chicago. Founded in the mid1960s in the United Kingdom by Terry Atkinson (b. 1939), David Bainbridge (b. 1941), Michael Baldwin (b. 1945) and Harold Hurrell (b. 1940), artist Mel Ramsden joined in 1970. Throughout the 1970s Art + Language dealt with questions about art production and attempted a shift from conventional forms of art, such as painting and sculpture, to theoretically linguistic (text)-based artwork. Art + Language remains active today in several collaborative projects. 
At Galerie Thomas Schulte (resize).

Jonathan Lasker, The Handicapper’s Faith, 2011, Galerie Thomas Schulte, Berlin, Germany. Expo Chicago/2016.

Gallery MOMO, South Africa (resize).

At Gallery MOMO Cape Town/Johannesburg, South Africa. Artwork by Mary Sibande. Expo Chicago/2016.


Dialogues programs. Expo Chicago/2016.

Margot Bergman, Agnes, 2016.

Margot Bergman, Agnes, acrylic on canvas, 2016, Corbett vs. Dempsey. Expo Chicago/2016.

Shannon Finley, Googol, 2015.

Shannon Finley, Googol, 2015, acrylic on linen, 4 panels 95 x 189 in., Carrie Secrist Gallery, Chicago. Expo Chicago/2016.


Euan Uglow, Sue Wearing a Blue Swimming Cap, 1978/80, oil on canvas 19.5 x 27.5 in., Browse & Darby London. Expo Chicago/2016.

Deborah Butterfield, Hala, 2016.

Deborah Butterfield, Hala, 2016, cast bronze with patina, Zolla Lieberman Gallery Inc., Chicago. Expo Chicago/2016.

at Álvaro Alcázar Gallery, Madrid (resize).

At Álvaro Alcázar Gallery, Madrid. Art of Juan Garaizabal. Expo Chicago/2016.

April Martin, The Sun had not yet Risen, 2016.

April Martin, The Sun had not yet Risen, 2016, copper, thread, glass, vinegar, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Expo Chicago/2016.

Hermann Nitsch, Schüttbild (Shaped Image), 2013.

Hermann Nitsch, Schüttbild (Shaped Image), 2013, Acrylic on Canvas, Marc Straus Gallery, New York City.

Dialogue with Miguel Aguilar and Chris Silva.

Dialogue with Miguel Aguilar and Chris Silva, Conversation Pieces. Expo Chicago/2016.

Pace Gallery, New York City. (resize)

At Pace Gallery, New York City. Expo Chicago/2016.

Louise Bourgeois, Girl with hair, 2007. (resize)

Louise Bourgeois, Girl with hair, 2007, archival dye on silk, edition of 12, Carolina Nitsch, New York City. Expo Chicago/2016.

Carolina Nitsch labels.

Labels, Carolina Nitsch, New York. Expo Chicago/2016.

Genieve Figgis, Half Gallery, NYC (resize)

Genieve Figgis, Half Gallery, New York City. Genieve Figgis is an artist from Ireland who began her artistic career on social media. Expo Chicago/2016.

Buddha's tight ringlet curls by Qi Yu.

Buddha’s tight ringlet curls by Qi Yu. Ceramic cinnabar mineral mounted on canvas. Expo Chicago/2016.

Qi Yu, Beijing, China.

Artist Qi Yu of Redbrick Art Museum, Beijing, China.

North Cafe.

Coffee break, North Cafe. Expo Chicago/2016.

Art Catalogs. (resize).

Art Catalogs. Expo Chicago/2016.

Amy Sherald, Monique Meloche Gallery.

Amy Sherald, Listen, you a wonder. you a city of a woman. you got a geography of your own., 54 x 43 in., oil on canvas, 2016, Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago. Sherald’s painting title quotes American poet Lucille Clifton (1936-2010) – “listen, you a wonder. you a city of a woman. you got a geography of your own. listen, somebody need a map to understand you. somebody need directions to move around you. listen, woman, you not a noplace anonymous girl; mister with his hands on you he got his hands on some damn body!” Expo Chicago/2016.

Sandro Miller, American Bikers 1990-1995.

Sandro Miller, American Bikers 1990-1995, Catherine Edleman Gallery, Chicago. Expo Chicago/2016.

Bettina Pousttchi, Rotunda, 2016.

Bettina Pousttchi, Rotunda, 2016, photographic print on textile, 25′ diameter, Buchmann Galerie, Berlin/Lugano. Expo Chicago/2016.

Raffi Kalenderian, Sekula Benner Street, 2016.

Raffi Kalenderian, Sekula Benner Street, 2016, oil on canvas, Buchmann Galerie Berlin/Lugano. Expo Chicago/2016.

Kate Werble  Ernesto Burgos (resize).

Artwork of Ernesto Burgos, Kate Werble Gallery, New York City. Expo Chicago/2016.

Sims Reed Gallery London (resize)

At Sims Reed Gallery London. Expo Chicago/2016.

Ann Agee, Negishi Heights 1957, 2015, (resize)

Ann Agee, Negishi Heights 1957, 2015, acrylic on Thai Mulberry paper, P.P.O.W. Gallery, New York City. Expo Chicago/2016.

At the Expo.

At the Expo. Expo Chicago/2016.

Artistic performance. (resize)

Artistic performance outside Zwirner Gallery, New York City. Behind: Raymond Pettibon, No Title (Manhattan rising, advancing—), 2010, ink and acrylic on paper, 59 x 118 inches. Expo Chicago/2016.

Mel Bochner and Aloyson Shotz.

Mel Bochner, Blah Blah Blah, 2016 and Aloyson Shotz, Flow Fold #3, 2015, Carolina Nitsch Gallery, New York City. Expo Chicago/2016.

Alicja Kwade, Hypotheisches  Gebilde, 2016 (resize)

Alicja Kwade, Hypotheisches Gebilde, 2016, König Galerie Berlin, Germany. Expo Chicago/2016.

Bernar Venet, Indeterminate Line, 2013.

Bernar Venet, Indeterminate Line, 2013, rolled steel, 75 1/2 × 80 × 62 in. Paul Kasmin Gallery, New York City. Expo Chicago/2016.

Richard Norton Gallery (resize)

Richard Norton Gallery.

Jannis Varelas, New Flags for a new country, (resize)

Jannis Varelas, New Flags for a New Country, The Breeder, Athens, Greece. Expo Chicago/2016.

#40 resize 65 65 35 35 FINAL NEWEST FSB 6.25.17 FNB KG DSC_0488

Rodney McMillian, Carpet Painting (Bedroom and TV Room), 2012, carpet and ink, Maccarone, New York City. Expo Chicago/2016.

Lucia Gonzalez Botello, Portrait #3, 2015 (resize)

Lucia Gonzalez Botello, Portrait #3, 2015, oil on canvas, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Expo Chicago/2016.

Expo's end.

End of the day. Expo Chicago/2016.

©John P. Walsh. All rights reserved. No part of this material may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by an means, electronic  or mechanical, which includes but is not limited to facsimile transmission, photocopying, recording, rekeying, or using any information storage or retrieval system.


Marcus Gheeraerts II, a complete collection of his signed, dated, documented and inscribed works, featuring his Captain Thomas Lee in Irish Dress, oil on canvas, 1594, in Tate Britain. (33 paintings).

Text and captions by John P. Walsh.

Captain Thomas Lee (c.1551-1601) had his portrait painted by 33-year-old Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger (Bruges, 1561-1636) in London in 1594. Captain Lee was 43 years old and had worked as a military adventurer for English colonization in Ireland since the early 1570s. The young artist was the son of Gheeraerts the Elder, a painter and printmaker associated with the Tudor court starting in the late 1560s and into the 1570s. Fleeing religious persecution in Flanders, Gheeraerts the Elder (c. 1520 – c. 1590) arrived into England with his 7-year-old son Marcus in 1568. By 1594, when the portrait of Captain Lee was made, Gheeraerts the Younger was already a rising young contemporary artist working in Elizabeth I’s Tudor court (Gheeraerts the Elder had likely returned to Flanders in 1577). Sir Roy Strong, the English art historian who served as director of both the National Portrait Gallery and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London is unequivocal about Gheeraerts the Younger’s artistic importance to English art history when he wrote that Gheeraerts is “the most important artist of quality to work in England in large-scale between (Hans) Eworth (c. 1520 – 1574) and (Anthony) van Dyck (1599-1641).”1 In addition to a discussion of the featured early painting of Captain Lee, a complete collection of Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger’s 33 signed and dated works, documented and dated works, inscribed and dated works, and inscribed and undated works is included in this post following this introduction.

At 22 years old in 1583, Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger’s world in and around London was ideally enclosed by marriage to the sister of talented Tudor court painter John De Critz (c.1555-c.1641). De Critz, like his new brother-in-law Gheeraerts the Younger, was a child expatriate from Flanders to England in 1568.2 In 1571 Gheeraerts the Elder had married his son’s future wife’s sister, making father and son Gheeraerts also eventually brothers-in law.3 Over two decades later, in 1602, Gheeraerts the Younger’s sister married the court artist Isaac Oliver (c.1565-1617).4 This was typical social behavior at the Tudor court where many active artists were connected by ties of marriage, family, and artistic training as well as shared European origin. In Gheeraerts the Younger’s circle, for instance, John De Critz was apprenticed to the wealthy portrait painter Lucas de Heere (1534-1584) who may also have helped train Gheeraerts the Younger.  De Heere – like Gheeraerts the Younger and De Critz – was a religious refugee to England from Flanders. Isaac Oliver, Gheeraerts the Younger’s other brother-in-law, studied under leading Tudor portrait miniaturist and goldsmith Nicholas Hilliard (c.1547-1619) 5 Roy Strong links Hilliard to Gheeraerts by way of the supreme artistic quality found in both of these contrasting artists’ masterpieces.6 One remarkable technical innovation that the young artist applied in his portraits was the use of stretched canvas in place of wood panel that allowed for larger and lighter surface areas on which to paint and more easily transport pictures of the grand gentlemen and ladies of the time.

By way of marriage to an Irish Catholic woman, Captain Thomas Lee became a man of considerable property in Ireland but had separated from his wife by the time of this portrait. The next year – in 1595 – Lee remarried an Englishwoman. Over the decades, Captain Lee’s military reputation became one of an enfant terrible which did not mellow over time. Rather it would be powerful friends who looked to explain Thomas’s frequent reckless political and military behavior as a justifiable occupational hazard of the longtime soldier in Ireland. Lee posed for Gheeraerts when the captain was straight off the battlefield from Ulster chieftain Aodh Mag Uidhir (Hugh Maguire, d. 1600) and in London for delicate negotiations. To presumably express Thomas’s faithful service to the Crown, the portrait includes a Latin inscription in the tree that refers to Mucius Scaevola (c. 500 BC), an ancient perhaps mythical Roman fighter who remained loyal to Rome even after he was captured by mortal enemies.  Thomas was related to Sir Henry Lee – they were paternal half cousins. Sir Henry up until his recent retirement in 1590 (though still active and influential in political affairs) was Elizabeth I’s Champion for nearly a quarter of a century and the creator of the stunning imagery included in her publicly-popular Accession Day festivals that Sir Henry annually planned. Along with Gheerearts the Younger’s Elizabethan allegorical portrait Lady in Fancy Dress (The Persian Lady) (#30 below) as well as the Ditchley portrait of Queen Elizabeth I (#31 below)both painted in the early 1590s, Henry may have helped devise the symbolism in Captain Lee’s portrait which also came from Ditchley – Sir Henry Lee’s timber-framed family house set in north Oxfordshire wooded farmland– around that same time. While the painting’s landscape where Captain Lee stands is likely a representation of Ireland’s wild landscape, Henry Lee’s symbolism may provide other more subtle and humorous features. Troublesome Thomas, for example, stands under an oak, which may refer to Sir Henry’s political protection but also that these trees are prone to dangerous lightning strikes. The final seven years of Captain Thomas Lee’s life iterated this legendary standard: at times negotiating with or killing Irish enemies he also served time in prison in Ireland on a charge of treason. Ultimately, Sir Henry could not save his familial junior – Thomas faced execution in England for treason against Elizabeth I in 1601.

English power became increasingly absolute in 17th century Ireland.  In the 1590’s, the Protestant Ascendancy in Ireland believed turning their backs on the mostly Catholic natives was the most effective governing strategy. While an oath of allegiance to the Crown remained law to divest Irish rebels of their property to English rule, it was not vigorously applied until the arrival in 1604 into Ireland of Lord Deputy Arthur Chichester (1563-1625) and thereafter. The 1590’s continued to implement England’s new plantation system in Ireland which amounted to confiscating Irish property for English and Scottish settlers. While this provided quick and lucrative rewards for the conquerors, the political situation was not free of ambiguity. English laws were attacked by Irish chiefs seeking protection under older common law. Protestant settlers had their own uneasy relationship with the English Crown who, in turn, fought a tug of war with an English Parliament. About half of settlers in Ulster were Presbyterians who were dissenters from the English church at war with Anglo- and Gaelic Irish Catholics. Moreover, London viewed new Protestant landowners in Ireland – such as Captain Thomas Lee – with as much, if not more, suspicion as despoiled Catholics. The Crown believed that the new Protestant vanguard in Ireland had the power to usurp the island’s treasure more readily than pillaged Catholics who could, ironically perhaps, be better disposed to the idea of royal governance.7

While Thomas Lee’s special status is expressed in the painting’s lace embroidery on his rolled-up shirt and inlaid pistol and Northern Italian-made helmet, the Captain is dressed as a common foot-soldier who traveled through Ireland barelegged (which in itself is humorous and serious) and lightly armed. Sir Henry must have been one of Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger’s earliest patrons, as the Ditchley collection had several portraits which can be ascribed to him.8


  1. Strong, Roy, The English Icon: Elizabethan & Jacobean Portraiture, The Paul Mellon Foundation for British Art London Routledge and Kegan Paul Limited New Haven Yale University Press, 1969, p.22.
  2. Ibid. p.259.
  3. Hearn, Karen, Marcus Gheeraerts II: Elizabethan Artist, In Focus (Tate Publishing), 2003, p. 11ff.
  4. Strong, p.269.
  5. Hearn, p.130.
  6. Strong, p.23.
  7. See Roger Chauviré, A Short History of Ireland, New American Library, 1965; T.W. Moody & F.X. Martin, editors, The Course of Irish History, Mercier Press, Cork, 1978; – retrieved May 28, 2017.
  8. The Captain Thomas Lee portrait was first recorded at Ditchley by Vertue in 1725 who noted there a portrait of ‘Lee in Highlanders Habit leggs naked a target & head piece on his left hand his right a spear or pike. Ætatis suae.43.ano.Dni 1594’.


Louis Frederick, Duke of Württemberg, 1608.

1. Marcus Gheeraerts The Younger, Louis Frederick, Duke of Württemberg, 1608, oil on canvas, 225.1 x 113.1 cm, St James Palace. Probably painted for James I though first recorded in Charles II’s collection. (Strong 255, The English Icon). Gheeraerts II painted portraits of several foreign dignitaries on their visits to the English court. Louis Frederick, Duke of Württemberg visited James I in London for three months in the latter part of 1608 and likely the artist produced this work at that time.

Gheeraerts the Younger Wm Camden 1609
2. Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, William Camden, 1609, oil of panel,, 76.2.x 58.5 cm, Bodleian Library, Oxford. Given to the Schools by Camden Professor (1622-1647) Degory Whear. (Strong 256).
Gheeraerts the Younger, Lucy Davis. 1623. Private collection.
3. Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Lucy Davis, Countess of Huntingdon, 1623, oil on panel, 76.8 x 62.3 cm, Private Collection. (Strong 257).
Marcus_Gheeraerts_the_Younger_William_Pope,_1st_Earl_of_Downe, 1624
4. Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, William Pope, 1st Earl of Downe, 1624, oil on panel, 62.3.x 47.1 cm, Trinity College, University of Oxford. It was presented to Trinity College in 1813 by Henry Kett. (Strong 258).
Gheeraerts the Younger, Elizabeth Cherry, Lady Russell, 1625.
5. Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Elizabeth Cherry, Lady Russell, 1625, oil on canvas, 194.5 x 105.6 cm, The Duke of Bedford. This painting has been at Woburn Abbey since 1625. (Strong 259).
Gheeraerts the Younger Sir William Russell, 1625
6. Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Sir William Russell, 1625, oil on canvas, 195.6 x 111.8 cm, The Duke of Bedford. Always at Woburn Abbey. (Strong 260).
Gheeraerts the Younger, Richard Tomlins, 1628.
7. Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Richard Tomlins, 1628, oil on panel, 111.8 x 83.9 cm. The Bodleian Library, Oxford. It was in the Library in 1759. (Strong 261).
8. Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Anne Hale, Mrs. Hoskins, 1629, oil on panel, 111.8 x 82.7 cm. Jack Hoskins Master, Esq. The painting remains in the family. (Strong 262). 


Gheeraerts_Barbara_Gamage_with_Six_Children 1596
9. Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Barbara Gamage, Countess of Leicester, and her children, 1596, oil on canvas, 203.2 x 260.3 cm, The Viscount De L’Isle. Always at Penshurst Place near Tonbridge, Kent, 32 miles southeast of London; first recorded 1623. (Strong 263).
10. Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, William, 2nd Lord Petre, 1599, oil on panel. 111.8 x The Lord Petre; custody of the Essex County Record Office. (Strong 264).
Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Katherine Somerset, Lady Petre, 1599.
11. Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Katherine Somerset, Lady Petre, 1599, oil on panel, 111.8 x 90.2 cm. The Lord Petre. Always at Ingatestone Hall, the 16th century manor of the Barons Petre in Essex, England. Queen Elizabeth I spent several nights there in 1561. (Strong 265).


# 12 800px-Marcus_Gheeraerts_II_-_Portrait_of_Mary_Rogers,_Lady_Harington_-_Google_Art_Project
12. Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Unknown Lady (Mary Rogers, Lady Harington), 1593, oil on panel, 114.3 x 94 cm, Tate (purchased 1974). The identity for the sitter is speculative, although her age (23 years old) is inscribed. It is one of the earliest known portraits by Gheeraerts. (Strong 266).
Unknown Lady (Mary Rogers, Lady Harington), 1593

12a. Detail, Unknown Lady (Mary Rogers, Lady Harington), 1593. The sitter is identified in part by the clothes she wears: the distinctive black and white pattern on her dress heralds the Harington coat of arms. The sitter is 23 years old and her portrait may have been painted in connection with a visit to Kelston (The Harington homestead) in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth. The Latin inscription in the painting reads, “I may neither make nor break” a dramatic phrase whose meaning is no longer clear.

Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Captain Thomas Lee in Irish Dress, 1594.
13. Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Captain Thomas Lee in Irish Dress, oil on canvas, 1594 (purchased 1980), Tate Britain. (Strong 267).
Captain Thomas Lee in Irish Dress, 1594.

13a. Detail, Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Captain Thomas Lee in Irish Dress, oil on canvas, 1594, Tate Britain.

si francis drake 001 FIXED
14. Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Sir Francis Drake, 1594, oil on canvas, 137.1 x 114.3 cm, private collection. Knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 1581, Sir Francis Drake, vice admiral (c. 1540 – 1596), circumnavigated the globe in a single expedition between 1577 and 1580. Drake was second-in-command of the English fleet against the Spanish Armada in 1588. Though he opened up the Pacific Ocean to European trade, Drake’s seafaring career ended in his mid-fifties when he died of dysentery following a failed attack on Spain’s Puerto Rico in 1596.  (Strong 268).
Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Unknown Man, 1599.
15. Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Unknown Man (Called the Earl of Southampton), 1599, location unknown. (Strong 269).
Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Unknown Lady, 1600.
16. Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Unknown Lady, 1600, oil on panel, The Lord Talbot de Malhide. (Strong 270).
Sir Henry Lee by Marcus Gheeraerts Tate Britain, 1600
17. Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Sir Henry Lee, oil on canvas, 1600, private collection on loan since 2008 to Tate Britain. Sir Henry Lee (1533–1611) was a Tudor Court favorite under Elizabeth I, appointed as Queen’s Champion and Master of the Armoury. Sir Henry organised the annual public Accession Day festivals in honor of the queen and commissioned the famous Ditchley portrait of Elizabeth I by Gheeraerts for his house at Ditchley in Oxfordshire. In 1597 he was made a Knight of the Garter and in the painting wears that order’s gold chain and bejeweled medal of St George slaying the dragon. (Strong 271).
Sir Henry Lee in Garter Robes, 1602.

18. Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Sir Henry Lee in Garter Robes, 1602, oil on canvas, 216.2 x 137.2 cm. Always at Ditchley until 1933. Today at The Armourers & Brasiers’ Company of the City of London. Founded in 1322, the livery company was awarded its first Royal Charter in 1453 from King Henry VI. In 1708 the Armourers joined with the Brasiers and received its current charter from Queen Anne. (Strong 272).

Sir Henry Lee in Garter Robes, 1602 (detail).

18a. Detail, Sir Henry Lee in Garter Robes, 1602. One of Gheeraerts II’s finest portraits, Sir Henry Lee is a former man of action, whose old head is remarkably shrewd.

Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Christophe de Harlay, Comte de Beaumont, 1605.
19. Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Christophe de Harlay, Comte de Beaumont, 1605, oil on canvas, The Marquess of Salibury. The Comte de Beaumont was the French ambassador to England at a time when the Kings of England and France were looking in their own ways for a diplomatic solution to the religious controversies in Europe. The painting was made for Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury, a politician who had won James I’s trust. (Strong 273).
Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Alexander Seton 1st Earl of Dunfermline, 1606.
20. Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Alexander Seton 1st Earl of Dunfermline, 1606. Alexander Seton, 1st Earl of Dunfermline (1555–1622), a Scot, was regarded as one of the finest legal minds of his time. Seton served as Lord President of the Court of Session (top judge) from 1593 to 1604, Lord Chancellor of Scotland (top presiding officer of state) from 1604 to 1622 and Lord High Commissioner to the Scottish Parliament. (Strong 274).
Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Anne of Denmark, 1614
21. Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Anne of Denmark, 1614, oil on panel, 109.4 x 87.3 cm, Windsor Castle. Anne married a future James I of England in 1589 at age 15. The Queen consort bore James three children who survived infancy, including the future Charles I (reigned 1625-1649). Once fascinated with his bride, observers regularly noted incidents of marital discord between the dour and ambitious James and his independent and self-indulgent wife. Before she died in 1619 the royal couple led mainly separate lives. (Strong 275).
Gheeraerts the Younger, Ulrik, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein, 1614.
22. Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Ulrik, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein, 1614, oil on canvas, 211.2 x 114.3 cm, The Duke of Bedford. Prince Ulrik of Denmark, (1578 – 1624) was the second son of King Frederick II of Denmark and his consort, Sophie of Mecklenburg-Güstrow. As second-born Ulrick bore the merely titular rank of Duke of Holstein and Schleswig although he later became Administrator of Schwerin. After his sister Anne became Queen of England, Ulrik was godfather to Princess Mary. (Strong 276).
Gheeraerts the Younger, Sir John Kennedy, 1614.
23. Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Sir John Kennedy, oil on canvas, 1614, The Duke of Bedford. Immediately after James I’s accession Elizabeth Brydges – Maid of Honour of Queen Elizabeth I – married Sir John Kennedy, one of the king’s Scotch attendants, at Sudeley Manor, Gloucestershire, England. Chandos appears to have opposed the match, and it was rumored early in 1604 that Kennedy had a wife living in Scotland. But James I wrote to Chandos (19 Feb 1603/4) entreating him to overlook Sir John’s errors because of his own love for his attendant. Elizabeth apparently left her husband and desired to have the matter legally examined, but as late as 1609 the lawfulness of the marriage had not been decided upon. Lord Chandos declined to aid his cousin, and Sir John Kennedy’s wife died deserted and in poverty in 1617. (Strong 277).
Gheeraerts the Younger, Catherine Killigrew Lady Jermyn, 1614.
24. Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Catherine Killigrew, Lady Jermyn, 1614, oil on panel, 73.7 x 57.2 cm, Yale Center for British Art. (Strong 278). Catherine Killigrew was 35 years old when she sat for this portrait. The wife of a MP, and mother of three children,  Catherine was the daughter of Sir William Killigrew (d. 1622) who was a courtier to Queen Elizabeth I and to King James I. Sir William served as Groom of the Privy Chamber. (Strong 278).
Gheeraerts the Younger, Probably Mary (née Throckmorton), Lady Scudamore, oil on panel, 1615.
25. Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Probably Mary (née Throckmorton), Lady Scudamore, oil on panel, 1615, 45 in. x 32 1/2 in. (1143 mm x 826 mm), National Portrait Gallery, London, purchased 1859. The sitter, once identified wrongly as the Countess of Pembroke, is probably Lady Scudamore about whom little is known. The portrait is likely for the occasion of her son’s marriage (John, later Viscount Scudamore) to Elizabeth Porter of Dauntsey, Wiltshire. The inscribed motto ‘No Spring Till now’, and wreath of flowers suggest the hope that this marriage must have represented within the family. (Strong 279).
Gheeraerts the Younger, Sir Henry Savile, 1621.
26. Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Sir Henry Savile, 1621, 216.2 x 127 cm, Bodleian Library, Oxford. Gift from the sitter’s widow, 1622. Sir Henry Savile (1549-1622) was an enterprising Bible scholar. When he did not qualify for the role of Provost of Eton, he had Queen Elizabeth I waive the college’s rules for him. As Warden of Merton – a post secured with the help of influential friends – he was unpopular with students and faculty but the college itself flourished. Sir Henry’s brother was a powerful lawyer who helped guide his brother’s career which included knighthood in 1604. (Strong 280).
Gheeraerts the Younger, Sir Henry Savile, 1621.
27. Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Sir Henry Savile, 1621, oil on canvas, 1621, 203.7 x 122 cm, Eton College. A second smaller copy of Bible scholar and administrator Sir Henry Savile. (Strong 281).
Gheeraerts the Younger, William Herbert, Earl of Pembroke, 1628.
28. Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, William Herbert, Earl of Pembroke, 1628, oil on panel, 68.5 x 48.2 cm, Philip Yorke. William Herbert, 3rd Earl of Pembroke (1580 –1630), founded Pembroke College, Oxford, under James I’s tutelage, in 1624. The year before, in 1623, the First Folio of Shakespeare’s plays had been dedicated to him and his brother Philip Herbert, Earl of Montgomery (the later 4th Earl of Pembroke). A bookish man, following failed marriage negotiations over the dowry payment, the 3rd Earl of Pembroke impregnated a mistress at court who he then refused to marry. He eventually married in 1604 but had an extra-marital affair with a cousin that produced two illegitimate children. A patron of the arts, William Herbert, 3rd Earl of Pembroke died suddenly at 50 years old in 1630 and was buried in Salisbury Cathedral in the family vault at the foot of the altar.  (Strong 282)
Gheeraerts the Younger, Charles Hoskins, 1629.
29. Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Charles Hoskins, 1629, oil on panel, 66.1 x 52.7 cm, Jack Hoskins Master. Esq. (Strong 283).
Gheeraerts the Younger, Lady in Fancy dress (the Persian Lady), 1590.
30. Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Lady in Fancy Dress (The Persian Lady), 1590s, oil on panel, 216.5 x 135.3 cm, Hampton Court. first recorded in the collection of Queen Anne but believed to be part of the Royal Collection before that time. In the cartouche a sonnet reads: “The restless swallow fits my restless minde, Instill revivinge still renewinge wronges; her Just complaintes of cruelty unkinde, are all the Musique, that my life prolonges. With pensive thoughtes my weeping Stagg I crowne whose Melancholy teares my cares Expresse; hes Teares in sylence, and my sighes unknowne are all the physicke that my harmes redresse. My only hope was in this goodly tree, which I did plant in love bringe up in care: but all in vaine, for now to late I see the shales be mine, the kernels others are. My Musique may be plaintes, my physique teares If this be all the fruite my love tree beares.” Portrait of a Woman is a good example of Elizabethan allegorical portraiture. Importantly, the painting may be related to the Ditchley portrait of Elizabeth I (Strong 285) as well as the portrait of Captain Thomas Lee (Strong 267 ). How may these three portraits be connected to an entertainment given by Sir Henry Lee, the Queen’s Master of the Armouries and Champion of the Tilt, when the Queen visited Ditchley in 1592? (Strong 284).
NPG 2561; Queen Elizabeth I ('The Ditchley portrait') by Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger
31. Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Queen Elizabeth I (“The Ditchley Portrait”), oil on canvas, 1592, 95 in. x 60 in. (2413 mm x 1524 mm). National Portrait Gallery, London. Bequeathed by Harold Lee-Dillon, 17th Viscount Dillon, 1932. Queen Elizabeth was nearly 60 years old when this portrait was made. It is traditionally understood to have been painted on the Queen’s visit to Ditchley, the timber-framed family house set in north Oxfordshire wooded farmland of Sir Henry Lee (1533-1611). Like John II Walshe (d.1546/7) of Little Sodbury, Gloucestershire, who was King’s Champion to Elizabeth’s father Henry VIII, Henry Lee served at that standard for Queen Elizabeth from 1570 until his retirement about two years before this painting was made. Ditchley once provided lodging and access to the royal hunting ground of Wychwood Forest.  (Strong 285). 
ditchley a-elizdetail-1g
Queen Elizabeth I is standing on a map of England.
Detailed study of the beautiful garment and accessories.
Detail of garment and accessories in The Ditchley Portrait.
ditchley detail fan
A bejeweled fan in Queen Elizabeth I’s right hand. Detail from The Ditchley Portrait of 1592 by Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger. In the decade before The Ditchley Portrait the artist’s father,  Gheeraerts the Elder, had painted a full- length oil on panel portrait of Elizabeth I. In the ensuing handful of years practical technical innovation in art is in evidence in the Elizabethan court: for the son’s oil portrait of the same royal personage was produced on canvas on a much larger scale.   
ditchley 800px-queen_elizabeth_i_the_ditchley_portrait_by_marcus_gheeraerts_the_younger
Queen Elizabeth I. Ditchley portrait detail. The three fragmentary Latin inscriptions in the painting have been interpreted as: “She gives and does not expect”; “She can, but does not take revenge”; and, “In giving back, she increases.” An inscribed sonnet, whose author is not known, takes the sun as its subject. At some later date the canvas was cut more than 7 centimeters fragmenting the final words of the each line. 
Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Sir Henry Lee, 1590s.
32. Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Sir Henry Lee, 1590s, oil on canvas, 117 x 86.4 cm, The Ditchley Foundation. Always at Ditchley. The painting and inscribed verses memoralize an incident where Bevis – Lee’s dog – saved his master’s life. “More faithfull then favoured…” (Strong 286).
Michael Dormer, mid 1590s.

33. Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, Michael Dormer, mid 1590s, oil on canvas, 122 x 91.5 cm, J.C. H. Dunlop, Esq. There are Latin inscriptions which surround and are written across the globe and shield. (Strong 287). The world of Sir Henry Lee bears down again on the young artist’s portrait of Michael Dormer, an Oxfordshire neighbor to Sir Henry.  In Dormer’s three-quarter-length portrait, the right hand is posed similarly to Thomas Lee’s portrait. As that portrait is the ostensible centerpiece of this discussion, we have traveled full circle through Gheeraerts II’s verifiable portraiture in Elizabethan and Jacobean England.

Here then concludes the complete collection of Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger’s signed and dated works (Strong 255-262); inscribed and dated works (Strong 266-283); and, inscribed and undated works (Strong 284-287). Not included here are works dated and attributed to the artist (Strong 288-294) and attributed and undated (Strong 295-313). The last group includes several well-known portraits including William Cecil, Lord Burghley, c. 1595, in the National Portrait Gallery (Strong 295) and Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, c. 1596, in collection of the Duke of Bedford. (Strong 300).


Strong 255 – Hearn, Karen, Marcus Gheeraerts II, Elizabethan Artist (In Focus series), Tate Publishing, 2002, p. 29.

Strong 264 and 265 –

Strong 266-

Strong 271-

Strong 272-

Strong 277 – BRYDGES (C. Bedford)

Strong 278-

Strong 279 –

Strong 280 –;  White, Henry Julian (1906). Merton College, Oxford. pp. 93–94;;;

Strong 284 –;;;

STRONG 285 – John II Walshe (d.1546/7) of Little Sodbury, Gloucestershire, was King’s Champion at the coronation of Henry VIII in 1509 and was a great favorite of the young king’s. Transactions of the Bristol & Gloucestershire Archaeological Society, Vol.13, 188/9, pp. 1–5, Little Sodbury”. Archived from the original on March 16, 2012. Retrieved 2012-03-19; Sir H Lee – Butler, Katherine (2015). Music in Elizabethan Court Politics. Woodbridge: Boydell and Brewer. pp. 129–42. ISBN 9781843839811.; Ditchley once provided lodging and access to the royal hunting ground of Wychwood Forest. – timber-framed family house in classic north Oxfordshire wooded farmland, –; Inscriptions –;; Hearn, Karen, Marcus Gheeraerts II, Elizabethan Artist (In Focus series), Tate Publishing, 2002, p. 31.

STRONG 287 – Hearn, Karen, Marcus Gheeraerts II, Elizabethan Artist (In Focus series), Tate Publishing, 2002, p. 24.

©John P. Walsh. All rights reserved. No part of this material may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by an means, electronic  or mechanical, which includes but is not limited to facsimile transmission, photocopying, recording, rekeying, or using any information storage or retrieval system.




Irish Folk Song: Bríd Óg Ní Mháille (Young Bridget O’Malley).


Featured Image is La Ghirlandata. Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882). 1873. Oil on canvas. 124 x 85 cm. Guildhall Gallery, London. City of London Corporation.



Bríd Óg Ní Mháille is an Irish Gaelic folk song about a young man who lost his love, “the beauty of Oriel,” to another suitor. This painting is Clytie by French (born English) Symbolist painter Louise Welden Hawkins (1849-1910). Clytie is a Greek mythological figure whose love was unrequited by Helios, the Sun god.

By John P. Walsh

In Ireland a generation ago the girl’s first name of Brigid (along with Mary) was one of the island’s most popular. Growing up in Chicago in the 1960s and 1970s, it seemed that a lot of Irish-American girls were named Brigid, or wished to be. By the 2010s the name of Brigid was no longer, in Ireland at least, very popular as other girls’ names replaced it.1 In Ireland the name Brigid is rendered in a healthy variety of ways. The well-known Bridget is the English variant. In this Irish folk song Bríd Óg Ní Mháille (Young Brigid O’Malley), it is the Irish language Brid (pronounced Breed). Irish also offers Bride, Brídín, Brighid, Brighidín, Brigit, Breeda, and others. With so many alternatives for a very ancient name it may be surprising that none of them rank high on the popularity charts although their accumulated usage may do so.2 With its root word being breo (which means fire), all variations of Brigid have the Irish word brígh in common. According to the Royal Irish Academy’s Dictionary of the Irish Language, brígh has multiple definitions and meanings. It primarily connotes “power, strength, force, and authority” but also translates as “vigor, virtue and fortitude.” In medicine, brígh refers to the antidote which proves to be strongly effective.3 As Brid is sometimes translated as “strong-willed” and “high born,” it becomes clear that this girl’s appellation possesses excellent qualities that, along with the beauty of its sound when spoken and its venerable ancient history,  may presume to reach into the top 100 Irish names for girls some time in the future.


Saint Brigid of Ireland (c. 451 – 525) with St. Patrick and St. Columba is one of today’s three patron saints of Ireland. From the moment of her birth in the mid-fifth century her story is shrouded in Christian legends and tales. St. Brid is a direct descendant of the older pagan Celtic goddess of the same name. St. Brid’s fire – a flame kept constantly alight in her honor by nuns in the monastery she founded – burned for 1000 years until her monastery along with most others was closed during the Protestant Reformation in the mid-sixteenth century.

The first Irish historical figure directly associated with the name Brid or Brigid that is most relevant to the name in Ireland today is St. Brigid (c. 451 – 525). Along with Sts. Patrick (418-493) and Columba (540-615), she is one of Ireland’s three patron saints. Legends swirl around this early Christian figure from the moment of her birth, including the story of angels seen hovering over the Irish cottage where she was born near Dundalk at the foot of the Cooley Mountains. History records that her mother was a Christian slave and her father was a pagan chief. Soon after Brid’s birth, her mother was sold and had to leave her father’s house although young Brid stayed. There are many Irish fioretti relating Brid’s fantastical holy exploits during this period of her early youth. One appealing story among many tells of her disobeying her father so to journey to visit her enslaved mother. Traveling alone along Ireland’s wild pathways, Brid located her mother who was tending her owner’s cattle.  Mother and daughter worked side-by-side until their labors’ fruit proved so abundant that Brid was able to secure her mother’s freedom. How Brid later chose to consecrate her life to God as a nun which led to her founding Ireland’s first monastic community of women is also explained in legends.4

St. Brigid of Ireland’s misty past is informed by a pre-Christian Celtic goddess named Brigid whose mythology as we know it today was first recorded, ironically perhaps, by early Irish Christian monks. As in St. Brid’s story of liberating her enslaved mother, the pagan goddess Brid is closely aligned to the cow as well as the sheep, but also animals with mythological qualities of regeneration such as the rooster and snake. Surrounding this more remote Brid is a panoply of supernatural qualities and events told in legends and folklore.5 Yet this ancient pagan Celtic goddess has her older forebears in the Proto-Indo-European goddesses that are over 5,000 years old. In ancient Mesopotamia one finds a certain Brid who was deity of the hearth.6


Brigit is a powerful religious form in Irish history, as she is one of the most complex and contradictory goddesses of the Celts. The pagan goddess is patroness to healers, poets, metal workers – all the practical and inspired civilized arts. Associated with fire and light she is also guardian of inner vital energy.

Bríd Óg Ní Mháille is an Irish folk song in a long line of Irish musical taste about forsaken love. It is performed here brilliantly in the Irish by singer Gillian Fenton who is accompanied on traditional Irish harp by Fiachra O’ Corragáin. There are many traditional and contemporary renditions, however, of this popular late nineteenth-century Irish Gaelic song. Its surge of popularity is an entirely local Irish story.  There was a certain young man in mid-20th-century County Mayo who was a Gaelic teacher. He took particular fancy to this tune about a young Irishman who lost his love – the titular Bridget O’Malley – to another suitor and was left “heartbroken…the arrows of death…piercing my heart.”7 The Gaelic teacher, armed with this air about “the beauty of Oriel without any doubt…now married to another…” took it with him back to the county just next door, his native Donegal, where its popularity first flourished.


The Beguiling of Merlin, Edward Burne-Jones, 1872–77, Oil on canvas, 186 cm × 111 cm (73 in × 44 in), Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight, Merseyside. There is a 12th century story in which Merlin is beguiled by a female figure whose vision thereof inspires or causes History. This female form is sometimes associated with Brigantia. In some stories she is the one who nurtures development of human potential.

There is another Irish Gaelic song referencing the name Brid that is titled Fair Bridget (Brid Bhan) and also emanates out of Donegal. It is not as popular as Bríd Óg Ní Mháille, but speaks about a modern young Brid – similar to the mother of ancient St. Brid – who is taken out of her home to tend cattle in a far-away place not her own. It is heartbreak for this fair Brid to begin a new life where the cows graze on the “sour grass” of the mountain sides. Like St. Brid’s mother, this fair Brid, it is told, eventually returned to her native place, although the song doesn’t tell us, only local legend. The listener, however, can be assured of the veracity of these melancholy verses for in Bríd Óg Ní Mháille it says: “There is nothing more beautiful than the moon over the sea or the white blossom, and my love is like that with her golden tresses and her honey-mouth that has never deceived anybody.”


La Ghirlandata. Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882). 1873. Oil on canvas. 124 x 85 cm. Guildhall Gallery, London. City of London Corporation.

Oh Bríd O’Malley
You have left my heart breaking 
You’ve sent the death pangs
Of sorrow to pierce my heart sore
A hundred men are craving
For your breathtaking beauty
You’re the fairest of maidens
In Oriel for sure

I’m a handsome young fellow
Who is thinking of wedlock
But my life will be shortened
If I don’t get my dear
My love and my darling
Prepare now to meet me
On next Sunday evening
On the road to Drum Slieve

‘Tis sadly and lonely
I pass the time on Sunday
My head bowed in sorrow
My sights heavy with woe
As I gaze upon the byways
That my true love walks over
Now she’s wed to another
And left me forlorn

(2.49 minutes).


  1. Topping the list of the 100 most popular girls’ names in Ireland today are Emily, Emma, Sophie, Ella, and Amelia, in that order. Mary ranks number 84 and Bridget is not even on the list. See –
  2. In 2015, within the family of girl names directly related to Brígh, Brianna was the most widely used. Brian is the male form of the name.
  3. retrieved March 29, 2017.
  4. See Irish Saints, Robert T. Reilly, Avenel Books, New York, 1981, pp. 16-26.
  5. Carey, John. “Tuath Dé” inThe Celts: History, Life, and Culture, edited by John T. Koch. ABC-CLIO, 2012. pp.751-753.
  6. See The Oxford Introduction to Proto-Indo-European and the Proto-Indo-European World, J.P. Mallory; D.Q. Adams, 2006, Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
  7. Folksongs of Britain and Ireland, edited by Peter Kennedy, Schirmer Books, New York, 1975, p. 82.

©John P. Walsh. All rights reserved. No part of this material may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by an means, electronic  or mechanical, which includes but is not limited to facsimile transmission, photocopying, recording, rekeying, or using any information storage or retrieval system.


John Singer Sargent (American, 1856-1925): 49 Early Portraits.

Text by John P. Walsh

The following 49 works by John Singer Sargent (1856-1925) in oil, watercolor, and pastel begin to present Sargent’s professional output during his formative years in France and England and his trips to the United States. While Sargent’s early portrait subjects range from famous people such as writer Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894) and actress Ellen Terry (1847-1928) in her role as Lady Macbeth, this post looks at mostly Sargent’s first portraits of family and friends, which included artists, writers, musicians, and romantic interests. Sargent’s artistic practice developed within a swiftly expanding social circle of prominent American expatriates and Europeans which included portrait commissions from business, military, legal and medical practitioners. His portrait work extended to their wives and children. It was during this creative period that Sargent painted his well-known group portrait The Daughters of Edward D. Boit (1882) and (to be included in a future post) the portrait of the exotic and controversial Madame X (Mme. Virginie Amélie Avegno Gautreau).  Each of the following art works is specifically identified in its brief caption. The text includes the art work’s title (usually the sitter’s name), year of production, dimensions, markings and location, if known. Further, it often discusses how the sitter knew Sargent as well as the historical context of the painting and some provenance and exhibition history.


VIOLET SARGENT, c. 1875, oil on panel, 27.7 x 23.5 cm (10 ½ x 9 ¼ in.), private collection. Originally inscribed across the top “Violet” but removed in a later cleaning. The sitter was the artist’s youngest sister (1870-1955).


Resting, c. 1875, oil on canvas, 8½ x 10 9/16 in. (21.6 x 26.8 cm), inscribed upper right: John S. Sargent, Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts. Informal pose and setting, bold treatment of light, this is one of the artist’s early outdoor works. The identity of the sitter is unknown.


MRS. EMILY SARGENT PLEASANTS, c. 1876, oil on canvas, 55.8 x 40.6 cm (22 x 16 inches), private collection. The artist’s aunt (his father’s sister). Dr. Pleasants (Emily’s husband) visited the artist’s family in France in 1875, but it is not known if she came along. The next year the 20-year-old American artist, born in Florence, Italy,  visited the United States for the first time and went to the Pleasants home in Radnor, Pennsylvania. The high-backed rocking chair in the painting points to this portrait being done there.


FRANK O’MEARA, c. 1876, oil on canvas, 44.5 x 39.5 cm (17½ x 15½ inches), inscribed upper left: John S. Sargent. Inscribed upper right:1875. Typewritten label on reverse signed by Austin Strong, 14/5/1931, The Century Association, New York. O’Meara was an “impecunious and dreamy” Irish art student with Sargent in Carolus-Duran’s atelier. Sargent painted it for O’Meara to give to an American girl during a summer romance. Then Isobel Osbourne (1858-1953) returned home and married somebody else.


MRS. CHARLES DEERING, c.1877, oil on canvas, 55.8 x 43.2 cm (22 x 17 in.), Rhode Island School of Design. The family of Annie Rogers Case (1848-1876) met the Sargents in Florence in the 1860s. Her father (“the Admiral”) owned a Sargent Salon picture and dined with them on Christmas Day 1874. In 1876 JSS visited with the Deerings at Newport, Rhode Island,  but did not paint Annie’s portrait. Mrs. Deering died the next year in childbirth. In the Sargent-Deering letters preserved at Chicago the artist agreed to the widower’s request to paint a posthumous work of his wife.


VIOLET SARGENT, 1877, oil on canvas, 34.9 x 25.4 cm (13 3/4 x 10 in), inscribed upper right: Violet 17th May 1877/7 years old. Location unknown. Sargent’s younger sister, the later Mrs. Frances Ormond. It had been owned by French Academic painter Auguste-Alexandre Hirsch (1833 -1911).


HARRIET LOUISE WARREN, 1877, oil on panel, 26.7 x 21 cm (10 1/2 x 8 1/4 in), inscribed lower right: JSS/Jan 18 1877. Private collection. Harriet Louise Warren (1854-1919) and Sargent were early friends. Later, in 1890, the artist painted her daughter, Beatrice.


EMILY SARGENT, c.1877, oil on canvas, 31.1 x 22.9 cm (12 ¼ x 9 in.), private collection. Six siblings comprised the FitzWilliam and Mary Newbold Singer Sargent family. John was the second oldest and only boy. Of his five sisters only two lived to adulthood. This is JSS’s sister Emily (1857-1936) born one year after him. About 20 years old in this painting, the two were inseparable at home and roamed Europe and America together. Emily was a watercolorist and naturally cheerful.


Eugène JUILLERAT, c. 1877-78, oil on canvas, 40.6 x 31.1 (16 x 12 ¼ in.), inscribed upper right: à mon ami Juillerat/J.S. Sargent. Inscribed on label on back by sitter on April 19, 1927. Private collection. Juillerat and Sargent were the same age and both studied under Carolus-Duran in Paris. Juillerat was an award-winning lithographer and sculptor receiving medals at the Salons of 1895 and 1899 and at the Exposition Universelle in 1900.


Head of an Italian Girl, 1878, oil on canvas, 45.7 x 38.1 (18 x 15 in.), Inscribed upper center: To my cousin Kitty Austin/ John S. Sargent; upper left: 1878. The Sargents had roots in New England yet resettled in Philadelphia where JSS’s father was a surgeon and married JSS’s mother. With the death of their firstborn, the Sargents left for Europe and stayed. JSS was born in Italy in 1856. He first visited the U.S.A. at 20 years old. This painting’s whereabouts and sitter’s identity are unknown.


MARY TURNER AUSTIN, oil on canvas, 45.7 x 38.1 (18 x 15 in.), Inscribed upper left: to my friend, Mary, John S. Sargent. The Christopher Whittle Collection. The Austins, like the Sargents, were American expats in Europe. Dr. Sargent mentions the Austins in correspondence and writes that the girls are “quite attractive.” Mary was an art student. Chicago artist J.C. Beckwith at dinner with the Sargents hoped to see “the pretty Miss Austin.” French artist Auguste Hirsch owned this portrait.


Head of an Italian woman, c. 1878-1881, oil on canvas, 45.7 x 38.1 (18 x 15 in.), Inscribed upper right: J. S. Sargent. The Arkell Museum, Canajoharie, New York. Gift of Bartlett Arkell. Hair piled at the nape of the neck is a typical mid1870s woman’s hairstyle, though the dress is less fashionable. The model may be a Sargent cousin – a later Mrs. Wurts – who owned this picture in 1926.


Portrait Sketch, c. 1910, graphite on thin, slightly textured off-white laid paper (tissue) 10 x 9.1 cm (3 15/16 x 3 9/16 in.). Gift of Mrs. Francis Henry Taylor, The Worcester Art Museum, Worcester, Massachusetts. Dated c.1910, this drawing had been only recently identified as the same model as “Head of an Italian Woman” painted by Sargent sometime between 1878 and 1881 and today in the Arkell Museum.


CARMELA BERTAGNA, c.1879, oil on canvas, 59.7 x 49.5 (23.5 x 19.5 in.), inscribed upper L: à mon ami Poirson; upper R: John S. Sargent; lower L: Carmela Bertagna/rue du/16 Maine. Bequest F.W. Schumacher. The picture’s history is muddled by the sitter’s questioned identity (a professional model, possibly Carmela B.), its stylistic clues (no later than 1880), diverse inscriptions (to later friends) and exactly from whom it was acquired before it was given to the Columbus Museum of Fine Arts.


Mme. François BULOZ, 1879, oil on canvas, 54 x 46.2 cm (21.25 x 18.25 in.), Inscribed lower L: à mon amie Me Buloz/John S. Sargent/Ronjoux 1879, Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Mme. Buloz was from a family of writers and musicians. In summer 1879, Sargent was in the Savoy to paint her daughter Marie’s full length portrait for her marriage. Madame complained that this portrait, painted in haste, made her look ten years older than she was.


MARIE-LOUISE PAILLERON, 1879, 38.7 x 45.1 cm (15.25 x 17.75 in.), Inscribed, upper R: à ma petite amie Marie-Louise/John S. Sargent 1880, private collection. Daughter of Marie (Buloz) and Edward Pailleron, Sargent’s first important patrons. Two years after this portrait, Marie-Louise (1870-1950) was the subject of an important double portrait with her brother Edouard.


MARIE-LOUISE PAILLERON, 1879, watercolor on paper? Dimensions? Untraced. Sargent did other wash drawings of Marie-Louise that are better documented. The head on the left has a halo or other decorative design. This image was taken from a photograph the sitter made available in 1948 when the sketch was in her house at Ronjoux.


FANNY WATTS, 1877, oil on canvas, 105.7 x 83.5 cm (41.5/8 x 32.7/8 in.), inscribed upper R: John S. Sargent. Philadelphia Museum of Art. Following money reverses in the U.S.A., Fanny’s New York family traveled in the 1860s to Nice and Florence and met the Sargents. JSS and Fanny began a romance in 1876 that was nixed by Mrs. Sargent. The portrait is the artist’s attempt to reminisce about their time together. Dr. Sargent thought it his son’s “first serious work” and showed it at the Salon. Fanny and JSS stayed lifelong friends.


CAROLUS-DURAN, 1879, oil on canvas, 116.8 x 95.9 cm (46 x 37 3/4 in.), inscribed upper R: à mon cher maître M. Carolus Duran, sur élève affectioné/John S. Sargent 1879. Clark Art Institute, Massachusetts. Portrait painter and teacher Carolus-Duran (1838-1917) had a profound influence on JSS’s artistic practice in the mid to late 1870s. The sitter wears a red ribbon of the Légion d’honneur in his buttonhole. Being JSS’s second portrait exhibited at the Salon, this painting received critical praise in Europe and America.


EDOUARD PAILLERON, 1879, oil on canvas, 127 x 94 cm (50 x 37 in.), Inscribed lower L: John S. Sargent. Musée d’Orsay. Edouard Pailleron (1834-99) was JSS’s first major patron. How the 45-year-old famed poet and playwright met the unknown 23-year-old painter is a mystery. One impetus may be the favored portrait of Carolus-Duran at the Salon of 1879. This casually posed portrait of studied bohemianism was painted in Paris in  summer 1879 and soon paired with one of Mme. Pailleron.


MADAME EDOUARD PAILLERON, 1879, oil on canvas, 208.3 x 100.3 cm (82 x 39.5 in.), Inscribed lower R: John S. Sargent/Ronjoux 1879. National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. JSS’s first full length portrait depicts Mme. Pailleron (1840-1913). It was painted at her parents’ house at Chambéry in the Savoy. She posed at the entrance to the allée des Tilleuls with house and garden behind. At the Salon of 1880 critics remarked that the black satin dress was out of place in an outdoor setting.


Robert de Cévrieux, 1879, oil on canvas, 84.5 x 48 cm (33.25 x 18.875 in.), inscribed lower L: John S. Sargent, 1879. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. The Salon of 1879 was a watershed for JSS’s artistic career. Out of it came six portrait commissions in Paris including presumably this 6-year-old and his terrier. Carolus-Duran, by now JSS’s former teacher, painted children holding pets which were exhibited in mid1870s Salons. The child wears a velvet suit with no pant legs and matching jacket.


JEANNE KIEFFER, 1879, oil on canvas, 43.2 x 35.6 cm (17 x 14 in.), inscribed upper right: John S. Sargent 1879. Private collection. By his early 20s JSS was seen by some as an artist of “great talent and a real future” but also described as “practically starving.” This portrait is quirky for the direct frontal pose of the sitter and that the pink dress was an afterthought. The artist had originally painted the 7-year-old sitter in a black velvet dress.


Le Vicomte de Saint-Périer, 1879, oil on canvas, 61 x 50.5 cm (24 x 19.875 in.), inscribed upper L: John S. Sargent. Musée d’Orsay. JSS was paid 1500 francs – nearly a year’s wages for a typical French worker – for this portrait of a well-connected professional soldier. The expressive realism of the head recalls his recent portraits of Edouard Pailleron and Carolus-Duran.


HENRY St JOHN SMITH, 1880, oil on canvas, 62.2 x 49.5 cm (24.5 x 19.5 in.), inscribed upper R: John S. Sargent 1880. Portland Museum of Art, Maine. Boston lawyer St. John Smith (1852-1896) graduated from Harvard in 1872 and went to Europe virtually annually. In 1880 he was a most eligible bachelor. Smith saw JSS’s studio in Paris and didn’t like it but friends Augustus Jay and Boston artist Francis Brooks Chadwick intervened and this head-and-shoulders portrait earned JSS another 1500 franc commission.


PETER AUGUSTUS JAY, 1880, oil on canvas, 45.8 x 37.5 cm (18 x 14.75 in.), inscribed upper L: John S. Sargent 1880. Private collection. The future U.S.A. Ambassador to Argentina is painted when he was a 3-year-old with golden shoulder-length hair and dressed in a bibbed white blouse. It was when Henry St John Smith was with the boy’s father Augustus “Gussie” Jay at JSS’s Paris studio as Smith was having his portrait painted that the commission for the child’s portrait probably originated.


ELEANOR JAY CHAPMAN, c.1881, oil on canvas, 43.8 x 53.3 cm (17.25 x 21 in.), inscribed upper L: John S. Sargent. Private collection. In 1881 Eleanor was the 16-year-old daughter of a stockbroker and, through her mother, a descendant of John Jay, first Chief Justice of the U.S.A. She and her younger sister Beatrix had their portraits painted by JSS in Paris (Beatrix’s was later destroyed). There is no evidence for how the Chapmans met JSS, but it happened before the father’s financial collapse in 1882.


EDWARD BURCKHARDT, 1880, oil on canvas, 55.2.x 46.4 cm (21.75 x 18.25 in.), inscribed lower L: To my friend Valerie/John S. Sargent Paris June 1880. Private collection. JSS was an intimate friend of Swiss businessman Edward Burckhardt (1815-1903) and his American wife and their family. This portrait – which has inspired little positive critical commentary – was painted in Paris in May 1880.


MRS. JAMES LAWRENCE, oil on canvas, 61 x 45.7 cm (24 x 18 in.), inscribed upper R: John S. Sargent 1881. JSS painted companion portraits of Boston’s James Lawrence (1853-1914) and new wife Caroline Estelle Mudge (1850-1920). Neither portrait has survived – both were destroyed by fire in Hingham, Massachusetts, in 1939. In 1888 it was noted that the sitter wore a black dress in front of a red background.


The Pailleron Children, 1881, oil on canvas, 152.4 x 175.3 cm (60 x 69 in.), upper right: John S. Sargent. Des Moines Art Center. Édouard (b.1865) and Marie-Louise (b.1870), children of JSS’s first patron, are seated on a bench, the boy dressed in suit with Eton collar and silk bow tie and she, hair up, wearing a satin dress with lace trim. Only after Carolus-Duran calmed Marie-Louise did she cooperate during the 83 sittings for this work done in JSS’s studio and exhibited at the Salon of 1881.


MARIE-LOUISE PAILLERON, c.1881, watercolor, 27 x 20 cm (10.625 x 7.875 in.). Private collection. Aside from a couple of dabs of blue, the portrait is executed nearly in one color, that is, en grisaille. Marie-Louise wears her hair “down” unlike in the formal portrait with her older brother done at the same time where the 10-year-old was exasperated by the artist’s insistence that she wear her hair “up.”


MARIE-LOUISE PAILLERON, c.1881, pen, ink and wash on paper, 23.2 x 18.1 cm (9.125 x 7.125 in.), Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. A second monochrome facial study of 10-year-old Marie-Louise by JSS. The work has a playful aspect in that the paper’s back side (or verso) has a child’s drawing of a house.


DR. POZZI (or DR. POZZI AT HOME), 1881. Oil on canvas, 204.5 x 111.4 cm (80 ½ x 43 7/8 in.). Inscribed upper right: John S. Sargent 1881. UCLA at the Armand Hammer Museum of Art and Cultural Center, Los Angeles.


DETAIL of the left hand -DR. POZZI, 1881.


MADAME Ramón SUBERCASEAUX, c. 1880-81, oil on canvas, 165.1 x 109.9 cm (65 x 43 ¼ in.). Inscribed, lower right: John S. Sargent. Private collection.


Madame Ramón Subercaseaux, c. 1881, sepia wash, 22.2 x 32.4 cm (12 ¾ x 8 ¾ in.), inscribed, lower right: John S. Sargent. Private collection. This is not a study for the painting but a derivation from it. The artist made it for the painting’s reproduction in the Salon catalogue.


MRS. JOHN JOSEPH TOWNSEND, 1881, oil on canvas, 124.5 x 83.8 cm (49 x 33 in.). Inscribed, upper right: John S. Sargent Paris 1881. Location unknown. Catherine Rebecca Bronson (1833-1926) was from a family of U.S.A. politicians and married a New York businessman. The Bronsons were part of the same American expat community in Florence and Venice as the Sargents. This is JSS’s first portrait of the old family friend. She sits on a low couch, right elbow on pillows and holds a swan’s-down fan.


MRS. JOHN JOSEPH TOWNSEND, c. 1882, oil on canvas, 69.9 x 56.5 cm (27½ x 22¼ in.). Inscribed, upper left: to my dear friend Mrs Townsend/John S. Sargent. Location untraced.


JOHN JOSEPH TOWNSEND, 1882, oil on canvas, 128.9 x 86.4 cm (50 ¾ x 34 in.). Incribed, upper right: John S. Sargent/Paris 1882. Private collection. Mr. Townsend (1825-1889) was a New York lawyer who served in the State Assembly. A Columbia University trustee and Union Club president, he married Catherine Bronson, an old Sargent family friend, in 1854.


BEATRICE TOWNSEND, c. 1882, oil on canvas, 81.9 x 58.4 cm (32 ¼ x 23 in.). Inscribed, upper center: to my friend/Mrs. Townsend/John S. Sargent. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. (Mellon Collection). (Eleanor) Beatrice Townsend (1870-1884), born in New York, was the sixth of seven children of Mr. and Mrs. Townsend. The teenager died tragically of peritonitis, an abdominal disease.


MR. AND MRS. JOHN FIELD, 1882, oil on canvas, 111.8 x 82.5 cm (44 x 32½ in.). Inscribed, upper right: John S. Sargent, Paris 1882. Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Phil. Gilbert Stuart painted the father of Mrs. Field (Eliza Willing Spring Peters, 1820-1897) and she was painted by Thomas Sully in 1841 and now by JSS. Europe travel led Mr. Field (1815-1887), a trader, into art collecting. In a June 1882 letter, British writer Vernon Lee noted that it was either the Fields or Townsends who were nonstop talkers.


Isabel Vallé, 1882, oil on canvas, 132.1 x 81.3 cm (52 x 32 in.). Inscribed, upper left: John Singer Sargent; upper right: Paris 1882. Private collection. Likely exhibited at the third exhibition of the Cercle des arts libéraux in 1882 on rue Vivienne in Paris. Isabel Vallé (1864-1947) became Mrs. Austin but later divorced. The three-quarter-length portrait of the 18-year-old possesses a “soft, liquid beauty.”


Mrs. Jules Félix Vallé, 1882, 50.8 x 40.6 cm (20 x 16 in.), Inscribed, upper right: John S. Sargent/1882. Lost. Mrs. Vallé was Isabel Vallé’s mother.


MRS. DANIEL SARGENT CURTIS, 1882, oil on canvas, 71.1 x 53.3 cm (28 x 21 in.). Inscribed, upper left: Venice 1882; upper right: John S. Sargent/to his kind friend Mrs Curtis. Spencer Museum of Art, KS. Ariana Randolph Wormeley (1833-1922) was from a family of writers and linguists. At 20 years old she married Dr. Sargent’s cousin and moved from Boston to a palazzo in Venice where she established a fashionable salon. JSS called her the Dogaressa and was a frequent guest in later years.


MADEMOISELLE BOUSSENET-DUCLOS, 1882, oil on canvas, 55.6 x 46 cm (21 7/8 x 18 7/8 in.). Inscribed, upper left: John S. Sargent; upper right: 1882. Verso: Mr. John Sargent/ 8….. Private collection. The whereabouts of this portrait of a young woman dressed in a black outdoor coat with fur edging, was unknown until it reappeared in public in 1988.


MADAME ALLOUARD-JOUAN. c. 1882, oil on canvas, 74.9 x 55.9 cm (29½ x 22 in.). Inscribed, upper left: à Mme Allouard Jouan/témoignage d’amitié; upper right: John S. Sargent. Musée du Petit Palais, Paris. Shown at French art dealer Georges Petit’s 1882 exhibition the portrait was described as being painted “with verve by the hand of a master…”


MME. PAUL ESCUDIER, 1882, oil on canvas, 128.3 x 90.2 cm (50½ x 35½ in.). Inscribed,lower right: John S. Sargent 1882. Private collection. Louise Lefevre (1861-1950) married Paul Escudier (1858-1931), a sometime French entertainment lawyer. This informal portrait with a beautiful subject and setting in delightful light, the sitter’s identity is not certain. Sometimes compared to Belgian artist Alfred Stevens, the work’s reflection in the mirror seems to evoke Jan Van Eyck.


MME. PAUL ESCUDIER, c. 1882, oil on canvas, 73.2 x 59.5 cm (18 ¾ x 23 ½ in.). Inscribed, upper left: à Madame Escudier/John S. Sargent. Clark Art Institute, Massachusetts. The sitter is dressed in a black coat and diamond pin – ready possibly for a soirée – wearing a fashionable white-ribboned black hat for a finish.


LOUISE BURCKHARDT (or LADY WITH A ROSE), 1882, oil on canvas, 213.4 x 113.7 cm (84 x 44¾ in.). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.


DETAIL of the right hand-LOUISE BURCKHARDT (or LADY WITH A ROSE), 1882.


DAUGHTERS OF EDWARD D. BOIT, 1882, oil on canvas, 221.9 x 221.6 cm (87 3/8 x 87 5/8 in.). Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1882. The group portrait depicts the four daughters of JSS’s friend and fellow American painter, Edward Boit and wife, Mary Louisa. In Europe the Boits lived in Rome and in Paris where this painting, directly influenced by Velázquez, was painted in the family flat on Avenue de Friedland. Exhibited at G. Petit and the Salon. The Japanese vases remain in the family today.

REFERENCE: John Singer Sargent, Complete Paintings, Volume 1: The Early Portraits by Richard Ormond and Elaine Kilmurray, Yale University Press/Paul Mellon Centre, 1998.

©John P. Walsh. All rights reserved. No part of this material may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by an means, electronic  or mechanical, which includes but is not limited to facsimile transmission, photocopying, recording, rekeying, or using any information storage or retrieval system.




FRANCISCO DE GOYA (1746-1828): first suites of tapestry cartoons for the princes of Asturias in Madrid, 1775 to 1778.

A selection of Goya’s first two suites of decorative tapestry cartoons (or designs) completed for El Escorial in 1775 and El Palacio Real del Pardo between 1776 and 1778. Both palaces were the residences of the Prince and Princess of Asturias, the future Carlos IV (reigned, 1788-1808) and his wife, Queen consort of Spain, María Luisa de Parma.

Dining room of the princes of Asturias in San Lorenzo de El Escorial, 1775.


1. Decoy Hunting 1775. Oil on canvas, 112 x 179 cm.


untitled10fixedThis cartoon called Decoy Hunting is part of the first commission that Goya received for the Royal Tapestry Factory of Santa Bárbara in 1774-1775. It was part of a series of fourteen tapestries – of which Goya rendered 9 – depicting hunting subjects to hang as decoration in the dining room at El Escorial of the Prince and Princess of Asturias. Newly arrived to Madrid in January 1775 , Goya completed and submitted his cartoons for this commission between May and October 1775.


2. Dogs on a leash 1775. Oil on canvas, 112 x 174 cm.

untitled16fixed2This is Goya’s tapestry cartoon of two hunting dogs chained together—one of which sits up and holds a fixed gaze on the viewer—with hunters’ tools on the ground. It is part of a series of decorative tapestries depicting hunting subjects for the new Bourbon rooms installed in 1773 by the architect Juan de Villanueva (1739-1811) at El Escorial. Goya, newly arrived to Madrid from Zaragoza in 1775, was brought into the project because one of its originators, Ramón Bayeu y Subías (1746-1793), after having completed five of the intended fourteen cartoons by March 1775, was appointed to assist painter Anton Raphael Mengs (1728–1779) at El Palacio Real de Madrid in the execution of several frescoes there. Goya rendered the remaining nine cartoons, six of which are in this blog post.


3. Hunting Party 1775. Oil on canvas, 290 x 226 cm.

untitled4fixedHunting Party is one of the nine cartoons Goya provided for the royal dining room at El Escorial. This cartoon scene displays different types of hunting. While Goya worked closely with the designs of Ramón and elder brother Francisco Bayeu y Subías (1734-1795), the originators of this project, the young artist placed his own stamp upon the commissioned work. Goya’s sprinting greyhound, for instance, provides an original and engaging study of how to represent rapid animal movement in a painting.


4. Hunter with his Hounds 1775. Oil on canvas, 268 x 67.5 cm.

untitled8fixedPaired with Hunter Loading his Rifle (below), the cartoon called Hunter with his hounds is for a tapestry in El Escorial to hang by a door (or window). It is notable for Goya’s successful rendering of “a figure in a landscape”— a hunter depicted from the back with a rifle on his shoulder and two leashed dogs—whose artistic accomplishment became a leading challenge for the French Impressionists about one hundred years later.


5. Hunter loading his Rifle 1775. Oil on canvas, 292 x 50 cm.

untitled9fixedGoya’s cartoon is called Hunter loading his rifle. It depicts a face-forward hunter with a sitting dog who stares at the viewer. In the background are others in the hunting party. The design is for a dining room tapestry at El Escorial for the future Carlos IV (1748-1819) and his wife, María Luisa de Parma (1751-1819). It is paired with Hunter with his hounds.


6. The Angler 1775. Oil on canvas, 289 x 110 cm.

Two activities are represented in this cartoon scene—fishing and hunting—with a transition between them marked in the sports’ different tools overlapping in the middle of the canvas. The Angler completed the commission begun in 1774 by Francisco and Ramón Bayeu to prepare a set of fourteen tapestry cartoons for the decoration of the dining room of the future Carlos IV and María Luisa de Parma at El Escorial, of which Goya produced nine of them. The theme of hunting was specifically selected to merge with the monarchs’ use of El Escorial in the autumn as a hunting grounds.

Dining room of the princes of Asturias in the Palace of El Pardo, 1776-1778.


7. The Picnic 1776. Oil on canvas, 271 x 295 cm.


untitled12fixedThe Picnic is part of Goya’s 10-tapestry decorative cartoon series depicting leisure in the countryside for a dining room tapestry at El Pardo for the Prince and Princess of Asturias. Notable for its foreground still life, this scene depicts young revelers sitting on the banks of the Manzanares River at Madrid’s periphery. The Picnic is joined in Goya’s second cartoon series by Dance on the Banks of the Manzanares, A Fight at the Venta Nueva, An Avenue in Andalusia (or The Maja and the cloaked Men), The Drinker, The Parasol, The Kite, The Card Players, Children blowing up a Bladder, and Boys picking Fruit. 


8. A Fight at the Cock Inn 1777. Oil on canvas, 41.9 x 67.3 cm.

untitled15fixedThis is Goya’s preparatory sketch for the cartoon of A Fight at the New Inn, whose name in this early draft is El Mesón del Gallo. For a tapestry in the royal house, the 32-year-old Goya presents a brutal and ironically humorous scene showing country folk from diverse regions of Spain and of varying social roles using several weapon types to violently contest a card game involving money. Goya’s artistic models for this cartoon range from typical seventeenth century Flemish and Dutch genre scenes to elements of Italian classicism.


9. Dance on the Banks of the Manzanares 1776 – 1777. Oil on canvas, 272 x 295 cm.



Goya’s cartoon called Dance on the Banks of the Manzanares depicts a scene of majos and majas (country folk) dancing the seguidillas, a dance that was popular in Madrid and throughout Spain’s Castile region. The view of the river banks and the figure of the man clapping his hands are composition elements preserved in Goya’s drawing notebook suggesting they were taken from life. The resulting tapestry was to be hung on a wall of the dining room at the Palacio de El Pardo in Madrid for the princes of Asturias. Progressing from his hunting cartoon suite done on behalf of the brothers Bayeu the year or so before, this 10-part series of country life scenes was completely Goya’s own invention.


10. Children blowing up a Bladder 1777 – 1778. Oil on canvas, 116 x 124 cm.

untitled18fixedThe tapestry resulting from this cartoon hung in the dining room of the future Carlos IV and Queen consort María Luisa de Parma in El Palacio de El Pardo in Madrid. Notably, Goya initiated with this cartoon the first of his childhood scenes in this series of ten tapestries of “country” subjects for the royal house. In a playful yet dramatic scene, a boy of about 7 or 8 years old inflates an animal bladder as his companion awaits the outcome raising one hand to her heart. Two women seated in the background are perhaps the children’s mothers, one of which presents a melancholic disposition as she holds a hand to the head while the other looks straight ahead at the viewer.


11. An Avenue in Andalusia or The Maja and the cloaked Men 1777. Oil on canvas, 275 x 190 cm.

untitled21fixed untitled20fixeduntitled19fixedThis tapestry cartoon presents an ostensible love scene of a well-dressed young woman with her companion, both of whom Goya identified in the tapestry factory invoice as gitanos, or gypsy people. The scene is also populated with more stealthily dressed figures, perhaps with their own sinister intent, that suggests an undercurrent of jealous spying on the gitano pair. For a Madrid royal palace’s dining room (El Pardo), Goya considered this scene a fanciful contemporary walk in far-off Andalucia in southern Spain.


12. The Parasol 1777. Oil on canvas, 104 x 152 cm.


untitled22fixed-closerThe bottom-to-top perspective view joined by its format indicates that this tapestry cartoon for the El Pardo dining room was intended to decorate an over-arch. A cortejo holds a green-color parasol to shade an elegant young woman from the Iberian sunshine. Goya’s cartoon could have possibly been modeled on the work of Jean Ranc (1674–1735), a French portrait painter or a lunette entitled Vertumnus and Pomano of Pontormo (1494-1557). If it is the Pontormo that inspired Goya then, in this instance, the artist creatively transformed what was an ancient mythological subject into a scene of modern Spanish life.


13. The Kite 1777 – 1778. Oil on canvas, 269 x 285 cm.



untitled25fixedGoya describes this scene as young people who “have gone out to the field to fly a kite.” An observably mid-to-late eighteenth century contemporary scene, a majo is smoking, body splayed upon the ground, sending smoke into the air. In the cartoon’s center three majos fly the popular kite with a sun face on it. One figure holds the spindle, another guides its string, and a third in heroic stance, launches and maintains the kite aloft. In the background, couples chat and watch the kite’s flight, while a dog sits and looks towards the viewer. The building in the cartoon’s upper right part has been interpreted as an astronomical observatory, a scientific project popularly spoken of in the days of Carlos III (1716-1788).



14. The Drinker 1777. Oil on canvas, 107 x 151 cm.


untitled29fixedA cartoon for a tapestry in the dining room in the Palace of El Pardo in Madrid, one of a series of ten made by Goya between 1776 and 1778. This scene of a young man drinking from a boot with a boy eating a raw turnip snatched out of a meager collection of such vegetables with a round loaf of bread that constitutes the cartoon’s still life has been seen as Goya’s allegory of gluttony. Such would be based on characters from a 1554 Spanish novella entitled The Life of Lazarillo de Tormes and of His Fortunes and Adversities which tells the story of a boy named Lazarillo who learns the world’s wiles from a blind beggar to whom he is apprenticed. The format and bottom-to-top perspective view indicates the modern tapestry cartoon was for an over-window decoration.


15. Boys picking Fruit 1778. Oil on canvas, 119 x 122 cm.


untitled31fixedAnother of Goya’s childhood scenes, this joyful and playful cartoon depicts four boys gathered at a tree to shake down its fruit. It is one of four scenes of a set with Children blowing up a Bladder, The Parasol, and The Drinker which hung as overhead decorations in the dining room at El Pardo.  It is part of a series of ten tapestry cartoons of “country” subjects—all conserved in the Prado Museum in Madrid—that Goya composed and produced.


16. The Card Players 1777 – 1778. Oil on canvas, 270 x 167 cm.

untitled32fixedTo give this scene an appearance of realism, Goya carefully crafted each individual face and unique expression for each figure which enhances the depiction of country folk cheating and being cheated at cards. Goya’s accurately-studied contrast of light and shadow enhances his varied colors which works to heighten the scene’s realism. A group of majos situate themselves in a field under a man’s cloak placed on a tree branch that shadows them from the siesta-time sun as three of them play cards. With gold coins having flitted into the hat on the ground of one of the players, the other two majos study their hands – each with an expression of concern. It is darkly humorously revealed to the cartoon’s viewer that accomplices standing behind two players are sending signals to a third player about the unsuspecting victims’ cards. The Card Players thus concludes Goya’s 10-part cartoon series of scenes of country life for the tapestries in the dining room of El Pardo for the princes of Asturias.


Between 1775 and 1792, Goya painted more than 60 cartoons for the Royal Tapestry Factory located in Madrid since 1720 (it moved to its present site by the main train terminal in the nineteenth century). Like its older counterpart in Paris, the Gobelins, the Royal Tapestry Factory supplied the Spanish royal court with tapestries which were among the most prestigious objects owned by them. By the late eighteenth century, large tapestries were hung in palaces mainly for decoration where Goya’s contemporary scenes illuminated newly-built Bourbon rooms at El Escorial and the dining room at El Pardo. That the Prince and Princess of Asturias hung tapestry scenes about the hunt – an activity that was the future Carlos IV’s passion – or about peasant life had, by 1775, already been the fashionable choice for the ruling class for around two hundred years. For Goya’s designs to display the artist’s playfully sensuous invention joined with a dark and ironically humorous wit—along with the candid appreciation of the modern scene based on first-hand observation (especially the costumes) as well as using stock social characters doing things that can intelligently impress and amuse a royal audience and their guests—makes these disposable cartoons the more remarkable. The fact that they were retrieved largely intact from the basement of a Madrid royal palace nearly a century after Goya’s death and are to be found taken care of today in the Prado makes being able to study them firsthand almost miraculous.


On Goya’s cartoons:;

Goya, Robert Hughes, Knopf, New York, 2003.

On tapestries:;

©John P. Walsh. All rights reserved. No part of this material may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by an means, electronic  or mechanical, which includes but is not limited to facsimile transmission, photocopying, recording, rekeying, or using any information storage or retrieval system.




ENCOUNTERING MAILLOL: A Contemporary Photographic Essay of “Enchained Action”on the Woman’s Board Grand Staircase of The Art Institute of Chicago. (34 Photos).

Text and photographs by John P. Walsh.


In September 2016 the Musée Maillol re-opens in Paris following its unfortunate closure due to poor finances earlier in the year. Under the new management team of M. Olivier Lorquin, president of the Maillol Museum, and M. Bruno Monnier, chairman of Culturespaces, the museum’s new schedule calls for two major exhibitions each year which will look to honor the modernist legacy of the artist, Aristide Maillol (French, 1861-1944) and the museum’s founder, Maillol’s muse, Dina Vierny (1919-2009).

This photographic essay called “Encountering Maillol” is constituted by 34 photographs taken by the author in The Art Institute of Chicago from 2013 to 2016 of the artistically splendid and historically notable sculpture Enchained Action by Maillol and random museum patrons’ reactions when viewing it. The impressive bronze female nude from 1905 stands almost four feet tall atop a plain pedestal which greets every visitor who ascends the Grand Staircase from the Michigan Avenue entrance. Enchained Action is one of Maillol’s earliest modernist sculptures and is doubtless filled by a dynamism not encountered anywhere else in his oeuvre.1

Modelled in France in 1905 by a 44-year-old Maillol who by 1900 had abandoned Impressionist painting for sculpture (first in wood, then in bronze) Enchained Action is one of the artist’s most impressive early sculptures. From the start of his sculptural work around 1898 until his death in 1944, the female body, chaste but sensual, is Maillol’s central theme. What can be seen in Enchained Action expresses the intensity in his early sculptural work which is not found later on—particularly the artist’s natural dialogue among his experimental works in terracotta, lead, and bronze each of which is marked by an attitude of robust energy expressed in classical restraint and modernist simplicity. Enchained Action exhibits Maillol’s early facility for perfection of form within a forceful tactile expression which deeply impressed his first admirers such as Maurice Denis (1870-1943), Octave Mirbeau (1848-1917) and André Gide (1869-1951) and cannot fail to impress the museum goer today.2 By force of this new work in the first decade of the twentieth century, Maillol started on the path of becoming an alternative to and, dissonant heir of Auguste Rodin (1840-1917).3

Maillol’s early sculptural work is important for what it is—and is not. Modeled around three years after he completed his first version of La Méditerranée in 1902 in terracotta and for which his wife posed—a major modernist achievement of a seated woman in an attitude of concentration—and whose radically revised second version was exhibited at the 1905 Salon d’Automne, Enchained Action forms part of Maillol’s revolution for sculpture starting around 1900. Maillol made a radical break with neoclassicism and stifling academicism with its strange blend of realism and mythological forms—and with a rising generation of young sculptors such as Joseph Bernard (1866-1931), Charles Despiau (1874-1946) and Antoine Bourdelle (1861-1929)—blazed a new path for sculpture. Except for Maillol, all these young sculptors worked in menial jobs for Rodin. Because of Maillol’s chosen artistic distance from Rodin’s work, Maillol did not need to react to it and so rapidly achieved his own new style as soon as 1905, the year of Enchained Action.

Maillol’s concept and primary approach to the beauty of the human body was to simplify and subdue forms. This pursuit began in early 1900 and advanced until the artist’s first time outside France on his trip to Greece in 1908 with Count Kessler (1868-1937). An important early sculpture—Recumbent Nude, 1900—was cast with the help of his lifelong friend Henri Matisse (1869-1954). This friendship had ramifications for the Art Institute’s Enchained Action in that it was purchased from Henri Matisse’s son, art dealer Pierre Matisse in 1955 right after his father’s death. While it would prove quaint for The Art Institute of Chicago to install Maillol’s limbless torso of Enchained Action on The Grand Staircase to pay homage or evoke the Louvre’s Winged Victory or Venus de Milo, it is historically significant so to embody Maillol’s artistic outlook in 1905 for his new sculpture, of which Enchained Action is an example. In the years between 1900 and 1908, Maillol searched beyond realism and naturalism to create sculpture with an abstract anatomical structure that jettisoned the sign language of physical gestures which are emotional and where limbs could be problematic for Maillol’s end design. The human torso of Enchained Action foregoes limbs and head to alone embody and convey the artist’s import for it.4

On The Art Institute of Chicago’s Grand Staircase Enchained Action displays Maillol’s sensitive surface modeling capturing human flesh’s animation and sensual power more than its suppleness as found in Italian masters such as Bernini. The difference serves the Maillol’s purpose for his subject matter. The torso is differently pliant—toned, muscular, and strident. It displays the humana ex machina whose stance and posture express the modern hero’s defiance and whose nakedness retains the beauty uniquely imbued in the female human body. Enchained Action is a different work altogether than every work Maillol modeled and cast up to 1905. His art progresses in experimentation by its direct interface with politics. Enchained Action is not only an artwork but a political artwork where Maillol empowers both spheres. For today’s viewer who reacts to nudity in art with the shame of eroticism, they may see (or avoid seeing) its sprightly breasts, taut stomach, and large buttocks of Enchained Action only in that mode.  The museum limits such visitors to this narrow viewpoint because they do not explain to them Maillol’s artful technique, conceptual artistic revolution by 1905, or unique political and socioeconomic purpose for this imposing artwork in plain view.

With an aesthetic interest established for Enchained Action—for it signals a break with the artistic past and the birth of modern sculpture in its abstraction – a question is posed: what are the political and socioeconomic purposes for this work? Its original and full title reveals a radical social implication: Torso of the Monument to Blanqui([En] Chained Action). Abbreviated titles—and such appear at The Art Institute of Chicago, The Metropolitan Museum of Art (Torso of Chained Action) and in the Jardin des Tuileries in Paris (L’Action enchaînée)—neatly avoids or even voids the sculpture’s original radical social message. Maillol’s Enchained Action is dedicated it to the French socialist revolutionary Louis Auguste Blanqui (1805-1881).

In 1905 Maillol’s Enchained Action was a public monument honoring the centenary of Blanqui’s birth and consolidation of the French socialist movement that same year into the Section Française de l’Internationale Ouvrière (SFIO), a single leftist political party that was replaced by the current Socialist Party (PS) in 1969. Given this background a visitor may simply stare at or bypass the torso but perhaps for reasons of politics rather than eroticism. The title omission—first promoted by André Malraux in 1964 for the Tuileries’ copy—does disservice to Maillol’s accomplishment and its full title should be restored. The Metropolitan has an incomplete title but on thee label includes information on  Blanqui and clearly states their version was cast in 1929. The Art Institute of Chicago’s casting date for the torso is obscure. For a better appreciation of the artwork, familiarity with its social and political historical context is important to locate the intended nature of the energy expressed in it. Torso of the Monument to Blanqui ([En] Chained Action) is a figure study of a strident naked female torso and an expression of radical politics in France at the turn of the last century.

By 1905 Maillol’s new sculptural work attracted important collectors. Rodin introduced Maillol that year to Count Kessler at the Paris gallery of Ambroise Vollard (1866-1939) and to other progressive writers, art critics, and painters. Maillol’s work was a new art form for a new century. It was in 1905 that Paris friends, among them Anatole France (1844-1924), Georges Clemenceau (1841-1929), Gustave Geffroy (1855-1926), Jean Jaurès (1859-1914) and Octave Mirbeau, approached Maillol to persuade the avant-garde artist to accept a commission for the politically sectarian Blanqui monument. It would be a tribute très moderne to a fierce socialist revolutionary but and the entire Blanqui family tradition which had voted to guillotine Louis XVI in the French Revolution and plotted against each ruling regime in France afterwards. Immense confidence was placed in Maillol by these bold turn-of-the-century intelligentsia and by the artist himself who came from a generation that came to believe they were the torchbearers of a new art.

In France public opinion was frequently divided on art matters. When Rodin agreed to Maillol’s commission—he wanted Camille Claudel to do it, but she had become seriously psychotic by 1905—the older sculptor admired and purchased Maillol’s new sculpture—in addition to experiencing his own deep familiarity with the vagaries of creating public monuments. Committee members, by and large left-wing sympathizers, made a favorable impression on Maillol who agreed to do the work. On July 10, 1905, Maillol promised Georges Clemenceau, “I’ll make you a nice big woman’s ass and I’ll call it Liberty in Chains.”After that, Maillol’s new sculpture—a symbolic monument to a political revolutionary erected in October 1908 under protest of town leaders on the main square of Blanqui’s native village of Puget-Théniers in the south of France—became the subject of unending intense scrutiny. How to respond to a large and powerful standing figure, tense and in motion where human struggling is borne to the edge of absorbing mute serenity by restraint of chains symbolizing Blanqui’s thirty years in jails by successive French governments?6 In the first ten days of working on the new commission, Maillol made three small sketches and two maquettes of an armless torso followed by other preliminary work. He finished a final clay version in 1905 whose contemplative intimacy reflected socialist Jean Jaurès’s agenda for political life: “We are inclined to neglect the search for the real meaning of life, to ignore the real goals—serenity of the spirit and sublimity of the heart … To reach them—that is the revolution.”7 Sixty-five-year-old Rodin whose critical judgment of the new sculpture which undertook to streamline art forms to the point of austerity against Rodin’s “monstrous subjects, filled with pathos” remarked tersely on Enchained Action.8 Although Maillol saw this public monument as more reliant than ever on Rodin’s concepts, M. Rodin after seeing it was reported to ambiguously mutter: “It needs looking at again.”9

It may be better to judge Enchained Action inside its historical moment. Former Metropolitan curator Preston Remington (1897-1958) praised his museum’s copy of the torso calling it “splendid” and “impeccable” in its observation of the human form. Yet he concludes that it is “essentially typical” of the sculptor for it “transcends the realm of visual reality.”10 Enchained Action displays none of the delicacy, awkwardness, luminosity, or calm of the artist’s earlier sculptures and predates major developments in Maillol’s oeuvre after 1909 which differs extensively from that of Enchained Action11 and for which is based much of the artist’s legacy, even by 1929 when Remington is writing. Is it fair to identify Enchained Action as “essentially typical” even as it sublimates form?Viewed in 1905—a watershed year for modern art, including an exhibition of Henri-Matisse’s first Fauvist canvases at the Salon des Indépendents and at the Salon d’Automne—Enchained Action became that year Maillol’s largest sculptural statement to date. The commission, while relying on Rodin’s concepts in its depiction of strenuous physical activity—a quality Preston Remington recognized as “exceptional” in the torso and yet as a critical judgment ambiguous as to whether it refers to Maillol’s reliance on Rodin—afforded Maillol further confidence to execute his monumental art after 1905 for which today he is famous. While for Mr. Remington the representative quality of Enchained Action was what he sought for a museum collection, its exceptional qualities in values that are literally not “essentially typical” for the sculptor.

The complete final figure of Monument to Blanqui([En] Chained Action)—and not only the torso that is displayed on the Grand Staircase of The Art Institute of Chicago—depicts a mighty and heroic woman struggling to free herself from chains binding her hands from behind. Both of these “complete” version are in Paris and found in the Jardin des Tuileries and in the Musée Cognacq-Jay. Maillol’s later studies for Enchained Action commenced without its head and legs that expressed a heightened anatomical intensity in place of Rodin-like strife.12 Chicago and New York each have a bronze replica of the torso. The Tate Britain has one in lead. Following the Great War, Maillol’s Monument to Blanqui ([En] Chained Action) standing for 14 years in Puget-Théniers’ town square was taken down in 1922 so to erect a monument aux morts. During World War II fearing that the extant original sculpture would be melted down for Nazi bullets, Henri Matisse purchased it from Puget-Théniers and gave it to the city of Nice. The original bronze was saved and now stands in the Tuileries Gardens in Paris.13


  1. Dynamism not anywhere else in his oeuvre – “Maillol/Derré,” Sidney Geist, Art Journal, v.36, n.1 (Autumn 1976), p.14.
  1. Modeled in 1905 in France –; abandoned Impressionist painting for sculpture – A Concise History of Sculpture, Herbert Read, Praeger Publishers, New York, 1966, p.20; first in wood and later in bronze – Aristide Maillol, Bertrand Lorquin, Skira, 2002, p.33; female body central theme – Lorquin, p. 36; Maillol’s early characteristic perfection of form -Lorquin, p. 38; first admirers – see July 21, 2016.
  1. Wife posed – – retrieved Sept 9, 2015; heir of Rodin – “Maillol/Derré,” Sidney Geist, Art Journal, v.36, n.1 (Autumn 1976), p.14.
  1. Development of Maillol’s early sculpture-see Lorquin, pp. 30-41; purchased from Pierre Matisse in 1955 – July 21, 2016.
  1. In 1964-65, 18 large bronzes were placed in the Jardins du Carrousel, Paris, owing to André Malraux and Dina Vierny, Maillol’s last model- – retrieved July 26, 2016; Metropolitan copy cast in 1929 –; AIC cast date obscure- – retrieved September 8, 2015; Maillol meets Count Kessler – May 25, 2016; torchbearers – Rodin: The Shape of Genius, Ruth Butler, Yale University Press, 1993, p.284; Rodin admired Maillol’s new sculpture- Lorquin, p.52;  Rodin wanted Camille Claudel for commission– Lorquin, p. 55; “make you a nice big woman’s ass…”- quoted in Lorquin, p 56.
  1. Under protest by town leaders – – retrieved September 9, 2015; Blanqui’s thirty years in jails – Clemenceau and Les Artistes Modernes, du 8 décembre 2013 au 2 mars 2014. HISTORIAL DE LA VENDÉE, Les Lucs-sur-Boulogne.
  1. Sketches, maquettes, final version – Lorquin, p. 57-58.; Jaurès quoted in Uncertain Victory: Social Democracy and Progressivism in European and American Thought, 1870-1920, James T. Kloppenberg, Oxford University Press, New York & Oxford, 1986, p. 297.
  1. monstrous subjects, filled with pathos – see, retrieved May 24, 2016.
  1. Rodin quoted in Lorquin, p.59.
  1. “A Newly Acquired Sculpture by Maillol,” Preston Remington, The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, Vol. 24, No. 11, Part 1 (Nov., 1929), pp. 280-283.
  1. Such works as Night (1909), Flora and Summer (1911), Ile de France (1910–25), Venus (1918–28), Nymphs of the Meadow (1930–37), Memorial to Debussy (marble, 1930–33; Saint-Germain-en-Laye) and Harmony (1944) which are composed, harmonious, and monumental nude female figures often labeled “silent” by critics.
  1. Enchained Action was first modeled with arms. The story of how the first limbless final version came about involving Henri Matisse – see Lorquin, p.58.
  1. taken down to erect a monument aux morts – – retrieved September 9, 2015; purchased by Henri Matisse for Nice – Lorquin, p. 59.
final copy DSCN2675

35-Encountering Maillol.

Aristide Maillol’s “Enchained Action” in situ. The torso, cast in bronze, was created in 1905 in France. Following a lengthy but indeterminate time on the Women’s Board Grand Staircase, Maillol’s “Enchained Action” was removed in 2017 by museum curators and placed in an undisclosed location out of public view. In its place at this time can be viewed “Hero Construction” (1958) by Richard Hunt.

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