I’ve been studying ECW painting for about 15 years (it’s all Colonel Gerard’s fault, but that’s another story…) and along the way I’ve collected copies of as many soldier portraits  as I can find from the period. What I now have is a fascinating scrapbook of paintings, many of which have an unidentified or uncertain sitter or artist. I’ll post them up here and hopefully readers will be able to offer suggestions as to who they might be, or by.  Likewise, if you’ve found a picture you can’t identify, let me know and I’ll put it up on the site. You can get in touch via the comments beneath each post.

First on the list is this gentleman:

(c) National Trust, Wimpole Hall; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation
©National Trust, Wimpole Hall, Cambridgeshire

The title of the painting is given as “Portrait of a Man (wrongly said to be Sir Thomas Chicheley, 1618-1699)”, and attributed to John Hayls. The date is unknown.

The National Trust entry says the following:

The sitter in this portrait has always been traditionally identified as Sir Thomas Chicheley, who was a member of one of the wealthiest families in Cambridgeshire. He was a zealous Royalist, who was heavily penalised during the Commonwealth. His ruinous extravagance forced him to sell Wimpole, where this picture now hangs. However, in the absence of any provenance or other evidence to support the identification of this painting as of Sir Thomas Chicheley, it must be regarded as a portrait of somebody else. The baton held by the sitter suggests that he held an actual military command. The painting used to be attributed to Sir Anthony Van Dyck. The pose was certainly used by him, but the picture looks later.

Compare with this one by William Dobson, also said to be of Sir Thomas Chicheley. (Apologies for the poor quality but I only have a black and white image available. I’m also unable to add a source, as I believe it was auctioned in 1992 and its whereabouts are unknown).

Thomas Chicheley
“Sir Thomas Chicheley”, possibly c.1642-1645

I can’t see any resemblance, and as the Dobson is more certainly attributed as Chicheley, I think the NT is right to doubt the identity of the other one. Any thoughts?

Neil Jeffares

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