Portrait, traditionally identified as Admiral Robert Blake ...

Item Ref

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 ...

Item Ref

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".

Portrait of a half clad Lady; 1950s ...

Item Ref

Oil on hardboard in gilt frame.

The young woman looks out from the canvas, apparently lost in thought, her flimsy blouse undone.
The unknown artist has painted this with panache and a painterly delight in using the medium.
The portrait is signed but the signature cannot be made out; it has an eastern European look...possibly Hungarian.
SIZE: 30 x 22.5 inches inc. frame.
PROVENANCE:Sussex Private Collection.

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

Item Ref

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) ...

Item Ref

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 ........"

Portrait of Three French Aristocratic Children c.1690; ...

Item Ref

Oil on canvas in 18th century giltwood frame.
A superb quality large 17th century portrait of three children of the French nobility. Such is the splendour and expense of their fashionable clothing that the girls may be princesses, especially as a young gentleman kneels before them. Possibly some of Louis XIV's numerous progeny sired on his several mistresses. Louis legitimised these children and they all received titles.
On the reverse of the painting is a very faint inscription which seems to read "Children of Louis 14th by Pierre Mignard".
The painting has been reduced in size and changed from rectangle to oval, probably in the late 18th century,as that is the date of the frame, whether because of damage or for a decorative purpose is not known.
PIERRE MIGNARD (1612-1695) was a member of a family of artists, he was a painter in the classical French Baroque manner, known primarily for his court portraits.
In 1635 Mignard left the studio of Simon Vouet for Italy, where he spent 22 years and made a reputation that brought him a summons to Paris in 1657. Successful with his portrait of Louis XIV and in favour with the court, Mignard pitted himself against Charles Le Brun; he declined to enter the French Royal Academy, of which Le Brun was the head, and he organized the opposition to its authority.
Mignard was chiefly active in portraiture; many of the beauties and celebrities of his day sat for him, including Molière, the Viscount de Turenne, Jacques Bossuet, the Marquise de Maintenon, the Marquise de Sévigné, and the Marquise de Montespan. His skilful technique and graceful arrangements are noteworthy.
With the death of Le Brun (1690), Mignard succeeded to all the posts held by his opponent. These late honours he did not long enjoy. He died while about to commence work on the cupola of the Hôtel des Invalides. His brother Nicolas Mignard (1606–68) and his nephew Paul Mignard (c. 1638–91) were also accomplished painters.

SIZE: 56.00inch framed height 44.00inch framed width (142.24 cm framed height  111.76 cm framed width)
PROVENANCE: Collection of Maria Carmela, Viscountess Hambleden of Hambleden Manor, Buckinghamshire since the 1950s.
This portrait was selected by John Fowler, of Colefax and Fowler, in the 1950s, for Hambleden Manor, home of the Viscountess Hambleden.
It hung there until July 2013 when the countess moved to a smaller property on the estate. The decoration and furnishing of Hambleden Manor is regarded as one of Fowler's earliest major achievements.
(Image 10 shows Hambleden Manor)

Inscribed verso; "Children of Louis 14th by Pierre Mignard".(?)


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

Item Ref

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"

Portrait a Young Lady in Red c.1700; ...

Item Ref

Oil on canvas in a period carved and giltwood frame.

The sitter looks to be about sixteen years old, which means she would be on the marriage market at that time.
She holds a bunch of flowers in her lap, which signify two things. Firstly, they are a symbol of fecundity and future fruitfulness at a time when the main purpose of an aristocratic woman was to produce a son and heir.
Secondly, they are a reminder of the transience of youth and of life itself, especially when this period was one with a high mortality rate.
She sits on a terrace overlooking a garden, behind her and beneath her left arm is a costly silk fabric trimmed with gold lace.

SIR GODFREY KNELLER (1646-1723) studied under Ferdinand Bol, and perhaps Rembrandt himself in the 1660s. He was in Rome and Venice between 1672 and 1675, settling in England in 1676 for life. He was soon employed at Court and became the most successful portraitist of the generation following Lely. He enjoyed the office of Principal Painterto the King, at first jointly with John Riley (d.1691), from shortly after the accession of William and Mary in 1688 until his death. He was knighted in 1692 and became a baronet in 1715.
His work fully expresses the spirit of the English Baroque and had a profound impact on English portraiture with many artists copying his style.

SIZE: 56 x 46.5 inches inc. frame.
PROVENANCE:Yorkshire Private Collection.

Portrait of the Countess of Radnor, 17th ...

Item Ref

Fine quality oil on canvas in he original 17th century carved and giltwood frame.
This portrait, possibly by Lely's Studio, is after the three-quarter length version by Lely and Studio, at Lanhydrock House, Cornwall. As the sitter was considered a great beauty in her time, several portraits of her exist.
This particular pose was much in vogue and was associated with a fashionable melancholy and deep, sensitive thoughts.

She was the daughter of Sir John Smith, or Smythe, of Bedborough, Kent and his wife, Isabel Rich, youngest daughter of Robert Rich, 1st Earl of Warwick and Sidney's 'Stella'. They had four sons and five daughters, including the Hon. Francis Robartes (?1650-1718), the composer and scientist, whose portrait by Kneller is at Lanhydrock and Laetitia Isabella Robartes, who married firstly, in 1669, the 2nd Earl of Drogheda, and secondly, around 1679, the playwright William Wycherley. After the death of the Earl of Radnor at his celebrated house (previously Danvers House) in Chelsea, the sitter was married, as his second wife, to her Chelsea neighbour Charles Cheyne, 1st Viscount Newhaven (1625-98).

Lady Robartes, as she then was, was described by Pepys as "a great beauty indeed", and she is also the subject of a celebrated story in the Memoirs of Count Grammont. According to the latter, she momentarily excited the desires of James, Duke of York, when: "in the zenith of her glory. Her beauty was striking". But her husband resisted all the bribes to connive with his being made a cuckold, until he was finally forced to take her off on a pilgrimage to St. Winifred's Well, which was said to cure women of barrenness, and: "did not rest until the highest mountains in Wales were between his wife and the person who had designed to perform this miracle in London".

SIR PETER LELY (1618 - 1680) was the most important portraitist in the reign of Charles ll, although he had painted portraits throughout the Commonwealth, Principal Painter to the King, he painted everyone of importance, maintaining a busy and active Studio to help with the huge demand for his portraits. Members of his Circle, and his Followers, many of them talented artists in their own right, emulated his style to supply this constant market.

SIZE: 38 x 33 x 2.25 inches framed.
PROVENANCE: London Private Collection

Portrait of James FitzJames, Duke of Berwick ...

Item Ref

Oil on canvas in a fine quality carved and giltwood reproduction 17th century frame.

JAMES FITZJAMES, 1st Duke of Berwick, 1st Duke of Fitz-James, 1st Duke of Liria and Jérica (21 August 1670 – 12 June 1734) was an Anglo-French military leader, illegitimate son of King James II of England by Arabella Churchill, sister of the 1st Duke of Marlborough.
His father was a recent convert to Catholicism and Fitzjames was schooled at a succession of Catholic colleges in France between 1677 and 1686. After his education he shuttled between Britain and the armies of the Holy Roman Emperor Leopold I, fighting in what is now Hungary and Austria.

Following his father’s accession to the throne, Fitzjames was made Duke of Berwick upon Tweed, and appointed Colonel of the 8th Regiment of Foot and the Royal Horse Guards. When Prince William of Orange landed in 1688 to seize the English throne, the 18-year-old Berwick fled to France, seeking refuge at the royal court of King Louis XIV.

Berwick served in James II’s unsuccessful campaign in Ireland, commanding the cavalry on the Jacobite right wing at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690. He took temporary overall command of the Jacobite force until being recalled to France in January 1691. Berwick volunteered for service in the French campaign in the Low Countries, but was captured at Landen in 1693 by another of his uncles, George Churchill. In 1696, after his release from captivity, he secretly visited England for a week to foment a rising against William III.

After his first wife’s death, Berwick spent time touring Italy in 1698. He married again in 1700 and became a naturalised French subject in 1703. Berwick was appointed commander of the French force sent to Spain to assist Louis XIV’s grandson, Philip V. On his arrival in Spain in 1704, he was also made captain-general of Spain’s army and a Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece.

In 1706 Berwick was made a Marshal of France and sent to Spain again, retaking Madrid and Lerida and inflicting a crushing defeat on Galway’s force at Almanza on the Spanish coast. A French cavalry assault destroyed or captured all but 5,000 of Galway’s 22,000-strong force. Philip V rewarded Berwick with two Spanish dukedoms before he left Spain to campaign in northern France.
Berwick found it difficult to co-operate with the French general Vendome and in 1709 he shifted theatre again, this time to France’s border with Piedmont and then to Flanders and Spain once again. In 1715 James II’s legitimate son, James Stuart, the ‘Old Pretender’, landed in Scotland, triggering the First Jacobite Rebellion. He appointed Berwick Captain-General of the Jacobite forces in Scotland. However, the French King forbade Berwick from taking up the post. Berwick campaigned one last time in Spain in 1719 but had largely fallen from favour in both the French and Jacobite courts. His final command was of the French forces sent across the Rhine in October 1733. Inspecting the siege works at Philippsburg, he was killed by a cannon ball on 12 June 1734.

JOHN MICHAEL WRIGHT (May 1617 – July 1694) Described variously as English and Scottish, Wright trained in Edinburgh under the Scots painter George Jamesone, and acquired a considerable reputation as an artist and scholar during a long sojourn in Rome. There he was admitted to the Accademia di San Luca. He took up permanent residence in England from 1656, and served as court painter before and after the English Restoration. A convert to Roman Catholicism, he was a favourite of the restored Stuart court, a client of both Charles II and James II. In the final years of the Stuart monarchy he returned to Rome.

SIZE: 50.5 x 41 inches inc. frame
PROVENANCE: *Collection of James H. Van Alen, New York.
*Private Collection, England.


Portrait of a Lady in White 1906 ...

Item Ref

Oil on canvas in a part gilt frame.
Singed and dated 1906 lower right.
A striking Edwardian portrait of a lady of the early 1900s sitting relaxed in a wing chair.
The treatment of the material is done in a very free manner with a real painterly enjoyment in the use of the medium.

MARGARET KEMPLAY SNOWDEN was born in Leeds, Yorkshire in 1878, (died 1965), the Kemplays and the Snowdens being old, prosperous Yorkshire families. Her parents were Richard Kempley Snowdon, MA Oxon (Clergy), Head Curate of St Johns, Leeds, and Mary Louisa Milnes-Wright, born Collingham, Notts.
Called Margery by the family Margaret exhibited from 1918 to 1938.

Painted in 1906 when Margaret was 28, and 12 years before she started exhibiting, it is likely that the sitter in this portrait was a member of the Kemplay Snowden family, perhaps one of her sisters - Lilla Mary or Ethel Cooper.
In 1881 Margaret lived with her family at 10 Grove Terrace, Leeds - moving to Ledsham Vicarage by 1891 and Harrogate by 1901. Her father had died in 1896 and Margaret and her three sisters were unmarried. Mary Louisa remarried Fairfax Rhodes in 1916.

The London Gazette of 2 Jul 1965 has an entry for Margaret's death for 28 Apr 1965. She was living at Thornecliffe, Lansdown Road, Cheltenham and is described as "Spinster". There is also a BMD record of her death as Margaret K SNOWDON in 1965 in Cheltenham.

SIZE:43 x 35 inches inc. frame.
PROVENANCE: Christie's sale 1996.
Private Collection, London.

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

Item Ref

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.