Mr Brune

This mysterious portrait has just arrived online. It’s attributed to Gilbert Jackson, and the sitter is identified only by a hand-written name on the back of the canvas. Sadly nothing is known of Mr Brune, but from the richness of his clothing, and the fact that he could afford to commission a portrait, he must have been a man of some wealth and importance.


The seller has very helpfully provided larger images, including a close-up of the beautifully painted lace, something I know our clothing-expert readers will appreciate.  I’d also be fascinated to know whether his nose was always that crooked or if someone else broke it….!




It’s currently selling for £6,500 on Ebay, but I’m afraid if you’re seriously interested in bidding and live in Russia, you’ll have to collect it yourself….

Mr Brune on Ebay


I’ve done some quick research and found the below portrait of Charles Brune of Athelhampton, by Sir Peter Lely (©National Trust). Could he be the same man? The nose certainly fits! The first portrait, if a confirmed Jackson, would probably date to around the 1630s/1640s, whereas the Lely was painted c.1660-1665. What do readers think?

Charles Brune

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  1. Ian Hadlow

     /  November 7, 2018

    You will be happy to know that this lovely portrait did not end up in Russia – it’s in now in Sydney, Australia, where the mysterious Mr Brune will be gently (expertly) restored, researched and hopefully returned, by donation or sale, to an appropriate English collection.

    Preliminary research, using the fine clothing as a date guide, leads me to believe Mr Brune was likely to be John Brune of Athelhampton in Dorset, who died in 1645/6, aged 23. His only child, a daughter, Mary, married Sir Ralph Bankes, Knight of Corfe Castle, who later built the [very beautiful ] baroque house of Kingston Lacy, now within the National Trust. This probably explains how the exquisite portrait of Charles Brune (John’s younger brother and Mary’s uncle) by Sir Peter Lely came to be part of that collection. Charles Brune would have been the closest male family figure to Mary, after her father’s death in her infancy. There is certainly a family resemblance in the nose!

    If you would like me to send further updates as more is revealed, as well as images of the conservation process, please don’t hesitate to ask.


    • Thank you for the update! How wonderful that he’s going to get some TLC and hopefully a new home! It really is a lovely picture and I’d like to see it restored to its proper condition. Any news or pictures would be very kind, and much appreciated. 🙂



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