Photo credit: Essex County Council
This clearly appears to be at least 'style of' Sir Peter Lely, and that should probably be reflected in the Art UK listing. Another possibility is John Michael Wright, Lely's chief rival, but their styles are similar enough to be confused, so this could still be classified as style of Lely.
The Collection has added: 'The phrase 'style of Peter Lely’ does appear in our database so I slightly surprised that this wasn’t presented to Art UK for the original listing. In terms of actually crediting an artist more confidently we would of course be very pleased to have a more widespread search conducted and to identify if there is a confident link with Wright instead.'
Personally I find John Michael Wright an unlikely candidate for this portrait. The style is too fluent and broad in the Lely manner. Wright was a more detailed painter of textile and fabric and his compositions, although impressive, can appear fussy and uncoordinated. The discreet ermine suggests a sitter of high aristocratic status- maybe a royal mistress?
Agreed. The portrait is both British of the period yet un-British at the same time. Note the ermine bottom left.
The lady may be shown in the guise of the goddess Hebe, given the ewer and the drinking vessel she holds. She might be a royal mistress, but if so one would tend expect more pronounced décolletage.
The picture was purchased from Ilford, Ltd in 1960. Does the collection have any more provenance information?
I suppose one could consider John Riley, but this is probably a little early for him, and he was more of a man's painter.
The pendant pearl and the scallop(?) shell of water held steadily in the left hand perhaps suggest a virtuous aristocratic daughter rather than a 'royal mistress': pearls are usually associated with chastity, mirror-like water with virtue and the scallop shell is a Christian symbol of salvation. All rather Catholic of course, but that might be relevant too.
As it happens, Wright was a Catholic convert. I would favor that this is not a courtesan but an aristocrat.
I thought you might like to see this painting from a 2008 Christie’s auction.
“William Wissing (Amsterdam 1656-1687 Burleigh)
Portrait of a Lady, believed to be Lucy Walters (1630?-1658), seated three-quarter length in a landscape, with a spaniel”
It is attributed to Wissing but was previously attributed to Peter Lely. Note the same curly blond hair, the same yellow dress cutout on the sitter’s left side. The castle in the background might be Welsh.
Note the provenance:
“H.R.H. The Princess Royal; her sale, Christie's, London (as by Sir P. Lely).
with Leggatt Brothers, London.
Nelson & Eloise Davis, Toronto;
Anonymous sale, Christie's New York, 6 March 2002, lot 164. Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.”
Note, too, the “lot essay”
“Lucy Walters (Waters) was the daughter of a Welsh royalist who went into exile in The Hague with Charles II's court. She became the mistress, firstly of Colonel Robert Sidney and then of Charles II. She was bribed by Charles's friends to return to England and was arrested in London in 1656 as a spy. She was exiled to Holland and later died in Paris. It was widely rumoured that she and the King had married, something which he strenuously denied.“
On reflection may be we should keep John Michael Wright in the frame as a possible candidate. More likely than Wissing or Riley.
Does the ermine at the left help to identify the status of the sitter?
To me-the style of John Michael Wright -Jacinto's links- is totally different.Different colour pallette as well--just my eyes I suppose.
The buildings in our painting do not look British at all.
The Pearls ( Pieter)are whoppers,linked with Ermine (Jacob)- are we looking at a Royal offspring?? legitimate or otherwise? She does have a Royal sort of face to me.Resemblancewise.
The vase is like nothing I am familiar with. Might it be etched glass?????
Lucy Waters-Marcies link- has a similar style,but i don't think it is the same person,sitterwise.
Are we sure that this is not by a Contiental artist , given the style and nature of the landscape background? Possibly Flemish or south Dutch - and could this be of a political or religious exile? The symbolism needs exploring
I read that the scallop shell is associated with baptism.
“The seashell, especially the scallop, is the symbol of baptism in Christianity. The baptismal font is often shaped like a scallop, or decorated with one. The dish used by priests to pour water over the heads of catachumens in baptism is often scallop-shaped. The scallop, too, is the symbol for the Apostle James the Greater.”
If this is Mary Waters, her illegitimate son with Charles II was named James.
The scallop shell filled with water could symbolize her pregancy.
The Dutch engraver Crispijn (van) de Passe (1594/1595 - 1670) has a series of the four elements. His water engraving might be the source of inspiration for the mystery painter:
The unusual pottery water jug could be Delft - Dutch.
Marcie, the Lucy Walters portrait you linked looks rather more like Lely than Wissing to me, and her dates and apparent age in the picture are also more in keeping with Lely.
Louis, to me, Wright's style is certainly not "totally different" from that of this picture, even if it was not painted by him. You are, however, entitled to go with what your eyes tell you.
I see that it states Peter Lely on its frame but was later attributed to Wissing.
For your mystery artist consideration, please see the link to a painting by Sir Godfrey Kneller. It is the same size and the woman is similarly modestly dressed and has a similar expression.
“Attributed to Sir Godfrey Kneller
(Lübeck 1646–1723 London)
Portrait of a Lady, traditionally identified as Lady Mary Wortley
oil on canvas, 131 x 104 cm, framed”
Our picture doesn't look like Kneller to me, Marcie, but others are welcome to express their opinions.
Can anyone tell us who or what Ilford Ltd was or is?
I had assumed it was auction house, Martin, but now I find there was an Ilford Limited photographic company from 1900, although it was specifically not allowed to use the abbreviation Ltd (which the collection may have done on its own). We need input from the collection on the matter.
Ilford Ltd was a maker of photographic material , control of which was achieved by ICI in 1959
It grew out of a business founded in 1879 by Alfred Hugh Harman [1841-1913] . Was Harman a descendant of the lady in our portrait? His wife was the Dublin born widow Nina Knobble. His first photographic business was founded in Peckham in 1862. His firm became The Britannia Works in 1891 , having been based in Ilford from 1879.
R Hercock and G Jones, Silver by the ton. A History of Ilford Limited 1879- 1979, London, 1979 may lead us to other possible families to whom our sitter may have belonged. I suspect that the ermine means that she was a member of the nobility
Is it possible to get a clearer image of the areaon the stone below the water jug? I think it says Wright!
Some of the other words seem to be the same ones as on this example of his signature on Neil Stevenson’s Art Blog.
Does anyone recognize the castle in the background, with a mountain behind it? The third attachment at the top shows it, and clicking on that image will enlarge it.
Also, the scallop in the left hand is catching water from a fountain partly shown at the right edge, with thin streams of water coming from the mouths of faces carved on its sides. What could that signify?
If you are right about a signature being there, Marcie, that would be brilliant. We certainly need a close-up of that area at the highest possible resolution, and the collection could also inspect the area in situ and take relevant pictures.
I would also like to see a clearer image of the space above the sitter’s head. I think her name is there.
I have been enjoying reading Parts 1, 2 and 3 of Neil Stevenson’s Art Blog in which he discusses Wright. Here is Part 2:
I noted his reference to Charles II hiding in an oak tree at Boscobel and it struck me that the large tree in the mystery painting is an oak - notice the shape and colour of its leaves. Does anyone else see the image of a man (Charles II) hiding in the tree above the sitter’s right shoulder?
Here is a reference to Charles II and Boscobel from English Heritage.
Could the building in the background be Boscobel House?
This article noted that “Charles spent some time in a ‘pretty Arbor in Boscobel garden, which grew upon a Mount and wherein there was a Stone Table and Seats about it.’ ”
Please see this detail of Boscobel.
Stevenson also noted that Wright collected shells!
I had not noticed the fountain, Jacinto. It is a painting that is full of surprises.
Another picture by Wright. Note the handling of the tree(s) at upper left, which seems similar to that in our picture at upper right:
Here is the best I could get from the image Art UK currently has.
Thanks for the photos.
An enlarged photo supplied by the Essex Record Office that starts with the bottom of the jug and ends at the bottom edge of the photo would be ideal.
When I enlarge the image on my cellphone I can see many areas of text that are not apparent on my ipad.
There might be text on the fold of the ermine to the left of the jug.
There is text below the sitter’s right hand. I think it states Lady and below that two words. She is possibly pointing to her name.
There are black letters on the lowest left white patch of the jug.
There are words in black on the curving edge of the jug.
There is faint text on the surface of the stone below the jug.
There are words on the first edge of stone, just below the shiny gold area. I read these as Boscobel S***
Then there are several lines in black text below that, starting with the one that seems to be *** Jos: Wrigt p*** ***
Then there is a row of white text.
Then there is a row of text with possibly a date (larger text).
Then three more rows of text.
In that dark smudgy area below that, which I thought was just supposed to be dirt, I see an animal on its haunches, facing to the right, a man’s face (Charles II) in the middle, and some more words.
Compare Touchstones, Rochdale's two paintings of Miss Mary or Ann Butterworth of Belfield Hall, Rochdale, but is their attribution secure? Could all three be by an artist influenced by Wright?
Those who are good with globes might take a closer look at the jug. It might be a silver map of part of the world. On my cellphone image, I can see that the beige patches might be land. There might be a fancy initial about one-quarter way down and words above it. There is what might be a date (or a name) on the far left side, under the sleeve, above and to the left of the darker yellow “island”.
Martin, those Rochdale pictures cannot possibly be autograph Wright. They are quite crude, clearly inferior to ours.
I do not believe that any of them are by Wright
One of the Miss Belfields was radically altered by the painting out of a black servant
There are lots of words and symbols hidden in this painting. I would love to examine it up close. As you are aware, I believe that the sitter is Lucy Walters/Waters.
Two drops of water (one large, one small) are falling towards the deep folds in her lap. This would signify the pregnancy.
I have been examining the area over her heart. I know it will sound strange but I think it is a tiny baby’s head coming out of swaddling clothes over her heart.
The lower right quadrant should be examined. I believe that, where the sitter’s dress enters shadows, there is a portrait of a man looking to the right. He is not Charles II. Notice how the Royal ermine cloak extends down to the man’s head in a pale shimmer. The boy becomes a man and he is Royal.
I think there is text in this painting regarding Lucy’s possible marriage to Charles II. Immediately below the baby I can see W*D. There is text all the way down the small golden drapery that is over her left shoulder.
There is a tiny heart to the right of the jug, above the red robe.
There is text all over the hill beside her right shoulder, above and below the hidden image of Charles II in the tree.
I think the water would normally drain into a basin to the sitter’s left. The basin is covered in text and might represent her tombstone, depending on the date of this work.
There are words in the dark grey section of the sky beside the tree in dark grey with a yellowish hue. I can see a W like Wright uses in his signature.
I looked for Charles II in the tree in the Wissing painting of Lucy Walters/Waters and then realized that he is there - he is the King Charles spaniel dog that she is pointing to. https://www.christies.com/en/lot/lot-5050702
In the long discussion on AD of 2016-19 (https://bit.ly/3qd0GDS) about two paintings of Bower House, Havering, we discovered that Ilford Ltd had purchased the house from the last private owner in 1946, and that the two paintings had apparently been acquired by Essex County Council from Ilford when the house was sold on to the Ford Motor Company in 1960. It was concluded that the paintings most probably came with the house when it was acquired by llford.
A search of Art UK for "Ilford Ltd" (https://bit.ly/35GMaem) produces the two Bower House paintings and nine portraits, one of which is this one, all acquired by Essex CC from Ilford in 1960. Four of the others are identified as members of the Baynes family: John Baynes, Serjeant-at-Law (d.1737) who built the house in 1729, his widow Mary who lived on there for many years after his death, and their daughter Lucy; so it is again pretty likely that the portraits all came with the house, despite it passing through other hands thereafter. Indeed it may have acquired some of the other, unidentified portraits in the group from later owners, notably the Smith, later Smith-Burges family who lived there from 1777 until at least 1804 and probably later. In 1816 the widowed Margaret Smith-Burges remarried into the nobility – her second husband was the 4th Earl Poulett.
Further work is needed to find any other notable families who may have lived in the house while it was in private ownership, and to see if they, or the Baynes, Smith or Burges families, had the sort of status in the C17th one might expect to go with a portrait like this one - and with at least one other https://bit.ly/2TNpXbF, which could be of our sitter’s husband (though they are not a pair).
That is a very helpful reminder, Osmund
I have made the Archive and Collections at Essex County Council aware of the discussion developments, and asked if it is possible to access the painting in order to take close ups from all the areas suggested.
a 1737 inventory of ' the goods of Serjeant Baynes decd at Havering'
is in the Centre for Buckinghamshire Studies D-X1212/32-35
His will dated 7 February 1735 is also there D-LE/7/26
He was married to Mary Beke,youngest daughter of Richard Beke, of Westminster, and of Ford, Dinton, Buckinghamshire [1630-1707][
MP for Elgin and Nairn 1656, Anersham 8 February 1659 , Aylesbury 1589 , and Wendover 1689, 1695 and 1698
Mary's mother, Beke's 3rd wife Elizabeth whom he married in 1684, must be a candidate for our sitter. She died 20 May 1737 , aged 74
Her father was Sir Thomas Lee of Hartwell in Buckinghamshire.
A c. 1722 3/4 length portrait of Mary Beke by an unknown artist is in the Essex Record Office
Could our portrait be a marriage portrait of her mother?
How old is our sitter? She looks very young to me-12 to 14- Anyone else think so?
Marcie- I have noticed also that viewing these images on differing devices yuo can see different things-screen and image software I should imagine- I shall have a look myself.
I don't think that is an earthenware Jug- must be something classy and elite- but I still don't recognise it with certainty.
Yes, I agree Louis. She does look very young - she looks about 18 to me.
My ipad and cellphone seem to add text to the background of coloured areas of all the paintings that I have been examining. It is a bit of a worry and I apologize if some of the areas actually do not contain text. However, some things in this painting are clear: Charles II hidden in the tree, the drops of water, the face in the bottom right corner where the dress is in shadow, and the fact that there is text in many rows on the stone. The silver vase is a complete mystery to me. A map of England and Scotland? Everything in the painting seems to have been placed there very deliberately. I have been thinking that the painting is a bit deceptive - to the casual observer it is a painting of a beautiful young woman at a well. It is more likely detailing the birth of her son.
I suppose, Osmund, it might be a lady of the Poulett family, but that earldom was not created till the early 18th century, though there were Poulett barons from 1627.
There appears to have been plenty going on in Lucy Walters life and plenty going on in this painting.
If we check other paintings of Lucy as an older woman some portraits show her with dark hair and very dark flattened eyebrows.
The Art UK portrait if it is of Lucy shows her as fair with minimal arched eyebrows and a fine angular face.
However there is an engraving titled Lucy Walters with a face similar to that of our young girl, but the colouring again looks darker with dark eyebrows and dark shadow indicated below here lower eyelids.
Lucy is said to have been born around 1630 so when in 1648 she met up with the future King Charles in they would have been the same age. Our painting appears to show a young girl closer to 15 yrs but the Prince Charles did not ascend into his English Oak to escape after the battle of Worcester until 1651. In 1651 both Lucy and her Prince would have been 21 years old.
One Lucy Walter picture which does show a face that matches the Art UK painting more closely is the black and white engraving. Here again she looks darker but the shape of the face is very similar.
In this third painting of Lucy feeding her sheep, the hill in the background has the same distinctive shape as that shown in the background of the Art UK picture.
I cam find little information about the black and white engraving o titled Lucy Walters which I suspect has now been lost.
Using my ipad I noticed that this painting is splattered with white paint .The supposed water spout to the shell is also spatter I think. Carelessly painted ceiling?
This sitter looks to me a bit like a young CharlesI of England. So family resemblance??? Yes I know it's a girl.
Lucy Walters looks like a bit of a Floozie,which our sitter certainly does not.
I had not seen those really detailed references, or those works of art, Howard. I suspect that this painting was the proof that James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth, 1st Duke of Buccleuch (April 9, 1649 – July 15, 1685) had that his parents were in fact married.
Osmund, the mystery painting of a man (“Portrait of a Gentleman in a Long Wig and a Brown Cloak, with a Dog, unknown artist, Essex Record Office”) that you mentioned came from the same manor house purchased by Ilford Ltd. must be James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth, 1st Duke of Buccleuch. The last painting of him in the article about his life that Howard sent is nearly identical.
Louis, I think that the painting is telling two stories. What you see as paint splatter would have been done to make the droplets from the shell to the sitter’s lap less obvious.
There is a man’s face in the ruff of the King Charles spaniel of the Wissing painting of Lucy Walters.
Here are portraits of James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth, 1st Duke of Buccleuch, on the National Portrait Gallery website: https://www.npg.org.uk/collections/search/person/mp03129/james-scott-duke-of-monmouth-and-buccleuch
One of the paintings of James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth, 1st Duke of Buccleuch, is loosely attributed to Wissing.
On the sitter, a member of the families associated with Bower House is most likely as Osmund and Martin suggest. Lucy Walters is so unlikely that she can be ruled out unless an identical documented image can be found. A somewhat similar face is insufficient as evidence.
On hidden inscriptions and hidden symbols, this is most unlikely. Portraits of the time did include accessories like the shell in this portrait but even then they did not necessarily have a meaning as such. Often they were there just to embellish the portrait. The ermine however will probably relate in some way to the sitter.
I just received notification of a Bonhams auction on June 23. Please see lot 57, the London Delftware puzzle jug, circa 1650, and the informative text about pottery of the era.
I agree with you, Louis - the jug in the mystery painting does not appear to be earthenware.
An expert on shells would know more information but note this text on Wikipedia:
"Pecten maximus, common names the great scallop, king scallop, St James shell or escallop, is a northeast Atlantic species of scallop, an edible saltwater clam, a marine bivalve mollusc in the family Pectinidae. This is the type species of the genus. This species may be conspecific with Pecten jacobaeus, the pilgrim's scallop, which has a much more restricted distribution."
I suspect that the jug (actually likely a vase) is silver with gold embellishments because it is intended to commemorate an important event.
The baby nestled in the sitter's bodice, over her heart, is positioned so that his legs would extend into the puffy left sleeve of his mother's dress. He is supported from tumbling down by a gold pin that extends from the sitter's centre pearl on her dress to the drapery over her left shoulder. There is a word to the right of this, in the mottled area, in red, which I believe is "Baby".
Here is another painting of a young woman with curled hair. Said to be Nell Gwyn by Lely. It does not look quite right for Mistress Nell so could this be Lucy Walters?
This Lady is pointing towards a crown of laurel leaves in her right hand so does this point to a Royal connection The landscape in the background looks more continental and we know Lucy travelled in France and on the Continent.
With the exception of Lucy Walters and Nell Gwyn most of the mistresses of King Charles II looked more mature in their paintings.
If the clothes in this picture could be dated it should help. Nell Gwyn was born in 1650 about twenty years after the birth of Lucy Walters.
When I was looking at the mystery painting on my cellphone, Google brought up an image it thought was similar (!) and I clicked on it.
SIR PETER LELY (1618-80)
Portrait of a Lady c.1658-60
Oil on canvas | 91.4 x 71.1 cm (support, canvas/panel/str external) | RCIN 405363
It is a painting by Lely that shows an unidentified lady. She has curly hair, a huge pearl earring that looks like the central pearl worn on our sitter’s dress, and a huge shell in her hand.
My apologies. Here is the link.
Here is the link that goes directly to the painting.
I am wondering if a turret-like cutout over the sitter’s right shoulder is supposed to identify Lucy Waters/Walters.
Notice that the lady in the following Lely painting has the same yellow dress cutout on the sitter’s right shoulder as the sitter in our mystery painting and the painting of Lucy Walters attributed to Wissing.
Portrait of an Unknown Lady, Called 'Nell Gwynne'
Peter Lely (1618–1680)
National Trust, Hartwell House
And now for some analysis of the ermine robe that certainly signifies royalty.
Please see John Michael Wright’s famous portrait of Charles II, circa 1684, linked below.
Charles II (1630–1685)
John Michael Wright (1617–1694)
In my opinion, the red and ermine robe in the mystery painting was either intended to match the robe in this portrait of Charles II, or vice versa.
Perhaps Group Leader Bendor Grosvenor could give us his thoughts on the authorship of this picture.
Also, can any expert on castles identify the one in the picture?
Ermine, by the way, implies an aristocratic sitter, meaning a member of the nobility, but it need not mean royalty.
Judging only by the fashionable hairstyle, I would date this to c 1675. SEE:
- 1: Portrait of unknown woman Lely 1670s MET NY.06.1198. UNABLE TO DOWNLOAD FROM GOOGLE.
- 2: Eleonore Magdalena of Palatinate c 1680 Berlin
- 3: APHRA BEHN by Peter Eley c 1670 Alamy .
- 4: MARY BEALE, c 1675 Isherwood fine art
As a follow-up to up my earlier comment about the jug possibly being a map, please see this link to a map from the early 17th Century at the Library of Congress, in Washington, D.C.
Nova totius terrarum orbis geographica ac hydrographica tabula
Blaeu, Willem Janszoon, 1571-1638.
Ende, Josua van den, approximately 1584-approximately 1634.
Created / Published
Amstelodami : Excudebat G. Ianssonius, ”
Note the scrolled character in what might be the Atlantic Ocean between North America and Europe that seems to appear on the jug as well.
A 1670s date, of course, makes Lely a possibility, since he died in 1680, but I still tend to think this is filtered Lely by another hand.
On behalf of Essex Record Office I would like to thank all of the above contributors who have assisted in working on the enquiry into this painting. We do not have further provenance information than that Essex County Council acquired the item in 1960 from Ilford, although the above discussion has helped us to clarify the situation around this which we are most grateful for. Looking at identifying aspects of textual detail raised in the conversation, colleagues are intending to have a closer look at the original in the next few days and we will return with what we find which I hope will restart this very productive discussion, many thanks, Richard Anderson
Thank you for the latest contributions to this discussion since I went on annual leave.
Since catching up with this thread I'd like to support Jacob's reply that the presence of hidden letters and symbols is highly unlikely. Unfortunately, a combination of digital effects and damage/wear viewed on a low resolution image can suggest the presence of letters and other shapes in the paint. It's good that the painting can be examined by staff at the collection in the next few days.
I agree with Marion. Obviously there were no electronic devices available for enlarging and scrutinizing a picture when this was painted, and viewers were not supposed to do more than simply look at it as one would do in a gallery or a country house visit.
As Jacinto noted above, the sitter is probably painted as Hebe, the goddess of youth and cupbearer of the Greek gods. Hence the upturned ewer, the scallop shell as in this Kauffman engraving:
and the water pouring from the fountain. Portraying someone as Hebe is obviously drawing attention to their youth and this sitter does appear to be a young teenager.
The ermine however would hint at high status either as a member of royalty or the upper aristocracy or through marriage to one. Charles II didn't give any peerages in their own right to his illegitimate daughters (unlike their brothers or mothers) but he did marry them off well. I think this may be Lady Anne Palmer/Fitzroy (1661-1721), Charles' eldest child by Barbara Villiers (though both her mother's husband, Roger Palmer, and the Earl of Chesterfield also were suggested as the father):
She was married off in 1674 at the age of 13 to Baron Dacre who was made Earl of Sussex as part of the deal and their first child was born in 1676. I suspect this could be painted at the time of the marriage and subsequently becoming the Countess of Sussex. (She then went on to what can only be described as 'troubled' teenage years).
A date of around 1674-5 would certain tie in with the hairstyle as identified by Lou Taylor. Of Charles's other daughters only Anne's younger sister Charlotte (b 1664) would be near the right age and she seems to have been darker in colouring
The portrait on the Wiki page is when she is four or five (see also https://bit.ly/2UNkz95) and shows some similarity to the above in its colouring and that rather pointed chin. Later portraits are thin on the ground, the best attested is a Dahl which actually also belongs to Essex Records Office:
(The ArtUK entry currently has no image) and shows similar features, though with a body that has filled out more and colouring that has darkened a bit - not surprising if the picture under discussion is someone who is 13 or 14.
Essex has the later picture via the Barrett-Lennard family who were based at Belhus Manor one of the historic Dacre family homes (the contents were sold up in 1923). It's less than ten miles from Bower House (if that's where this picture came from) and this picture could originally have from Belhus or been copied from one there.
Lely certainly painted Anne Fitzroy's mother, the Duchess of Cleveland, but so did Wright. I am beginning to think, however, that this may be by Lely or his studio after all.
I wonder if the building in the background could be Nonsuch Palace, which Charles II gave to the Duchess of Cleveland in 1670.
Richard Anderson, Essex Record Office, has commented, 30/06/21: 'I had a look at her earlier today. I cannot see the slightest evidence of any text. The painting is unframed and has a couple of sections where the surface has worn - the black paint is also not at all regular in application which may account for the appearance of text through shadow in the image. The Art UK image is very good and does convey the vertical dark black strip about an inch wide to the left of the tree which is quite prominent in the original. The house is I think far too rough a sketch to credit as being any particular property.'
Is everybody certain that this is not by a foreign artist when one looks at the landscape?
On the attribution, I too wonder about a foreign artist, i.e. one not working in Britain, but what we know of the provenance makes this seem a bit unlikely. As to artists in Britain we can rule out Peter Lely and his studio on grounds of style. I cannot suggest an attribution with confidence.
On the background building and the fountain, I suspect that these are imaginary, designed to lend to distinction to the portrait. I suspect that the portrait has been partially or differentially cleaned in the past so that the figure stands out from the background which has not been treated to the same extent.
I suggested above that historical portraits of Lucy Walters appeared to show at least two different women. One portrait shows a face similar to this Art UK picture except that she is darker, however this is a black and white engraving of what is presumably a fine lost painting of Lucy.
Other portraits linked to Lucy show a very dark haired woman with a much fuller face and almost straight level dark eyebrows. These other pictures appear to portray Henrietta Wentworth who became the mistress of Lucy's son, the very handsome but doomed Duke of Monmouth. Both Lucy and Henrietta died young and while still in their twenties.
Although Monmouth was executed after his rebellion against King James II his descendants the 'Scot' family achieved remarkable success but today they are better known by their title of the Dukes of Buccleuch.
As Lucy was the mother of James Scott Duke of Monmouth while young Henrietta became his Mistress it is understandable that paintings of these two women could have become muddled when they were passed down to later generations.
While the young girl from the Essex collection might match Evelyn's description of Lucy as an 'insipid creature' and the engraving of Lucy from the link above shows a face with matching features, these coincidences alone do not provide enough evidence to confirm an identification of the sitter as Lucy Walters.
certainly a probable British sitter does not preclude artist working abroad. We know of quite a number of British sitters painted in Italy by Italian or Italy based articles such as Voet. These sitters had to pass through other continental countries and cities to reach Italy . My suspicion that this is by a not very well known artist connected to Antwerp, Brussels or Lille
In everyone’s experience with art, is it possible for a camera to pick up what an eye cannot? Please find attached my cellphone image of part of the stone below the jug. It shows a word like “Wrigt” and on the line below that, “Dover”. Phantom text that devices add is just random strings of letters and numbers.
If the Essex Record Office would be so kind as to upload a new photo just of that area, it would be appreciated. Is there text in the shell and in the area of the sitter’s lap that the water is falling into? Maybe not to the naked eye.
Regarding the “map” on the jug, I noticed that the wolf’s head (?) that is on the sitter’s chest to the left of the large centre pearl is also at the lower part of the “map”. A white splash is also shown on the jug. I am also wondering about the dolphin on the jug - does it refer to “dauphin”? According to the The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica, online, “Dauphin, title of the eldest son of a king of France, the heir apparent to the French crown, from 1350 to 1830. The title was established by the royal house of France through the purchase of lands known as the Dauphiné in 1349 by the future Charles V.”
As to attributes, without the eagle an identification as Hebe seems unlikely.
As to ideas about the sitter, these are problematic. Lucy Walters is, I fear, a distraction for the sort of reasons suggested by Howard today.
As to hidden inscriptions, today again suggested by Marcie, these are surely a distraction and highly unlikely as Marion states (28 June).
As to the artist, while it would be nice to identify this portrait as done abroad, very few women were sitting for their portrait on the Grand Tour in the 1670s. But don’t let us rule out a continental origin.
I think that the association with ‘Ilford Ltd.’ is probably a little irrelevant in the search for the identity of sitter of this painting, given that we know that it was in Bower House whilst it was in the possession of Sir John James Smith.
This painting can be seen in a photograph, in an article in ‘Country Life’ from 1944. The article was written by Christopher Hussey when Bower House was in the ownership of Sir John James Smith and was published in two parts. The images most relevant are included in the second part, which was published on March 24th, 1944.
A copy of the article appears to be for sale at:
The Bower House (part-2), The Home of Sir John J. Smith
Bower House, Havering, Essex II
The portrait can be seen in the photograph, on the bottom right hand side of the two pages that are on the above website.
It is hung next to three other paintings from the ‘Ilford Ltd’ collection, and although very difficult to read, I think that the annotation under the photograph says
“Baynes Family Portraits in the (*saloon?*)”
Portrait of a Gentleman in a Brown Coat - Unknown Artist
Mary Beke, Wife of John Baynes - Unknown Artist
John Baynes, Serjeant-at-law - Unknown Artist
By the second week of May of 1944, Lady Smith had unfortunately died in Ipswich Hospital, as they had been living in Felixstowe since Bower House had sustained damages due to enemy air raids.
It appears that Essex Record Office may already have a photocopy of both articles in their archive.
There are two other paintings from the collection in the photograph on the left of the article. in the ‘Country Life’ Archives:
Photograph on left page of article:
- “The * Chimneypiece and Portrait of Lucy Baynes”
Lucy Baynes Plucking an Orange - William Hogarth
Portrait of a Lady in an Embroidered Dress - Unknown Artist
Both paintings of the external views of Bower house are included in article 1.
In the photographic archive of ‘Country Life’
another angle of the portrait of Lucy Baynes can be seen, that also includes the other two portraits of:
Mary, Wife of John Baynes - John Vanderbank
Portrait of a Gentleman in a Long Wig and a Brown Cloak with a Dog
I found this 2012 entry by blogger Chris Mathiesen that includes a photo that he took, shown at the link but attached below for convenience, of a plaque at Bower House.
The plaque indicates a Royal residence stood on the grounds - Havering Palace. A Wikipedia search shows that the residence was used by Charles I.
There is also a (more recent, different) plaque on the Plaques of London website. http://www.plaquesoflondon.co.uk/page2986.htm
This painting in the Ilford Ltd. 1960 collection of 11 artworks might be Charles II. It would make sense that there would be not only a painting of Lucy Walters but one of her son James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth, 1st Duke of Buccleuch with a black spaniel-type dog and one of Charles II, the father of her son.
There are many paintings/engravings of Charles II on the National Portrait Gallery site that show the same or a similar collar. Here are two of them.
“King Charles II
after Unknown artist
line engraving, 1650s”
Five Children of King Charles I
after Sir Anthony van Dyck
oil on canvas, 17th century, based on a work of 1637”
Thanks to S. Elin Jones for a very helpful post. As a result, I have consulted the 1944 Country Life article online. While the article does not help with the artist or the sitter, it does show our portrait with three others set in plaster work frames of about 1730. Our portrait matches in size and extent the image in the 1944 illustration.
The question naturally arises as to whether the Essex Record Office houses earlier documentation relating to Bower House and the families who lived there. Otherwise, I think that we may be at an impasse with this discussion.
Van der Beke could belong to families in Bruges, Ghent and Antwerp for the period up to 1800 - also elsewhere of course .
Isolated Van der Bekes were in London, Suffolk and Sandwich as early as the 16th century
We need help from Flemish/ Belgian specialists
Plain Beke is more common in Britain. There were Bekes in Haddenham and Hartwell in Buckinghamshire in the mid 17th century
The Topographer and Genealogiist might be worth investigating
The National Archives can be searched in line for documents on a wider range of Bekes
The Centre for Buckinghamshire Studiess has papers relating fo Serjeant at Law BAYNES of Havering of 1737 and 1743 including an inventory among the papers of the Lee family of Hartwell, Buckinghamshire - worth investigating
as do the 17th and early 18th century papers of Richard Beke of Hartwell, Haddenham and Dinton , Buckighamshire in the same repository
In her comments 19th June Marcie Doran provides a link for a painting of a young woman with plenty of bright curls who looks similar to our Art UK lady. In the paining, sold by Christie's, she notes that the woman is pointing towards a King Charles Spaniel close by her side suggesting a close royal connection with King Charles himself
But this raises the question when was this breed of spaniel first linked with and named after King Charles. At the Royal Court after 1660 these dogs were favourites of the King and on state occasions were even seen running about distracting the King from his royal duties, or so Samuel Pepys wrote in his diary.
Lucy Walters would have died in 1658 two years before Charles was restored to the position of King of England. It is possible that while on the continent he would have already acquired the title of King in exile and following the execution of his father in 1649 many friends would already have been addressing and calling him King Charles. But would these spaniels have already been identified with the Prince or King in exile and exactly when did this breed of dog first acquire the royal title of 'King Charles Spaniels'.
Howard-- doing a bit of research- Justus vanEgmont painted Charles II as a baby with a small brown and white spaniel on his lap.I gather they are french dogs first brought over here by Mary Queen ofScots. I gather at the beginning of the civil war young Charles was sent over to France along with all the Family dogs. I think they became Cavalier King Charles es after 1660 ish upon his return,,as they took precedence over anyone else!!!
Here is a link on ArtUK to the c. 1630 painting of Charles II with the spaniel that Louis identified.
“King Charles II
National Portrait Gallery, London”
Yes, the spaniel is nearly identical to the one in the Wissing portrait except that the spaniel in the Wissing portrait also has a man’s face in its ruff.
I feel that we are getting away from the subject of the discussion. The portrait does not include a spaniel, to state the obvious.
Further to my suggestion that the scallop shell is a symbol that is intended to signify Charles II, here is a significant work dated 1674 that shows Charles II in front of a shell like the one in the mystery painting.
“ANTONIO VERRIO (C. 1639-1707)
The Sea Triumph of Charles II c.1674”
Jacob, I do not think the inclusion of an eagle is obligatory for depicting someone as Hebe. It is common, in paintings, but sculptures of Hebe herself usually do not have an eagle, though certainly an ewer and drinking vessel.
That may be so. But without the eagle we cannot identify the woman as personifying Hebe with sufficient confidence.
Pieter had noted the [two] large pearls. They could be a symbol of the mother of Charles II, Henrietta Maria. Her image often includes her wearing large pearls, although her large pearl often dangles from a pearl necklace. One can assume that Charles II would have offered Lucy Walters magnificent jewellry, perhaps even items that belonged to his mother. Significantly, in the mystery painting, the sitter does not wear the pearls dangling from her ears or from a necklace. The simplicity of the jewellry, in my opinion, is intended to show that she is a young woman.
An example of Henrietta Maria wearing a large pearl on a necklace is here:
“DANIEL MYTENS (C. 1590-1647)
Charles I and Henrietta Maria c. 1630-32”
Note that the Mytens painting includes a laurel wreath that is similar to the one in the Lely portrait of Lucy Walters that Howard linked to:
“Sir Peter Lely (British, 1618–1680)
Portrait of a lady (Nell Gwyn?)”
Howard suggested that the sitter might be Lucy Walters and I would agree that it would be more likely than Nell Gwyn. The sitter is pointing to the laurel wreath, and it might symbolize marriage, as it does in the painting of Charles I and Henrietta Maria.
Martin mentioned two Miss Butterworth paintings by John Michael Wright that feature fountains on their right sides that are somewhat like the mystery painting. Here are the links:
For comparison purposes of ladies seated beside water fountains, here is a painting by Peter Lely.
“Anne Hyde (1637–1671), Duchess of York, First Wife of James VII and II
Peter Lely (1618–1680)”
Please take a look at this painting from the Sotheby’s auction of 27 November 2003. In my opinion, it is a copy of the mystery painting with a different sitter but from the same era. Note the spaniel. There is no fountain, no vase, no ermine, no hidden Charles II in the oak tree, and no hidden baby over the heart. In this painting, the sitter is Ann Lee. I cannot read th3 date but it is either 1676 or 1678.
“John Riley (1646-1691)
Portrait of Ann Lee, daughter of John Warner Lee, Archdeacon of Rochester”
It appears small on the screen. Here is an attachment.
Briwsing his works on ArtUK, I see a lady with a shell a fountain.
“Mary Lake (1668–1712), Duchess of Chandos”
That Sotheby's picture is extremely interesting. The dress is practically identical to that in our picture, and the woman looks very similar, only a bit older. If it is by Riley, that suggests ours could be as well. The date also matches the date of ours as per Lou Taylor.
The Sotheby's picture is an excellent comparison, as identified by Marcie. Jacinto has previously asked if our picture could be by Riley (18 June). We should now seriously consider this attribution.
I believe that, in about 1675, Ann Lee was asked to pose for the Sotheby’s picture, the mystery painting and probably the Wissing painting because she looked like Lucy Walters, who had died in 1658, nearly two decades earlier. The fact that 10 or so symbols are missing from the Sotheby’s painting reveals their importance. This has allowed me to decipher the symbol of the wolf that is shown to the left of the centre pearl in the mystery painting but which appears as merely a shadow in the Sotheby’s painting. It symbolizes death (as does the tombstone-like basin). The vase is intended to be a commemorative item - shiny silver with gold embelishments and engraved. It is indeed a map that shows the birthplace of James Scott (Rotterdam) and the death place of Lucy Walters (Paris, France). The symbol of the white dot on the vase and from the fountain to Lucy Walters’s lap is for the conception/birth place of James Scott; the symbol of the snarling wolf’s body on the vase and on Lucy Walter’s chest is for her death; and the symbol of a dolphin on the vase over England is for “dauphin” - heir to the throne.
I downloaded the will (12 June 1679) of Ann Lee’s father - John Warner Lee, Archdeacon of Rochester. It is very difficult to read it. I did notice that he mentions a daughter named “Lucy Baynes widow”. Could she be the same Lucy Baynes who is plucking an orange in one of the Ilford Ltd. 1960 collection’s 11 paintings?
The reference for the will at the National Archives is:
“Title: Will of Reverend John Lee alias Warner, Doctor in Divinity and Archdeacon of Rochester,...
Item number: 4560193
Catalogue reference: PROB 11/360/283”
Congratulations Marcie for finding the painting of Ann Lee. Here is a link to a larger image of the same painting. The background is unclear, so perhaps it has been over painted and I expect cleaning would also help. The ladies name and a date appear in the top right corner.
Martin mentioned the Lee family above.Thinking possibly Elisabeth.
But it all gets a bit confusing. Marcie's Ann Lee is on the money.But-is the Southeby's attribution correct.???
That Ann Lee doesn't seem to have a Royal connection.However Charlotte Lee was Charles II's daughter. And both our sitter and Marcies Ann Lee have Royal Symbolism. Has history mixed up and misslabeld "Lee" portraits????
The images for Marcie's painting are reluctant to shift but can be viewed on the Wiki Galleries site. Put in the names Ann Lee and John Riley on a Google search, or try the ARTNET site. The Wiki image is clearer and can be expanded. Sorry for lack of image on previous attempt.
I suppose the two women could be sisters, given the resemblance.
Note that the Sotheby's picture was not "attributed to" Riley but ascribed to him outright. That does not exclude all possibility of a misattribution, but it indicates reasonable certainty on the part of a rather reputable and eminently well established auction house. Ideally we would get input from a Riley expert (is there a Riley catalogue raisonné?), but failing that, it would seem reasonable to attribute our picture to Riley (should the collection agree).
To complete my study of the symbols, please find attached the mystery portrait with two areas highlighted:
1. In the first rectangle, Charles II is hidden in the shadows of the tree behind the sitter - notice the whites of his eyes in the middle of the rectangle, about one-third of the way down. His eyes are roughly the same size as those of the sitter. Notice, too, his right arm at the bottom left of the rectangle. He is wearing non-Royal clothes.
2. Charles II and William Careless in the oak tree later known as “the Royal Oak” at Boscobel House. In this second rectangle, Charles II dangles on the left, facing right, behind the yellow patch of leaves while the head and upper body of William Careless is at the top right; he is facing left.
In the painting identified as Anne Lee which looks almost exactly like an older version of our Art UK's mystery woman there is a window or opening to the side of the sitter in which there is another figure of a man lurking in the shadows. Any ideas Marcie who or what this might be?
Louis Musgrove questions above whether Ann Lee could gave been confused with Charlotte Lee daughter of King Charles II and mistress Barbara Villiers, Countess of Castlemaine. Their daughter was married off married at the age of 13 yrs and had eighteen children with eleven surviving as adults and one becoming Governor of Newfoundland. Despite so many children at such a young age she still retained her good looks.
I do see the man’s face in the window, Howard, but cannot yet determine its significance. Actually, I believe the Sotheby’s painting was a decoy painting. It was likely known that Anne Lee was posing for paintings and perhaps the mystery painting was not to be seen by many people. The Wissing painting shows the same woman (and the same spaniel) and it is labelled “Lucy Waters”. Both labels are likely accurate. While the hair matches, the face in the Sotheby’s painting does not match the one in the mystery painting. The dozen or so symbols in the mystery painting all add up to reveal that the lady is the mother of James Scott, who was later acknowledged by Charles II.
Please take a look at this painting by John Michael Wright. As you are aware, I believe that he painted the mystery painting. This painting, too, has hidden symbols.
“Astraea Returns to Earth (The Apotheosis of Charles II)”
The description states: “With her left, she points a sceptre or wand towards a portrait of Charles II, which is held by three cherubim reclining on clouds.” I noticed that, rather than being a cherub, the figure on the left is actually a lady with blond curly hair. She looks like Lucy Walters. Notice there is an edge of laurel leaves between her and Charles II. This might signify their marriage. And, notice that the cherub on the right is actually in the frame - likely a reference to his son James Scott. Note the uprooted oak tree - the Royal Oak.
I wanted to mention the turret pattern on the sitter’s right shoulder in all three paintings. I have found another two paintings, both by Lely, with the same turret pattern. The first lady was a mistress of Charles II. I’m not implying that Anne Lee was a mistress - I think she was just asked to pose in stead of the deceased Lucy Walters.
“Barbara Villiers (1640–1709), 1st Duchess of Cleveland
Peter Lely (1618–1680)”
The Countess of Meath
Finally, please see the size of the Sotheby’s painting (124 x 100 cm) at this link on Artnet.com.
I share Jacinto's view that it would seem reasonable to attribute our picture to Riley, while accepting that further supporting evidence would be helpful.
As to hidden symbols in our portrait and as to a man’s face in a window in the portrait of Anne Lee, these are accidents in the fall of the paint as it has aged and has been photographed. They do not help us with the subject of the discussion which concerns the artist of this painting.
As to the identity of the young woman in our portrait, with her ermine-edged robe, I fear that this will be difficult to take further unless the Essex RO can point to relevant family papers.
Attached is the best image I could make from the very weird Sotheby's software of their 1993 portrait of Anne Lee by Riley. It is slightly better (571x730 vs 500x640) than the Wikigallery version (https://bit.ly/3we9BGt) - what a hopeless resource, with no search box and artists arranged by first name! - and vastly better than the Artnet version. The resolution is still very low, however, and it is frankly crazy to try and read anything into the vagaries of paint and pixellation that such a small image throws up.
To echo Jacob (and Marion previously), the human eye and brain have evolved to seek meaningful shapes and patterns in everything we look at; you can't avoid doing it, it was once essential for survival. But as we have seen on this forum countless times in the past, almost all the text, numbers, figures, etc we sometimes think we can see in low-res images of old paintings - usually worn, damaged and even paint-spattered - disappear once a higher-res image is viewed. And this effect is magnified if you're looking at a little smartphone screen instead of something proper - mine is 17 inches, but even that is nowhere near big enough for serious art historical work.
Is it known who the previous owners were for the painting sold at Sotheby's 27th Nov 2003? Why was this other painting linked to Dr John Warner Lee the Archdeacon of Rochester?
are we sure of Sotheby's attribution - is there a signature or other documentation? I find it hard to fit within Riley's oeuvre as a work that is certainly his?
have I missed a proof?
That is an excellent image, Osmund. I have played with the tone and it actually looks as though she has a box in her left hand. You can see the clasp under her little finger and the hinge above the dog.
I see no box, I'm afraid, just an elegantly positioned hand with one finger perhaps pulling very slightly at a vertical fold of her dress. But again I cannot emphasize enough that at this low resolution there is no point in trying to understand the smallest details of a painting.
Howard asks re portrait of Anne Lee:
(1) Previous owners. A: no info available online
(2) Why linked to Dr John Warner Lee. A: this info presumably was on the reverse of the picture or otherwise available to Sotheby's; it is strengthened by Dr Lee's mention of his daughter in his will.
Martin asks re ditto:
(3) are we sure of Sotheby's attribution and is there a signature or other documentation. A: We can't be sure of the attribution and we should note that of the twenty portraits catalogues as by Riley in leading public collections (NPG, Yale, Royal coll., NT, Ashmolean, Tate), only two are clearly stated as signed as opposed to inscribed, and two or three documented.
(4) I find it hard to fit within Riley's oeuvre as a work that is certainly his? A: Agreed on the basis that we do not have a catalogue of Riley's work to go on. In a day or two, I'll try to analyse the characteristics of Riley's female portraits as far as this can be done with online images.
The Sotheby's picture has the inscription Anne Lee and the date 1676 at upper right. Riley was 30 in 1676, and Lely was the dominant painter at that time, so his influence is to be expected. Again, it would be ideal to hear from a Riley expert or to get more information from Sotheby's if feasible, but barring that, I think we have a fairly good lead.
I wonder if the will of John Warner Lee can be better examined somehow to see if there is more useful data in it, particularly regarding any Baynes connection.
The details on the Sotheby picture do match the facts:
This website on Samuel Pepys by Phil Gyford (https://www.pepysdiary.com/encyclopedia/13960/) indicates that “John Warner (Bishop of Rochester, 1638-46 & 1660-66) ... was married, but he died without issue, and on his death his estates descended to his nephew John Lee, archdeacon of Rochester, who was the son of his sister, and who afterwards assumed the additional name of Warner in compliance with the terms of the bishop's will.”
According to Wikipedia, John Warner Lee “was Archdeacon of Rochester from 1660 until his death on 12 June 1679.” His will of 1679 (John Lee alias Warner) includes mention of his daughters Anne Lee and Lucy Baynes widow, and his sons Lee Warner, Thomas and Henry.
The Will of John Warner Lee has been read in full by me (and possibly by Jacob, too?). There is a reference to his daughter Anne Lee, who is given £1500 plus another £500 “if my estate will bear it”, but that’s the only one. His other daughter “Lucy Baynes, widdow” receives just “twenty pounds to buy her mourning I having given her a large portion already upon her marriage”. The latter cannot possibly be the Lucy Baynes in the ?circa 1740 orange-plucking portrait at Bower House, as they are two generations apart. In any case Lucy1 was only a Baynes by marriage, her maiden name was self-evidently Lee – Lucy2, only child of Sergeant-at-Law John Baynes (c.1676-1737) by his wife Mary née Beke, was born a Baynes and later (1743) married Francis Leigh of Hawley, Kent.**
The Will is (for a wealthy man) very short and simple, and as is usual contains no reference to paintings, specific or even in general. Its main value for us is to gives some family names, which may prove useful in connecting them to others in the circle of the Baynes family. The eldest son is Lee Warner [sic], “plentifully by my [?money] provided for already”; other sons are Henry Lee (who ultimately receives all the rest of his estate, real and personal, and is sole executor) and Thomas Lee (for whom regular, but limited provision for life is made, administered by Lee Warner and James Cripps of North Fleete as trustees - presumably he was the black sheep).
[**It’s not unlikely there’s a connection between the two Lucys. One of several common naming conventions in this period was for the first-born son and daughter to be named for the father’s parents. If followed in this case, then John Baynes’s father (also called John, I think, though as yet unconfirmed) was married to a woman named Lucy – this could fit in with a widowed Lucy Baynes living in 1679, the year of J W Lee’s Will. Unfortunately I can so far find next to nothing about the father or his wife. I hope something may turn up among the many Baynes, Beke, Lee and Antonie Wills I’m slowly ploughing through to try and understand the immensely complicated, multiple relationships between the families. That may ultimately put me in a better place to make suggestions about our painting – but I should say straight away that there is no sign anywhere of any Royal connection whatever, nor really of any titles above Baronet. But there is plenty of serious money, much of it new-made, and that is often associated with commissioning portraits, many of them seeking to emulate the designs and settings of portraits of higher aristocracy.]
Sorry, Marcie, a bit of an overlap there with you re the family names.
My hunch was correct. Sergeant-at-Law John Baynes, builder of Bower House, was the son of another John Baynes, who like his son was a lawyer at the Inner Temple...and John the elder *did* marry Lucy Lee, daughter of Dr John Warner Lee, Archdeacon of Rochester, in Feb 1675/6 at St Giles-in-the-Fields! Their marriage licence was issued by the Vicar-General's office on the 5th – see attached. This means that Lucy Lee, sister of Anne Lee, was the mother of John Baynes of Bower House.
We know from the Country Life images that our portrait was set in an early C18th plaster frame apparently integral to the house (whose building began in 1729), which suggests to me that the sitter was likely an important and close family member. I normally caution against 'looks like' portrait identifications, especially in C17th/18th contexts where fashionable facial types can look so similar to modern eyes. But here the facial resemblance between the two sitters is remarkable (see attached comparison), and not at all a standard facial type for the period; so if the Sotheby’s 1993 portrait is, as catalogued, of Anne Lee, daughter of John Warner Lee, then I am quite prepared to believe that we are looking at portraits of two sisters (though not necessarily painted at the same time).
The final circumstantial support for the case lies in the date suggested by Lou for our portrait, which was c.1675, and the apparent age of the sitter. Louis and Marcie agreed (as I do) that the sitter is very young – not as young as Louis felt (14 or younger), but perhaps not quite as old as Marcie’s estimate (18). Splitting the difference we get 16...which just happens to be the exact age given for Lucy Lee in the marriage licence allegation, which in turn just happens to be dated Feb 1675/6.
I now believe the case for this being a 1675 marriage portrait of Lucy Lee, mother of John Baynes of Bower House, is a very strong one.
There are three monuments for family members in Rochester Cathedral: one for Bishop Warner died 1666, one for Archdeacon Dr John Lee-Warner and another probably for a Henry Lee dating 1698.
There is a book by Edward Lee-Warner a later family member titled "The Life of John Warner, Bishop of Rochester, 1637-1666". Published in 1901 it is said to include more information on the Lee-Warner family.
There was a son of the Archdeacon called Henry Lee-Warner, born 1657, who became an MP and whose own son Henry Lee-Warner, born 1688, also became a Westminster MP. The names get confusing with one Warner, Warner Lee-Warner being bequeathed a valuable estate while very young. This led to a private Bill going through Parliament to help his marriage prospects.
This is a link to the Lee Warner wall monuments at Rochester Cathedral. One is for Bishop Warner died 1666 and one is for Archdeacon Lee-Warner dated 1698. I will have to check if a third monument is mentioned.
https://www.1066.co.nz/Mosaic DVD/News/September 2018/sep14/sep14a.htm
To answer Osmund's question I have read the Will of John Warner Lee although not as carefully as he has done.
My great difficulty in accepting Osmund's attractive suggestion that our portrait is a marriage portrait of Lucy Lee, mother of John Baynes of Bower House, is the presence of the ermine lining to the robe.
I do not think that we have settled on a date for this painting which may be of the 1680s. Do we know if William III came to power he attracted Dutch and Flemish portrait painters for a few years who are unfamilar to us?
Lou dates this picture to c 1675 judging by the fashionable hairstyle (post, 25 June). I am happy with this dating.
To the best of my knowledge when William III came to power there was not an influx of Dutch and Flemish portrait painters of significance, to answer Martin's question.
I think the date of this picture is likely the same date as the Sotheby’s picture - 1676.
Osmund, that is amazing research.
I think the name Lucy passed through the family because of the family’s association with Lucy Walters.
I agree with Jacob - I do not believe that this is a marriage portrait, in that it includes nearly one-dozen symbols that link the sitter to Charles II.
I have read that it was believed that the evidence that Lucy Walters had married Charles II was in a black box. The Sotheby’s painting shows a black box beside the spaniel. This is a decoy - the evidence of the relationship is in this painting.
I believe that the Baynes family was asked to hide the evidence that Lucy Walters and Charles II had a son (who possibly was legitimate - I need a better photo of the vase) so Anne Lee was dressed in special clothes and our portrait was likely presented to Lucy Baynes after her marriage (actually for safe-keeping).
Here are the symbols:
1. An ermine cloak matching Charles II’s Coronation robe in a John Michael Wright painting (signifying royalty and also Charles II);
2. Pearl jewelry likely given to Lucy Walters from the collection of Henrietta Maria. The centre pearl looks darker than the pearl on the left. I think this is to show that it is a black pearl. Several online accounts state that it is believed that Lucy Walters was given a pearl necklace by Charles II;
3. An oak tree with Charles II hidden in it over Lucy Walters’s right shoulder and in the branches of the tree;
4. Boscobel House in the background and symbols of its garden (the bench and fountain) in the foreground because these would have been well-known symbols of Charles II;
5. A scallop shell known as the king scallop or St. James shell filled with water, symbolizing Charles II being the biological father of James Scott;
6. The baby over the heart of Lucy Walters is James Scott;
7. A commemorative vase showing the birthplace of James Scott (Rotterdam) and death place of Lucy Walters in 1658 (Paris, France). The symbol of the white dot on the vase and from the fountain to Lucy Walters’s lap is for conception/birth place of James Scott; the symbol of the wolf’s head on the vase and on Lucy Walter’s chest is for her death; the symbol of a dolphin on the vase is for “dauphin” - heir to the throne;
8. The nearly transparent ermine robe leading from the baby to the man depicted at Lucy Walters’s feet signifies the Royal parentage of the baby.
9. The basin of the fountain is a symbol of Lucy Walters’s death - a gravestone.
10. The turret pattern on the sitter’s right shoulder is a symbol of the sitter’s romantic relationship with Charles II. Notice the same turret pattern in paintings of Nell Gwyn (the Lely portrait is likely of Lucy Walters) and Barbara Villiers.
11. On the stone below the vase, the word Boscobel, the painter Wright’s signature and the place where the painting was made - Dover. My Samsung cellphone is great but it could not have made that up just to please me.
I found this entry for John Baynes on Ancestry. If Lucy Baynes was a widow in her father’s 1679 will, this is possibly the entry for her husband.
“Name: Mr John Baynes
Death Date: abt 1675
Burial Date: 12 Nov 1675
Burial Place: St Olave, Old Jewry, City of London, London, England
Register Type: Parish Register”
Here is the record for the birth and baptism of John Baynes (Jr.) on Ancestry.
“Name: John Baines
Birth Date: 19 Jan 1676
Baptism Date: 22 Jan 1676
Baptism Place: Saint Olave Old Jewry,London,London,England
Father: John Baines
FHL Film Number: 380325, 380326”
Regarding the 1944 article in “Country Life” (S. Elin Jones, 01/07/2021 16:32) could Sir John James Smith be this man shown in the Australian Dictionary of Biography?
His 2nd wife Nellie Eloise Parkes Smith died in England in 1944.
If not, are there other suggestions?
Actually, the identity of the 20th c. Smiths is irrelevant. What I am wondering, though, is how a group of paintings could stay with a manor house for hundreds of years without being separated. Would they have been included in a house deed, so that the person who inherited the house would inherit the paintings as well?
I have just given some thought to the Ilford Ltd. 1960 early 17th c. portrait of the lady with the wedding rings (https://artuk.org/discover/artworks/portrait-of-a-lady-in-an-embroidered-dress-2543/view_as/grid/search/keyword:ilford-ltd/sort_by/date_earliest/order/asc/page/1).
I would be interested in knowing if that painting and the painting of the man with the white collar who I think is Charles II in the same collection (see my comment 01/07/2021 18:12) were painted as a pair. Could these be wedding portraits of Charles II and Lucy Walters, painted in Holland or by a Dutch painter like Jan De Baen who, according to Wikipedia:
“After completing his training [in 1648] he worked for the exiled court of Charles II of England.” The dimensions of the two works are similar. Is it possible for the Archive and Collections at Essex County Council to check the back of them sometime to see if they match?
To answer Marcie's question, many of the "Ilford" portraits were fixed in the plasterwork or as overmantels so will have been treated as fixtures to go with the house.
The two portraits referred to in her post today are clearly not a pair. Nor are they wedding portraits of Charles II and Lucy Walters.
Dr John Lee Warner married Anne English. There son was Col Henry Lee 1657-1734 MP, who had four children Henry Lee Warner, Mary Lee, Dorothy Lee and Anne Lee who married Rev. Richard Huntley of Boxwell in Gloucester. So this Anne Lee was a grand daughter of the Archdeacon.
However Anne English is given as the 3rd wife of Archdeacon Dr John Lee, and the Henry Lee died 1698 with a memorial in the Cathedral should be a son by a previous marriage.
Osmund Bullock says two daughters Lucy and Anne are mentioned in the Archdeacon's Will while Henry Lee who died 1698 should also be a son from one of the earlier marriages. He was left a large legacy by Bishop Warner which was left in turn to Warner Lee Warner and then passed to his younger brother Henry Lee Warner, the second MP in the family. I can not find any additional information about the daughter Anne who is mentioned in the Will. She presumably would have been born before the 1st MP Henry Lee (b. 1657) son of 3rd wife Anne English.
Thanks, Howard. I’ve been thinking about how Lucy Baynes ended up with the house, too.
The eldest son of Serjeant John Warner Lee, named Lee Warner (see Osmund 06/07/2021 0024), is the first of his children to be listed in his will and he is described as “my Elizabeth sonne”.
According to the reference that Martin found (01/07/2021 21:08) to the inventory of Sarjeant Baynes, Sarjeant Baynes’s daughter Lucy later married Francis Leigh.
Title: Inventory (1737) of the goods of Mr Serjeant Baynes decd at Havering, Essex, made by John Padmore and John Antonie
Description: And declaration (1743) by Lucy Baynes, daughter of Serjeant Baynes, (witnessed by Francis Leigh, her intended husband, and Hutton Perkins) acknowledging receipt from her mother of various items of plate and relinquishing her claim to all other items in the inventory, all of which had been bequeathed to her mother for her life or widowhood and afterwards to Lucy Baynes”.
The marriage of Lucy Baynes and Francis Leigh took place on May 5, 1743. I have attached the certificate.
This interesting website was prepared by the Saint Francis Hospice (“Pemberton Rose Garden”: https://www.pembertonroses.org.uk/history-of-havering-atte-bower) includes information about Haverling-atte-Bower. It provides some information about the early owners of the Bower House. It states:
“The Bower House was originally built for Mr Serjeant Baynes who was a distinguished lawyer. Following his death in 1729, the house passed to his wife and then to his daughter Lucy.”
Yes, you are correct, Howard. the Archdeacon John Warner Lee did have a wife named Anne.
According to Ancestry, Lucy Lee, later Baynes, in John Warner Lee’s will of 1679 was born in 1659:
“Name: Lucie Lee
Christening Age: 0
Birth Date: Feb 1659
Christening Date: 7 Feb 1659
Christening Place: Bromley, Kent, England
Phillimore Ecclesiastical Parish Map:
View this parish
Father: John Lee
Mother: Anna Lee”
Her sister Anne Lee (shown in the Sotheby’s painting) was born in 1660.
“Name: Ann Lee
Birth Date: 24 Jul 1660
Baptism Date: 12 Aug 1660
Baptism Place: Saint Olave,Southwark,Surrey,England
Father: John Lee
FHL Film Number: 375307“
The identity of the sitter is not the subject of this discussion. Nevertheless it should be noted that there is a 1737 inventory of “the goods of Serjeant Baynes decd at Havering”' (Centre for Buckinghamshire Studies D-X1212/32-35, together with a copy of his will, flagged up by Martin, 21 June, 1 July, and more recently by Marcie). Martin: would you wish to ask the Centre whether the inventory or the will list portraits and their artists? A long shot, perhaps.
I presume that the Centre is still affected by the psandemic
They've renamed themselves as Buckinghamshire Archives and are offering a limited service for readers. Worth e-mailing them about our needs? email@example.com
I have sent off an email
The Collection did not frame the terms of the discussion question, Jacob, it was one of us. I'm sure Essex Record Office would be just as delighted to know the sitter's identity as they would the artist.
Bucks Archives, like most archives and libraries I know of**, offered limited, pre-booked personal access last summer/autumn & has been again since the spring https://bit.ly/2UCRZqV. I imagine things may relax further later this month, but that's academic unless one of us makes the pilgrimage to Aylesbury. If we're saying let's ask them to dig out the inventory and copy it for us, I'm sure they will; but long experience of doing similar things at many different archives suggests that will involve a significant bill (though it was once waived when the painting being researched was in their own collection, which this one is not). It will be even higher if it has to be digitally copied rather than photocopied, and higher still if we want to post images here rather than have just one person look at it. Here are their current charges, in which they even specify costs for non-profit organisations: https://bit.ly/2TThcNI. I often pay for things for AD out of my own pocket, but I have a limit!
**Of just as much value to the discussion would be some sort of access, however limited, to the resources of the Heinz Library & Archive, especially the artist & sitter boxes. But I am saddened to report that as of today the complete closure announcement on their page of the NPG website remains exactly the same as it has done since Spring 2020, with no attempt being made at any time to update it with news or current plans. And my experience of a few months ago suggests there is no point in emailing them either.
Hi everyone, good discussions, thanks. I can't see Wright here. Riley is a good suggestion. His style evolves quite a bit over his lifetime, and he becomes notably 'better' towards the end, when especially he works with Closterman. Less angular draperies, and so on. Therefore, I wouldn't compare the picture under discussion with some of the better known works, like the Bridget Holmes in the Royal Collection, but with earlier ones, from say the 1670s. What we really need, as ever, is a good high-resolution image.
If we compare this portrait with other portraits of wives and mistresses by Lely and his fellow artists they are all very different. This picture shows a very young lady with a face like a child but it is far from passive suggesting she is clearly ambitious. She is depicted with ermine cloth while their is a castle in the landscape and distant mountains in the background. Her loose revealing dress is low cut and it is difficult to imagine what any of this could have anything to do with the daughter of an Archdeacon of Rochester.
However at present we only have the links to Anne Lees family and it is her name that is linked to the second painting sold by Christie's. Osmund suggests this second painting could depict her sister but I presume the two paintings show the same person. In the first she looks joyful but in the second she looks sadden and in ill health.
Bendor, Richard Anderson, Archive & Collections Lead, Essex Records Office, has given permission to share more widely a JPEG version of the largest image we have of the painting. David
In considering the sitter in our portrait, there are two features which we have not satisfactorily explained, the ermine lining to her robe and the most unusual vase on which she leans, which to my mind cannot satisfactorily be identified as personifying her as Hebe. Instead, a funerary urn??? Not something that I know about.
We would need to make progress in these areas to hope to establish her identity.
Jacinto asks who is the John Riley expert (5 July). The answer is C.H. Collins Baker, Surveyor of the King’s Pictures, but he died in 1959. He left behind his “Lely and the Stuart Portrait Painters” (1912), with a long chapter on Riley which remains the fullest, albeit imperfect, study.
Riley was a retiring man whose portraits are rarely signed or engraved and not often documented (my post, 5 July), meaning to a degree relying on traditional attributions. His style was more solid and less demonstrative than that of Lely. Collins Baker wrote of his honesty as an artist, “Riley at his best would not have been a popular painter of Restoration women”, adding that hence we get few women portraits.
The compelling comparison with the portrait of Anne Lee, given to Riley, is the best that we are going to get. One feature of his work is the somewhat glossy almost metallic curls he can give his sitters, both male and female. Our portrait, which seems to have been cleaned in the flesh and drapery but not in the background, is in an unusually high colour key for Riley but this may be as a result of photography. In my view, the way to describe this portrait is as “Attributed to John Riley”.
Chubby fingers-( they are a bit here) and ladies complaining the artist didin't flatter them- How about Gerard Soest (Zoust) ????
Chubby, but I suggest not chubby enough for Soest, interesting though this idea is. Riley is thought to have studied under Soest, which may explain a slight similarity.
Marcie's Anne Lee- the Plain looking girl (not at all flattering) with the spaniel- she has fingers that are slightly more chubby -Hmn-??????
I wanted to update you on some fact-finding that I am undertaking.
Earlier this week, I contacted Christie’s about the Wissing painting (see 19/06/2021 01:12). I had several questions. One question is about the colour of the painting. I noticed that the photo in the 2008 Christie’s auction is much brighter than the photo in the 2002 Christie’s auction. In fact, the colour of the dress in the 2002 auction more closely matches the dress in the mystery painting. I will let you know the outcome of the discussion.
Here are the links to the painting in the two most recent auctions:
I also contacted Sotheby’s about the Riley painting (see 03/07/2021 23:34), explaining that I was part of an online Art UK discussion about a mystery painting that has significant similarities to that painting.
A Director emailed me a copy of the relevant page from the 2003 auction (attached) and the following statement:
“The ownership was not designated and no provenance was known at the time. The painting appears to have been inscribed with the identity of the sitter, upper right, and on the back of the relined canvas.”
I was unable to obtain information on the attribution.
You asked about the vase, Jacob. I have found only two examples of 17th century vases with the same shape and they are both Dutch:
1. From Alamy.com. “Unknown (Dutch), Vase, late 17th Century, Tin-glazed earthenware with polychrome decoration, 9 3/4 x 6 5/8 x 5 in. (24.8 x 16.8 x 12.7 cm)”
2. From WorthPoint.com. “ANTIQUE 17th CENTURY DUTCH DELFT HAND PAINTED BLUE & WHITE VASE, 9 1/4" TALL X 7" WIDEST, 2.11 LBS WEIGHT“
I have not yet heard back from Christie’s. For comparison purposes, please find attached a composite of this portrait and the painting in Christie’s auction of March 6, 2002 “Portrait of a Lady, believed to be Lucy Walters (1630?-1658), seated three-quarter length in a landscape, with a spaniel”. There are numerous similarities but note especially the dress, neckline, arms and hair. Recall that the Christie’s painting used to be attributed to Sir P. Lely.
That Christie's picture is not autograph Lely, but it is closer to Lely than to Wissing--and Wissing (b. 1656) couldn't possibly have painted Lucy Walter (d. 1658). Clearly, the Wissing attribution and the purported identity of the sitter are mutually exclusive.
Very interesting, Jacinto. I just reviewed the Lely works on Art UK and have made a composite of the Christie’s 2002 portrait of Lucy Walters and a c. 1665/1675 Lely portrait of an unknown lady. I think there is a remarkable match although the face in the Lely portrait is not quite as lovely.
“Portrait of an Unknown Lady, Called 'Nell Gwynne'
Peter Lely (1618–1680)
Marcie, the supposed Lucy Walters is obviously a Lely type, and could conceivably be studio of Lely or certainly in his style. I never thought it looked like Wissing. As to the sitter, one would have to know the basis for the Lucy Walters connection, but I would hardly take it for granted and am more inclined to doubt it.
I meant Lucy Walter, not Walters. Also, other pictures of her or thought to be of her show dark hair, not blonde.
The hair colour is indeed a mystery. However, I believe that the symbols are most closely associated with Lucy Walter.
I have been looking at this painting in the context of the group of 11 Bower House paintings. My current working theory is that the provenance of some of the Bower House paintings is Moor Park in Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire (some 40 miles distant). Until 1720, Moor Park was owned by Anna Scott, Duchess of Monmouth. It had also been the home of her husband, James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth, who was known to be the son of Charles II and Lucy Walter.
For a long period of time, perhaps from as early as 1720, until 1728, the English painter Sir James Thornhill (1675 or 1676 – 1734) worked as a designer and painter for Benjamin Haskins Styles at Moor Park. He later painted various works for the stairwell of Bower House. Perhaps the 1737 inventory of Bower House will mention Moor Park. I have been contacting various archives with the hope of supporting this theory.
Here is a late 17th century print after Lely, which uses the motif of a lady (Prince Rupert's mistress) holding a shell into which water pours from a fountain. I am not suggesting this means Lely painted our portrait, but the motif may been borrowed from him:
For Marcie: the pose of the quite questionable Christie's picture purported to be of Lucy Walter was also used by Lely for yet another sitter, as shown in a 17th century mezzotint after it:
While John Riley tended to paint men and is not usually associated with a picture such as ours, he did paint such pictures. A late 17th century print after Riley is an example:
I agree with your observations about the shell and the Lely pose, Jacinto. I am assuming that the name that is inscribed beside the lady’s shoulder in the Christie’s picture was added when the work was created.
My efforts at linking some of the Bower House portraits to Charles II and his family have led me to this portrait of Charles I that has certain elements that match the Bower House painting “Portrait of a Gentleman in a Black Doublet and Lace Collar”, which I believe is of Charles II.
“Charles I (1600–1649)
British (English) School
National Trust, Penrhyn Castle”
The first attachment is a composite of the two works. Note, in each work, the finely painted white lace collar and cuff, as well as the gold edge and black lace detail on the sleeve of the doublet. The sitter in the Bower House painting has a smaller collar than Charles I and none of the symbols of a king.
My second attachment is a composite of the Bower House “Portrait of a Gentleman in a Black Doublet and Lace Collar” and the line engraving at the National Portrait Gallery that I mentioned on 01/07/2021 18:12.
“King Charles II
after Unknown artist
line engraving, 1650s”
Note the similar eyes, nose, eyebrows and lace collar.
I fear that the focus on Lucy Walter (died 1658), on portraits by Peter Lely, on Moor Park, and on unlikely suppositions concerning the Bower House painting, “Portrait of a Gentleman in a Black Doublet and Lace Collar”, is leading us away from the subject of this discussion, namely the identity of the artist and the subject of our portrait.
I suggest that the real focus should be on following up the connection between our portrait and John Riley’s “Anne Lee”, brilliantly identified by Marcie, and on exploring the iconography of our picture, in particular the vase and the ermine.
Riley's career peaked after Lely died in 1680, but his earlier career is relatively obscure, though he reportedly began painting at a young age. He was primarily a painter of men, which was better suited to his unassuming and straightforward approach, so it seems plausible that his female portraits would be more derivative from a model like Lely and less Riley-like, if you will, than his male portraits. That could certainly be the case in our picture and the closely related one found by Marcie, neither of which is as fluent as Lely, presumably because painting women came less naturally to Riley.
I should have noticed this sooner, but there are actually four female portraits by Riley on Art UK in which the sitter is next to a fountain and holding a shell or saucer-like vessel, as in our picture. Evidently, this was a common compositional device with him:
I am increasingly of the opinion that our picture is indeed by Riley.
There is a painting for sale on eBay said to be John the Baptist by Jonathan Richardson, 1665-1745. It clearly shows a clam shell being held out towards a fountain of water as in the mystery painting above.
There is a banner with letters said to show the words Qnus Dei but I wonder if it should be read as Agnus Dei?
It is 'Agnus Dei', as one would expect: several of the letters seem to be very lightly joined together, mainly where the serifs are close. The slightly forced joining of the G to the N makes it deceptively like a Q and the foot of the A is just visible in the enlarged detail.
Howard, a shell in depictions of this saint alludes to his baptism of Christ, using the shell as the vessel for the water. I do not think it has bearing on on our picture.
Interestingly, however, Richardson happens to have been John Riley's most important pupil.
First impression is Riley or Closterman. Probably Riley. Thank you Bendor for having already suggested this. I see no visual case for John Michael Wright.
Closterman doesn't fit date-wise. The picture is c. 1675, and Closterman was born in 1660. He didn't leave Germany (for Paris) till c. 1679, and only arrived in England c. 1681, where he worked for Riley until the latter's death in 1691.
Jacinto. I am suggesting Riley.