portrait of a lady c1665 attributed to jacob huysmans

Portrait of a Lady c.1665; Attributed to Jacob Huysmans.



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Oil on canvas in a magnificent 19th century frame.
The frame bears a gilt label attributing the portrait to Sir Peter Lely; in the 19th century many portraits were miss-attributed to Lely and Kneller. Fine artists like Huysmans, Dahl, Richardson etc were forgotten until later scholarship and research 'rediscovered' them.
The sitter, more than likely a lady of Queen Catherine's court, is depicted in the mythical realm of Arcady, a fashionable conceit of the time. Arcady, or Arcadia, was a mythological land, home of the god Pan, where love and peace reigned.
At the centre of Arcady is the Garden of Love where a figure of Cupid sits atop a fountain.
The lady's dog, a King Charles spaniel very fashionable at the time, laps at the water.
The fountain makes an allusion to her potential as a wife and mother, recalling Proverbs, chapter 5, verse 18 "Let thy fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of thy youth".
The spaniel, as well as being a fashionable accessory, also represents faith and trust.
There is little doubt that this portrait represents a celebration of the young lady's forthcoming marriage.
JACOB HUYSMANS (c.1633–1696) was a Flemish portrait painter. He moved to England during the reign of Charles II where he became one of the fashionable painters of the court. His chief portraits are those of Izaak Walton and Catherine of Braganza, Charles II's wife (both displayed in the National Portrait Gallery, London)
He was born into a family of artists in Antwerp. He was the uncle of Jan-Baptiste and Cornelis Huysmans. He learned to paint from Gilles Backereel and Frans Wouters and moved to England, where he later influenced David des Granges (1611–1675). His first works were pastiches of work from Anthony van Dyck. As a Roman Catholic he was favoured by Catharine of Braganza. When Samuel Pepys visited his workshop in Westminster on 26 August 1664, he described him as a 'picture-drawer ... which is said to exceed Lilly" (Lely). Huysmans's most important portrait of Catharine of Braganza, Queen Catharine as a Shepherdess (c. 1664; Brit. Royal Col.), was one of the pictures Pepys saw on that occasion. Painting his female subjects as shepherdesses with clothing embellished with embroidery and jewellery were typical of his style.
Huysmans’s exuberant style was particularly favoured by Charles II’s Portuguese wife, Queen Catherine. He often depicted female subjects in the guise of religious or classical figures and laid particular emphasis on the interplay of light, colour and contrasting textures; crumpled satin against porcelain skin, or glossy ringlets interwoven with pearls.
Huysmans’s handling of paint and application of colour, often manipulated to prettify his female subjects, is redolent of the Italianate, Van-Dyckian style. His hand can often be identified from his high-keyed colours, reddish lights prevailing in the flesh tones, and smooth, glossy finish. Furthermore, his work displays a similar poise and grandeur - evident in the art of Italian Guido Reni and the seventeenth-century Bolognese school - which so appealed to the Catholic taste of Queen Catherine. Huysmans especially relished painting the rich colours and textures of sumptuous courtly attire, favoured by the most fashionable at court.
Huysmans died in Jermyn Street, London, in 1696, and was buried in St. James's Church in Piccadilly.
SIZE: 63.75 x 53.5 x 5.25 inches framed.
PROVENANCE: Latterly in the collection of an aristocratic family.
Verso: A 19th century label 'G.E. CLIFFORD, Picture Restorer. Successor to Mr. E. Facon Watson' and a later, but old, label 'John King, dealer in Works of Art, 83 Renhaw Street, Liverpool.'
Internal Ref: 9061


Height = 162 cm (64")
Width = 141 cm (56")
Depth = 13 cm (5")

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