Portrait, traditionally identified as Admiral Robert Blake ...

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Oil on canvas in 18th century gilt frame.

Originally an oval, this portrait has been mounted onto a rectangular canvas, possibly in the 18th century as that is the date of the frame. The inscriptions dates from the same period.
Roughly translated the Latin inscriptions mean " Died in 1657,in his 59th year" and "Blake the victor of the seas. First Cromwellian admiral of the ocean."

ROBERT BLAKE (1598-1657)was one of the most important military commanders of the Commonwealth of England and one of the most famous English admirals of the 17th century, whose successes have "never been excelled, not even by Nelson" according to one biographer. Blake is recognised as the chief founder of England's naval supremacy, a dominance subsequently inherited by the British Royal Navy into the early 20th century. Despite this, due to deliberate attempts to expunge the Parliamentarians from history following the Restoration, Blake's achievements tend not to receive the full recognition that they deserve.
In a letter written on 17 April 1797, to Admiral Sir John Jervis, Admiral Lord Nelson wrote "I do not reckon myself equal to Blake". He ranked Robert Blake as one of the greatest Naval Generals ever known, even when compared with his own reputation.
Blake died of old wounds on board his flagship within sight of Plymouth.
After lying in state in the Queen's House, Greenwich, he was given a full state funeral and was buried in Westminster Abbey in the presence of Oliver Cromwell and the members of the Council of State (although his internal organs had earlier been buried at St Andrew's Church, Plymouth).

ROBERT WALKER (1599–1658) was an English portrait painter, notable for his portraits of the Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell and other distinguished Parliamentarians of the period. He was influenced by Van Dyck, and many of his paintings can now be found at the National Portrait Gallery, London.

SIZE:36 x 31 inches inc. frame.
PROVENANCE:Private Collection.
VERSO: trade label of Frost and Reid of London and Bristol, restorers, with the handwritten number 4226 and the date 10.11.47.
Old storage label for Cox and Co. of Burnham on Sea.

SOLD....Portrait of an Officer 1917, by Leon ...

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Oil on canvas in gilt frame. Signed and dated 'Leon Sprinck 1917', lower right.

A good and insightful portrait of a British army captain painted during World War One; in 1917 the war had a year to run.
The sitter wears the red hatband and tabs of an officer of the General Staff but, to judge by his decorations he had seen action, as amongst their number is the D.S.O.
(The Distinguished Service Order was awarded for meritorious or distinguished service by officers of the armed forces during wartime, usually in actual combat. It is typically awarded to officers ranked Major (or its equivalent) or higher, but the honour has sometimes been awarded to especially valorous junior officers. 8,981 DSOs were awarded during the First World War, each award being announced in the London Gazette.)

The identity of the young officer is unknown as is whether he survived the Great War.

LEON SPRINCK was a fashionable artist of Russian stock, he painted many aristocrats and members of the gentry. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries he exhibited at the Royal Academy, London, the Royal Hibernian Academy and the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool. He lived at Portland Place in London.

SIZE: 39 x 34 inches inc. frame.
PROVENANCE: Collection of a retired army officer, Westmoreland country house.
Verso; old storage label " A & N.C.S.L. No.25. Mrs. Wickham April 1972".

SOLD....Portrait of a Lady in Blue c.1720; ...

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Oil on canvas in fine period carved and giltwood frame.

A good early Georgian portrait utterly redolent of its period; the lady's hair is in the latest mode and her clothing the daring 'undress' favoured for portraiture at this period.

SIR GODFREY KNELLER (1646-1723) was the most distinguished painter of baroque portraits in England.
Born in Lubeck, he trained with Bol and Rembrandt, coming to London in 1676.
By 1679 he had painted the King and remained the most famous and successful portrait painter in England until his death.
In 1688 he was made Principal Painter to the King and was knighted in 1692 and a made a baronet in 1715.
His style had a profound influence on British portraiture and a large number of artists, many very talented in their own right, emulated his fashionable style.

SIZE: 38 x 33inches inc. frame.
PROVENANCE: English Private Collection.

Portrait of Lady Elizabeth Southwell (nee Cromwell) ...

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Oil on canvas in gilt cassetta frame.
An intimate small portrait of the young Elizabeth.
Lady Elizabeth Cromwell (c.1672-1709) was the only daughter of Vere Essex Cromwell of Oakham, 4th Earl of Ardglass and his wife Catherine Hamilton.
When her father died in 1687, she claimed the title of 8th Baroness Cromwell of Oakham, although his Earldom and Viscountship became extinct; she was ranked with the Peeresses at the funeral of Queen Mary II and the coronation of Queen Anne, but her claim appears to have been a mistake.
Whether she was entitled to succeed her father depends on how the barony was created. A barony by writ descends to an only daughter, if a baron has no sons; a barony by patent follows the rule of descent given in the patent - normally to the male heirs of the grantee, which would exclude daughters.
The Barony of Cromwell has a patent, granted in 1540 to Gregory Cromwell, 1st Baron Cromwell of Oakham (and his heirs male), son of Henry VIII's Minister Thomas Cromwell, after his father's fall and execution. But the antiquarian William Dugdale had claimed in the 1670s that there was also a writ summoning Gregory Cromwell as Baron Cromwell, dated 28 May 1539. Although he gives a text of the writ, the form is not standard, and no writs at all are recorded as being issued on that day - the first day of Parliament, and so rather late to summon men to attend it; the Complete Peerage conjectures that Dugdale saw a reference to Lord Cromwell in the proceedings of the Parliament, deduced that it meant the son - not the father - and supplied the writ he assumed must exist.
Elizabeth married Edward Southwell, Secretary of State for Ireland, in 1703, a year after the death of his father, Sir Robert Southwell; their son Edward Southwell did not call himself Baron Cromwell of Oakham. Her grandson inherited the much older and more distinguished Barony of Clifford as its 20th holder.
(The fourth image is of Lady Southwell in later life).
SIR GODFREY KNELLER (1646-1723) was the most distinguished painter of baroque portraits in England.
Born in Lubeck, he trained with Bol and Rembrandt, coming to London in 1676.
By 1679 he had painted the King and remained the most famous and successful portrait painter in England until his death.
n 1688 he was made Principal Painter to the King and was knighted in 1692 and a made a baronet in 1715.
His style had a profound influence on British portraiture and a large number of artists, many very talented in their own right, emulated his fashionable style.
SIZE: 19 x 15.75 inches inc. frame.
*Private Collection, Devon.
*With Roy Precious Fine Art.
*Private Collection, Sussex.
VERSO: indistinct inscription on the stretcher "Lady Southwell By ........"

SOLD....Portrait of a Lady c.1660; Circle of ...

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Oil on canvas in a veneered ogee frame surmounted by the sitter's coat of arms.

The sitter is depicted in the Arcadian landscape so fashionable at the time [Arcady, or Arcadia, was the mythical land where beauty, innocence and joy reigned].
Unusually, the sky is depicted as stormy and dark, but this serves only to emphasise the serene beauty of the young woman who appears radiant against the darkness.
The sitter is as yet unidentified, [the arms are not those of the Thorolds], so it seems most likely that she married into that family in the mid 17th century.

JOHN MICHAEL WRIGHT (1617-1694) was one of the most successful native English artists of the seventeenth century. With earlier contemporaries such as Robert Walker and William Dobson, he was one of only a few English painters to find favour amongst the top echelons of society. At the height of his fame, he styled himself ‘Pictor Regius’ [The King’s Painter]
His career was all the more remarkable in an era when patrons continued their traditional preference for foreign artists, as they had done from Holbein to Van Dyck.
Wright’s success lay in his uniquely diverse artistic background and training. Although born in London, he first trained in Scotland under George Jamesone. He then left for Italy and stayed in Rome for a decade from 1642, working amongst contemporaries such as Poussin and Velazquez. In 1648 he became a member of the Academy of St Luke. He returned to London in 1656, after having spent time in France and Flanders. No other English artist before Wright had travelled and studied so extensively on the Continent.

SIZE: 46 x 38 inches canvas
60 x 47 inches framed inc. crest.

Syston Hall, Grantham [demolished in 1923] the former seat of the Thorold family. (NOTE: the fifth image shows Syton Hall in the early 20th c)
By descent to John Thorold.

Verso: a damaged handwritten 19th c. label: "Gertrude Sophia Caler... From: ...Wharton Ing...dle"

SOLD......Portrait of a Young Boy c.1750; Studio ...

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Oil on canvas in distressed gilt frame.

This beautiful little portrait has an intimate and jewel-like quality.
The aristocratic sitter, a good-looking boy of about eight wearing a military uniform, surveys the viewer with a level gaze.
The eighteenth century was a period of almost constant warfare across Europe and the Prussians were frequently involved, culminating in their alliance with the British to defeat Napoleon at Waterloo.
A boy of the sitter's class would almost certainly have been engaged in these conflicts, exchanging his play uniform for a real one as an officer.
What his future held will never be known to us, but now, 260 years later, this beautiful little boy, proudly wearing his uniform, looks confidently into our eyes, caught in a moment of time...forever young.

The frame is not the original but is of considerable age, as can be especially seen in the image of its back.
It dates from around 1810. By the end of the 18th century framemakers had begun using 'composition' or 'compo', this had the benefit of being easier to work than wood and thus kept down costs.

This frame is Louis XV (1710-1774) in style and therefore, stylistically, is correct for this mid 18th c. portrait. What happened to the original frame will never be known.
The idea behind this style of frame was that the bold, massy decoration gives great weight to the containing corners, especially on a small portrait, and the depth of the frame itself acts a strong setting for the painting in the way that a heavy gold setting sets off a jewel.

ANTOINE PESNE (29 May 1683 – 5 August 1757) was a French-born court painter of Prussia. Starting in the manner of Baroque, he became one of the fathers of Rococo in painting.

Born in Paris, Pesne first studied art under his father, the painter Thomas Pesne and his great-uncle, Charles de la Fosse. From 1704 to 1710 he received a stipend for advanced training at the Académie Royale in Italy, visiting Rome and Naples before settling in Venice. In 1707 his portrait of the Prussian ambassador to Venice attracted the attention of Frederick I of Prussia, who invited the painter to Berlin.
Pesne arrived in 1711 and was soon made court painter, quickly establishing a great reputation for his portraits of the leading aristocracy.

In 1710, he was called to Berlin by King Frederick I of Prussia.

As the director of the Berlin Academy of the Arts from 1722, Pesne became famous through his portraits of the Prussian royal family and their household. Many of his portraits hang in Berlin Museums and in Charlottenburg Palace. These include (among others) his portraits of the first two kings of Prussia and Frederick Williams family.

Pesne's portraits provide a vivid illustration of the spirited courtly culture of Prussia at the time; the have the lightness of touch and rich colour which are the hallmarks of the Rococo.
In addition to his state portraits of the powerful Pesne produced a number of more informal, intimate portraits often of his family.

SIZE: canvas 9.5 x 8 inches.
Framed size: 18 x 10. 25 inches.
PROVENANCE: English Private Collection.


SOLD....Portrait of a Gentleman c.1665; Attributed to ...

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Oil on canvas laid on board, unframed.

A good quality painting typical of Borsselaer's work, his portraits always show a seriousness and concern for individual character.

Here the sitter has been depicted with a thoughtful and melancholy expression intended to convey the idea that this man is sensitive and serious...a man who perhaps wrote poetry in his leisure hours (as many gentlemen did). This was a desirable and fashionable image at the period.
To be thought of by one's peers as shallow..a mere fop.. was social death.

He is expensively dressed 'a la mode' and his large costly wig also shows his status.
All together, this is a portrait which tells a great deal about the social mores of the time, and in particular of the way this man liked to be perceived.

PIETER BORSSELAER (active 1644-1687).
A Dutch Roman Catholic, a portrait and history painter. He married at Goes in 1644 and was in England 1664-1679 before returning to Holland where he worked at The Hague and Middelburg.
An example of his work is the Tate Gallery, London.

SIZE: 36 x 28 inches

PROVENANCE: a Somerset Private Collection for many years.

SOLD....Portrait of a Lady 1931, by Flora ...

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Oil on canvas, signed and dated upper right.

A superb and insightful portrait of a young woman, relaxed and lost in thought.

FLORA LION 1876–1958
Portrait, landscape and genre painter and lithographer.
Born 3 December 1878 in London of an English father and a French mother; married Ralph P. Amato, who adopted her name, in 1915. Studied at St John's Wood School of Art 1894, the R.A. Schools under Sargent, Clausen, Solomon J. Solomon and Arthur Hacker 1895–9, and at the Académie Julian in Paris under J.-P. Laurens 1899–1900.
Member of the R.O.I. 1909, the National Portrait Society 1910 and the R.P. 1911; exhibited at the R.A. from 1900. Awarded the Silver Medal of the Société des Artistes Français 1921 and the Gold Medal 1949. Died in London 15 May 1958.

During the First World War she was commissioned to paint factory scenes of the home front, two of which are in the collection of the Imperial War Museum, London. Among her later commissions were a group portrait of a young Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, Duchess of York flanked by two cousins; a portrait of the wife of the Spanish ambassador, for which she received the Silver Medal, 1921, from the Société des Artistes Francais; the suffragette Flora Drummond (1936); the celebrated conductor Sir Henry Joseph Wood (1937); and, a second time in 1940, Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, by then queen-consort to King George VI.

She received the Gold Medal from the Société des Artistes Francais in 1949.
Her work is in the National Portrait Gallery, the Tate Gallery and others.

Published in:
Mary Chamot, Dennis Farr and Martin Butlin, "The Modern British Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture", London 1964.

SIZE: 30 x 25 inches unframed.
PROVENANCE: Private collection, an East Anglian Elizabethan country house.


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Oil on canvas of Anne Babington of Rothley Temple, Leicestershire, painted in 1645 during the Civil War (1642–1651).
Inscription upper right 'Aet. 29. Ano 1645' (Aged 29 in 1645).

ANNE BABINGTON (born Anne Hopkins) was born in 1615, youngest daughter of Sampson and Jane Hopkins, marrying Matthew Babington in 1634. She bore her husband twelve children of whom seven survived; her last was still born and she died with the child.
A poignant monument to the Babingtons in Rothley Parish Church commemorates her death. Touchingly, the effigy of Matthew reaches across a skull to hold Anne's hand, symbolising a love greater than death.

There are many other monuments to the family, as Rothley was home to the Babingtons from the 1560s to 1893 when ownership of their house Rothley Temple passed to the Merrtens family. The house still stands, now known as Rothley Court, it has been an hotel since 1960.
Rothley Temple originally belonged to the Knights Templar from 1203, then the Knights Hospitaller until their supression in the 1560s.

Daniël Mijtens (Delft, c. 1590 – The Hague, 1647/48), known in England as DANIEL MYTENS the Elder, was a Dutch portrait painter who spent the central years of his career working in England. He was born in Delft into a family of artists and trained in The Hague, possibly in the studio of Van Mierevelt. His influence in England was considerable.

SIZE: canvas 44 x 39 inches
PROVENANCE: by descent through the Babington family.


SOLD...Portrait of Sophia-Dorothea, Princess of Celle: Continental ...

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Portrait of Sophia-Dorothea of Celle (Zeel) 1666-1726.
Oil on canvas, inscribed 'S. de Zeel' and bearing the pre-1707 English Royal coat of arms.

Sophia-Dorothea was the only child of George William of Brunswick-Celle and Eleanore d'Olbreuze. In 1682 she was married, aged sixteen, for political and dynastic reasons, to her cousin George of Hanover, who later became King of England. She bore him two children, one of whom became George ll of England. This marriage was a very unhappy one; Sophia was hated by her mother-in-law the Electress of Hanover and these feeling were soon shared by George himself.
George was a coarse and boorish man with no interest in the arts and literature which appealed to his wife. It was under these circumstances that Sophia met the dashing cavalry officer Count Philip Christophe von Konigsmark of Sweden; he assisted her in two futile attempts to escape from Hanover and, rightly or wrongly, was regarded as her lover.
Through the political machinations and intrigues of the Countess von Platen, her father-in-law's long term mistress and Konigsmark's spurned lover, Sophia and Konigsmark were betrayed. On 1 July 1694 Konigsmark disappeared and was never seen again; it was rumoured throughout Europe that George had ordered his wife's lover to be hacked to death, and many years later a mutilated skeleton was discovered buried beneath George's palace of Herrenhausen.

What really shocked the nobility of Europe was George's treatment of Sophia; she was divorced, forbidden to see her children again and then imprisoned in the Castle of Ahlden for the rest of her life.
She was twenty-eight and was to remain locked away for another thirty-two years until her death. As Sophia died of fever she raved at the cruelty and wickedness of her husband; George was so incensed he refused to allow her name to be inscribed on her coffin.

Sophia-Dorothea's tragic life has been made into an Oscar winning film 'Saraband for Dead Lovers' (1948) starring Stewart Granger as Konigsmark and Joan Littlewood as Sophia; also at least three novels, including the best seller 'The Princess of Celle' by Jean Plaidy.

SIZE: 37 x 28 inc. frame

SOLD....Portrait of Thomas Robinson; 17th c. English ...

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Oil on canvas in good quality 18th c. carved and giltwood frame; the sitter painted within a feigned oval.

Bears the inscription 'Thomas Robinson of Rookby Park in the County of York Esq' below the Robinson coat of arms.
To the bottom left the numeral '4' (probably an old inventory number). Upper left, faintly visible, another Robinson armorial bearing, painted over.

Before buying Rokeby from Sir Thomas Rokeby in 1610 the Robinsons lived for generations at the White Hall, Kendal. Rokeby Park (which is actually just across the Yorkshire border in County Durham) was rebuilt in the 18th c. as a Palladian mansion.
In the 19th c. Sir Walter Scott wrote his epic ballad 'Rokeby' there.

THOMAS ROBINSON was born in 1590, son of William and Mary Robinson (daughter of Thomas Hill of Thornton, Yorks). He had a brother John (who became Vicar of Burminster, Yorks) and a sister Catherine (who married firstly Percival Philips and secondly Richard Smith).
Thomas married at Rokeby in 1621, his wife was Francis, daughter of Leonard Smelt of Kirkby Fleetham, Yorks; they had eight children.
Thomas was a barrister and in the Civil War he supported Parliament, believing right was on their side.
At his own expense he raised the Private Parliamentary Army; in June 1643 he was killed by the Royalists in a skirmish at Leeds. Presumably this was in the build-up to the Battle of Adwalton Moor near Leeds on June 30 when the Earl of Newcastle's army smashed the Parliamentary forces under Sir Thomas Fairfax.

SIZE: 36.5 x 31.75 inches inc. frame

CONDITION:In good uncleaned 'country house condition' with a soft, mellow colour caused by the slight yellowing of the old varnish. Old relining, some small areas of old retouching to forehead and the left of the breastplate. Moderate craqueleure.

PROVENANCE: by descent through the family
VERSO: old label 'John Perfect Esq, Bovevagh, Great Missenden, Bucks'.

Height: 36.5 in. (92.71 cm)
Width: 31.75 in. (80.64 cm)


Portrait of a Lady of the Popham ...

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An attractive and colourful image of a young lady of fashion.
The first Littlecote House was built during the 13th century. A medieval mansion, it was inhabited by the de Calstone family from around 1290. When William Darrell married Elizabeth de Calstone in 1415, he inherited the house. His family went on to build the Tudor mansion in the mid-16th century. Henry VIII courted Jane Seymour at the house; her grandmother was Elizabeth Darrell.
Sir John Popham bought the reversion of Littlecote, and succeeded to it in 1589; he built the present Elizabethan brick mansion, which was completed in 1592.
Elizabeth I, James I, Charles II, and William of Orange stayed there, William on his march from Torbay to London in the Glorious Revolution. Popham's descendants, the Pophams and (from 1762) the Leyborne Pophams owned the house until the 1920s. The Leyborne Pophams refurbished much of the house in 1810. They retained it until 1929, when the house was purchased by Sir Ernest Wills, 3rd Baronet.
In 1985 the house was sold to Peter de Savary and the house contents, including this portrait of a Popham lady, were sold by Sotheby's at a three day sale.

WILLIAM WISSING also known as Willem Wissing, (1656 - 1687), was a Dutch portrait artist.

He was born in either Amsterdam or The Hague, and studied at The Hague under Willem Doudijns (1630–97) and Arnoldus van Ravestyn (1615–90). In 1676, he moved to England, where he studied with and assisted Sir Peter Lely.
After Lely's death in 1680, Wissing emerged as his most important pupil. Godfrey Kneller was the only contemporary portrait artist in England to rival Wissing. Wissing’s royal sitters include Charles II of England, Queen Catharine of Braganza, Prince George of Denmark and James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth.
In 1685, James II of England sent Wissing to the Netherlands to paint portraits of his Dutch son-in-law and daughter, the future William III of England and the future Mary II of England. Wissing died in 1687 at the peak of his fame as a portrait painter, at Burghley House, the home of Algernon Capell, 2nd Earl of Essex outside of London.
He was buried in St Martin's Church, Stamford, Lincolnshire.

SIZE: 37.5 x 32 inches inc. frame.

*By descent in the Popham family.
*Sotheby's sale, The Contents of Littlecote House, Wiltshire, 20-23 November 1985.
*Private Collection.