On This Day…..

I couldn’t let today pass without marking the 370th anniversary of the passing of William Dobson.  On 28th October 1646, the King’s former court painter, now returned home from Oxford following the defeat of Charles and his royalist supporters,  was buried at his home church of St Martin in the Fields, London. He was just 36 (or 35, depending on which calendar you use).

William Dobson

It’s quite fitting that the likely place of his burial is almost certainly within sight of the National Portrait Gallery, where some of his works now hang. The church has changed, and the St Martin’s Lane he lived on altered far beyond his recognition, but head up to Room 5 of the NPG and you’ll find some wonderful works by one of the Lane’s most talented residents. I wonder what he would have thought to see his own paintings on the walls of a national institution, so close to his home, alongside those of the great Van Dyck, and portraits of the King who undoubtedly changed the direction of his life.

I hope he’d be pleased!


Lady With An Ermine

No,  not Da Vinci’s lady and her pet!  This is another eBay find, offered up by the same people who presented Lady Middleton for sale back in June. (See blog entry “Lady Who?”).


This  new canvas is entitled “Portrait of a lady with an ermine cape”, and is attributed, thanks to an inscribed plaque and an old label, to Lady Middeton’s claimed painter, Sir Peter Lely. For a supposed  work of the great Sir Peter, our lady in ringlets is going surprisingly cheap, with a ‘buy it now’ price of  £4,500. There are no hints as to the sitter’s identity, sadly.

I’m not convinced by the attribution, although it’s a very sweet painting, but I’d like to know its provenance, and why persons unknown were so certain of the artist. What do readers think of this one?

Click to view on Ebay

Update 5th October: I’ve had a dig around the internet to try to find out more, and Artnet.com has listed it from a past auction as ‘follower of Sir Peter Lely’, which I think is more accurate (and honest) than the sale listing on eBay.

Neil Jeffares

Fairness, candour & curiosity – from finance to art history

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