A lesson in knowing your art!

I was trawling the internet today, looking for subjects to include in my next blog, and I came across this painting on a UK auctioneer’s website.


I immediately recognised him as Sir William Killigrew, uncle of the artist Anne, who featured in a recent blog entry. This is clearly a later copy of Van Dyck’s original, now held at the Tate Gallery:


It’s definitely the same man, isn’t it? Or perhaps not, according to the gallery which sold the first picture as “A French Cavalier”. A cavalier, maybe, but certainly not French! It’s listed as a portrait by the 19th century English school.

I know we should give smaller auctioneers some leeway when attributing paintings, especially when they may not be specialist in a particular era or genre, but the Van Dyck is hardly an obscure or unknown picture. Perhaps if they’d known they were selling an admittedly poor copy of a Van Dyck original of a member of a well known English family, rather than some random French bloke, they may have got more than £190 for it!

Leave a comment


  1. It most certainly is him! I recognised the painting seeing it here, too. Didn’t remember the sitter’s name, but that painting is in the Van Dyck in England catalogue, isn’t it?

    I had this happen years back with a large local auction house. They had an 18th century pastel miniature listed as being of Louis XV. It was recognisably a young George III, and the miniaturist in question (can’t remember the name, he was French) had worked in England and portrayed members of the royal family. If I could find that from the Encyclopaedia Britannica, why couldn’t they, so called art professionals?

    (I wrote to tell them. Because.)


    • Good for you telling them! I’d have mailed these guys if the sale was still current and not a few years ago!


      • Isn’t it maddening when it’s too late to be worth letting them know? I always have to resist the urge online. “So what if this blog is five years old, they’re wronnnnnnnnggggggg!”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

NT Knole Conservation Team Blog

An insight into the weird and wonderful life of a National Trust Conservation Team at one of England's greatest houses.

Cryssa Bazos

17th Century Enthusiast

Warring Words

Writing about the English Civil War

Painted Eloquence

An art history blog

%d bloggers like this: