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!

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7 Comments

  1. Best wishes to Mr Dobson from downunder! ::waves from hospital::

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  2. Reminds me (sorry, I’m full of post-op drugs) do they know what Mr Dobson passed from?

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    • There’s no record of his actual death, just the burial, so we don’t know when or how he died. One author claimed it was consumption, but didn’t give any source. Given the poor living conditions in Oxford, added to his alleged party-lifestyle, it could be anything. Consumption is a good bet, I think.

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      • Consumption makes total sense. It can lurk so long before killing someone robust. Louis XIII of France contracted it when he was about twenty, and it was twenty years before he succumbed to it, along with a host of other ailments.

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