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SOLD...Portrait of Hortense Mancini, Duchesse Mazarin, c.1670; Circle of Jacob Ferdinand Voet
HORTENSE MANCINI, Duchesse Mazarin (1646 – 1699)
Hortense Mancini, the Duchess Mazarin, was one of five Italian sisters all noted for their great beauty. Two of them became mistress to Louis XIV. Born in Rome in 1646, Hortense moved to France at an early age. Charles II proposed to her while there, but her uncle, Cardinal Mazarin, Chief Minister of France, did not think the exiled English king's prospects were good. In 1661 she was married at the age of fifteen to Armand-Charles de la Meilleraye but escaped her cruel and mentally unstable husband in 1668, seeking refuge in Rome with her sister Marie Mancini, Princess Colonna. Louis XIV declared himself her protector, but she left for England arriving at the Court of Charles II in 1675 and becoming his mistress shortly thereafter. After the death of Charles Hortense was well provided for by King James II, possibly because of her kinship with the new queen, Mary of Modena. She maintained a cultured 'salon' of all the learned men of London. Reputed to have had an affair with the famous poetess Aphra Behn as well as others of both sexes, Hortense was considered an adventuress. She was known for her compulsive gambling, her skill with the rapier, and her inclination to wear men's clothing, but especially for her beauty and wit.

JACOB FERDINAND VOET (1639 - c.1700) was a Flemish painter who made his career in Rome in the second half of the 17th century.
He was an expert portrait painter who combined solid Flemish professionalism with stylistic features from French and Italian Baroque portraiture.
Little is known of Voet's early life in Antwerp. He arrived in Rome in 1663, probably via France. Voet became a much sought-after portrait painter to the Papal court and the Roman aristocracy. Certain Englishmen who visited Rome on their Grand Tour, also commissioned Voet to paint their portraits. Voet specialized in half-length portraits, in which all attention is concentrated on the subject, who emerges from a neutral, dark background. He was a sophisticated master of his medium, painting with an effortless accuracy and a fluid ease. Voet's subjects tend to have a reflective expression. Usually they have very striking, memorable eyes, always large and evocative.

Oil on canvas
SIZE: canvas 28 x 23 inches
PROVENANCE: Italian Private Collection
Ref: 8482
This item has been sold

SOLD...Portrait of a Lady c.1650 by Theodore Russell
Oil on canvas.

A very attractive example of the small-scale portraits, often of the Society beauties of the time, that became very fashionable in the mid 17th century. They are usually very Van Dyck influenced in mood and presentation; sets of these can be found in many great houses such as Knole, Knebworth and Woburn as well as in the Royal Collection.

THEODORE RUSSELL (1614-1688/9) is considered to be the painter of these portraits, although there is no certain evidence to support this. Russell's father had left Bruges in 1573 and settled in London, working as a goldsmith. Theodore studied under Cornelius Johnson and Sir Anthony Van Dyck, becoming employed by such patrons as the 3rd Earl of Essex and the 1st Earl of Holland. He was said to be 'a lover of ease and his bottle'
This item has been sold

SOLD....Portrait of a Lady c.1675 by a Follower of Sir Peter Lely
Oil on canvas.

A strong and pleasing image by an artist as yet unidentified but very strongly influenced by Sir Peter Lely; the drapery is depicted in a flamboyantly painterly manner, with a real enjoyment in the handling of the medium. The sitter is wearing the fashionable 'undress' of the period and has a direct and rather provocative look.

SIR PETER LELY (1618-80) was the dominant Court and Society portraitist of the reign of Charles ll, noted for the sensual way he portrayed many of the female members of the permissive Court. Lely was appointed Principal Painter to the King in 1661 and knighted in 1680; his influence on portraitists of the time was profound.

PROVENANCE; a Kent private collection.
This item has been sold

SOLD...Portrait of a Midshipman c.1810; Circle of Sir Thomas Lawrence
Oil on canvas in original Neo-Classical frame.

SIR THOMAS LAWRENCE (1769-1830) was the most remarkable British portrait painter of his day. He became an Associate of the Royal Academy in 1791, Member in 1794 and President in 1820. In 1792 he was made Painter to the King. Lawrence's work epitomised the Regency style.

This sensitive yet bravura portrait of a young Royal Naval officer painted during the Napoleonic War is typical of Lawrence's dramatic style; the background a windswept cloudiness, the sable curls on the forehead, the parted lips and brilliant eyes which were to indicate 'the more private sensibilities of the heart'.
Lawrence overcame the restrictions of the head and shoulders portrait by infusing it with a dynamic and sensual movement - a sense of drama for dramatic times.

This is apparent in every aspect, from the turn of the sitter's neck and the tousled 'Classical Roman' hairstyle - all revealing the debt to, and interest in, Classical sculpture and form which defined the taste of the age. This is a memorable painting of a very young naval officer whose chosen career was one of great danger.
There is an urgency to the image and the unspoken drama that the sitter conveys is intensified by the lowering, stormy sky, and the picture communicates a romantic sensibility that can truly be labelled Byronic.

PROVENANCE: a private collection.
This item has been sold

SOLD...Portrait of a Young Boy c.1770; Circle of Francois-Hubert Drouais
Oil on canvas in a splendid gilt frame (19th century but in the French Court style of the 1770s).

The good looking boy is dressed in the fashionable clothes of aristocratic children of the period and, holding his violin, turns away from his book of minuets to look at the viewer.
His rather thoughtful gaze and slight smile enhance the charm of this beautiful portrait.

FRANCOIS-HUBERT DROUAIS (1727-1775) trained under Boucher and was strongly influenced by his style; he became a rival to Nattier as a fashionable portraitist. His portraits have a gracious and slightly artificial charm redolent of the French Court.
Painting mainly the aristocracy, he was particularly successful with children, but his best known portrait is probably that of Madame de Pompadour, mistress to Louis XV.

SIZE: 26.75 x 22.25 inches canvas
37 x 31 inches inc. frame
PROVENANCE: French Private Collection
English Private Collection
VERSO: Three old French Customs stamps.
Two stamps:- ' ******** Gallery.
Alexander *****os Museum'

Ref: 8483
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SOLD...Portrait of a Young Boy c.1680; Circle of Nicholas Maes
Oil on canvas in giltwood frame.

Nicholas Maes was a real children's artist; of all the 17th century Dutch artists active in this genre he was undoubtedly the most productive and influential.
This portrait, by a Member of his Circle, is beautifully executed and has great charm. It is unusual in being a form of double portrait and that the sitter does not look at the viewer.
The attractive young boy looks away from us and seems to be showing the painting he holds to someone at his side. The portrait is almost certainly that of his deceased father and there is pride in the way the child shows the image and meets the gaze of the unseen viewer.
There is no cheap sentiment here - perhaps a touch of sadness, but the boy is strengthened by his pride of family and self.
This is an exquisite painting that treats the youthful sitter with respect and sensitivity.

NICHOLAS MAES (1634 - 1693) A pupil of Rembrandt in 1648, by the 1650s he had a reputation for painting the intimate life of women and children. In the 1660s, however, Maes began to turn more to portraiture, and after a visit to Antwerp around the middle of the decade his style changed dramatically and the fashionable portraits he now specialized in were closer to Van Dyck than to Rembrandt. In 1673 he moved permanently to Amsterdam and had great success with this kind of picture. So famous did he become it was considered a privilege to have one's portrait painted by Maes.

SIZE: 26 x 18.5 inches canvas
32 x 24.5 inches inc. frame
PROVENANCE: Private Collection, France
Private Collection, England

Verso: 19th c. handwritten inscription in French - brief biography of Maes.
Handwritten old inventory number.
Ref: 8486
This item has been sold

SOLD...Portrait of a Lady c.1710; English School
Oil on canvas in Victorian giltwood frame.

An English School painting showing strong signs of the influence of Sir Godfrey Kneller, Painter to the Royal Court and the most fashionable artist of his time.
This provincial portrait was probably painted by one of the many itinerant artists of the early 18th century who went from town to village painting the local lesser gentry and prosperous tradespeople.
Clearly this unknown artist was aware of Kneller's style and that the feigned oval was the height of fashion.
Although this artist did not have a great talent, this is a very pleasing slightly naive portrait and redolent of its period.

SIZE: 30 x 25 inches canvas
37.5 x 32.5 inc. frame
PROVENANCE: By descent in a Berkshire family.
Ref: 8487
This item has been sold

SOLD....Portrait of Catherine Sedley, Countess of Dorchester (?) c.1690, by John Closterman
Oil on canvas in Lely pattern gilt frame.

An extremely high quality portrait thought to be of Catherine Sedley; the sitter bears a very strong resemblance to a portrait of 1685 by Kneller at Kedleston Hall. (See Plate 96 'Painted Ladies. Women at the Court of Charles ll'. Published by the National Portrait Gallery).
As was the fashion the sitter is shown wearing her most informal garments, known as 'undress' yet she wears a diamond brooch and holds what seems to be a diamond necklace. (Until the 19th c. all diamonds were flat or table cut and thus appear as black gems in portraiture). One can only presume there was some significance in their depiction...perhaps relating to her engagement or marriage which occurred around this time.

CATHERINE SEDLEY, Countess of Dorchester, Countess of Portmore (c. 1657 – 26 October 1717), daughter of Sir Charles Sedley, 5th Baronet, was the mistress of King James II both before and after he came to the throne.

She was created Countess of Dorchester for life in 1686, an elevation which aroused much indignation and compelled Catherine to reside for a time in Ireland. In 1696 she married Sir David Colyear, Bt., who was created Earl of Portmore in 1703, and she was thus the mother of Charles Colyear, 2nd Earl of Portmore. She died at Bath on 26 October 1717, when her life peerage became extinct.

By James II, Lady Dorchester had a daughter Lady Catherine Darnley (d. 1743), who married James Annesley, 3rd Earl of Anglesey, and after his death married John Sheffield, 1st Duke of Buckingham and Normanby. Through Catherine, her daughter by her first husband, she was the ancestress of the Barons Mulgrave and of the Mitford sisters.

JOHN CLOSTERMAN (1660-1711), born in Osnabruck, settled in London in !681. He worked with John Riley until the latter's death in 1691.
By the 1690s Closterman was rediscovering earlier influences, especially the extravagant, textural, French manner he learned in Paris under François de Troy. He was adept at fashionable baroque poses, with rather showily painted draperies.
Closterman’s sense of theatre and his mastery of colour explains his appeal to a broad clientele, from nobles like the Dukes of Somerset and Marlborough to Sir Christopher Wren and Henry Purcell, the geniuses of the age.

SIZE: 58 x 47.75 inches inc. frame.
PROVENANCE: Private Berkshire Collection for many years
Ref: 8492
This item has been sold

SOLD....Portrait of Sir Maximilian Norris; Manner of Robert Peake
SIR MAXIMILIAN NORRIS (also known as Norreys) was a relative of Henry Norreys, Keeper of the King's Privy Purse, who was executed in 1536 for alleged adultery with Queen Anne Boleyn.

Maximilian was one of five brothers who campaigned in Ireland and on the Continent against the Spanish; he was killed fighting in Brittany in 1593.
The present representatives of the Norris family are the Berties, Earls of Abingdon.

This painting dates from c.1800 (the frame dating from that period) and is a copy of a lost 16th century original. It is typical of much Elizabethan portraiture in it's iconic feeling, use of symbolism and the fashionable poetic melancholic appearance of the sitter, who wears the 'sable harness' or black armour also in fashion at that time.

Upper right the copyist has misspelt the knight's name as 'Maximisian' and upper left has incorrectly copied the Latin inscription as 'His Aut Nullis', which should read 'Hic Aut Nullus'. One can only presume the inscriptions on the original were indistinct.
Beneath the sitter's name can faintly be discerned an overpainted inscription.

The symbolism of the hand, sword and armillary sphere is interesting.
The use of the armillary would suggest that the sitter was linked to the Court of Elizabeth l; it was much used there, especially by the Queen, as a symbol of constancy and (specifically) Protestant religious fidelity.
The sword and hand represent military valour in pursuit of these virtues and the Latin translates as 'Without this, nothing'.

ROBERT PEAKE the Elder (c. 1551 – 1619) was an English painter active in the later part of Elizabeth I's reign and for most of the reign of James I.
Peake was the only English-born painter of a group of four artists whose workshops were closely connected. The others were De Critz, Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, and the miniature painter Isaac Oliver. Between 1590 and about 1625, they specialised in slightly 'stiff feeling' portraits that are unique to England at this time. It is not always possible to attribute authorship between Peake, De Critz, Gheeraerts and their assistants with certainty.

SIZE: 45 x 41 inches inc frame.
PROVENANCE: Collection of a Lady of Title.
Ref: 8493
This item has been sold

SOLD....Portrait of a Lady c.1816, by George Henry Harlow
Oil on canvas in giltwood frame.

The attractive young lady, dressed in the height of fashion of the Regency period, looks out at the viewer with great poise and composure.
She proudly displays the rings on her left hand, leading one to believe this is almost certainly a portrait painted to commemorate the sitter's wedding or engagement.
This high quality portrait is executed with all the grace and sensitivity for which Harlow's paintings of women are renowned.

GEORGE HENRY HARLOW (1787-1819), was a highly-regarded English portrait painter.
He was born in St. James's Street, London, on 10 June 1787 and was for a short time at Westminster School, but having shown a predilection for painting, he was placed under Henry De Cort, the landscape-painter. He next worked under Samuel Drummond, A.R.A., the portrait-painter, but after about a year entered the studio of Sir Thomas Lawrence, P.R.A.
Harlow determined to devote himself to painting, he remained for about eighteen months in Lawrence's studio, copying his pictures, and occasionally drawing preliminary portions of Lawrence's own productions. A difference about Harlow's work for one of Lawrence's pictures led to a breach with Lawrence.

Young, headstrong, and impatient of restraint, with a handsome person and amiable disposition, he was generally popular in society. He worked, however, with industry and enthusiasm in his art.
He exhibited for the first time at the Academy in 1804, sending a portrait of Dr. Thornton. In later years he exhibited many other portraits; his portraits are well conceived, and, though much in the manner and style of Lawrence, have a character of their own. His portraits of ladies were always graceful and pleasing.

In 1818 Harlow visited Italy for the purpose of studying the old masters. At Rome his personal gifts and accomplishments made him the hero of the day. He was elected a member for merit of the Academy of St. Luke at Rome, a most unusual distinction for an English artist, and was invited to paint his own portrait for the Uffizi gallery of painters at Florence. His artistic progress in Italy was remarkable, but on his return to England on 13 Jan. 1819 he was seized with a glandular affection of the throat, which proved fatal on 4 Feb.
He was in his thirty-second year. He was buried under the altar of St. James's, Piccadilly, and his funeral was attended by the eminent artists of the day.
Many of his portraits have been engraved, and those of James Northcote, Fuseli, Thomas Stothard, William Beechey, John Flaxman, and others are highly esteemed. His own portrait, painted by himself for the gallery at Florence, was engraved for Ranalli's Imperiale e Reale Galleria di Firenze.

SIZE: 39 x 34 inches inc. frame
PROVENANCE: Sussex private collection.
Ref: 8497
This item has been sold

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