Completed Portraits: British 16th and 17th C, Portraits: British 19th C 9 Who painted this portrait of William Cavendish, after William Dobson?

Topic: Artist

This portrait is after an original by William Dobson which is said to be in the collection of the Museu Gulbenkian, Portugal (see British Museum link below).

Presumably the picture in Portugal was this version previously at Clumber:

The Clumber painting was exhibited at the RA in 1879:

The contents of Clumber were auctioned at Christie's in 1937.

An etching by Edward Vernon Utterson done in 1822 after the original painting is in the British Museum:

Another Cavendish by Dobson sold at James Rider Auction House in September 1817, lot 32.

The question remains, who painted this version at Kirklees?

The size, modelling and colouring of the face are similar to this portrait of Fairfax after Dobson:

That portrait seems to be erroneously catalogued to the style of William Charles Thomas Dobson, who was a Victorian genre painter with a similar name (as is the portrait of Thomas Bristow:

I think this could be a nineteenth-century copyist, though difficult to tell without seeing it first-hand.

The collection welcomes any further information.

Tim Williams, Entry reviewed by Art UK

Completed, Outcome

Jade Audrey King,

This discussion is now closed. A conclusion was not reached.

If anyone has any further information about this work, please propose a new discussion from the artwork's page on Art UK.


Ros Jones,

I don't know if it will help much, but here is a clearer version of the original at Clumber. (The image comes from "Painters In England", by S.C. Kaines Smith, 1934). The book gives the artist as Dobson.

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Oliver Perry,

Is there really an original of this painting in the Gulbenkian Museum? I can find no trace online, except for the mention in the British Museum catalogue. The etching of the Dobson at Clumber by Edward Vernon Utterson has museum number 1939,1103.1, with a pencil inscription on the back reading " 'after Dobson? / William Cavendish, / Duke of Newcastle / Clumber Park'.

Museum number 1939,1103.2 is another 1822 etching by Utterson, of a portrait Van Dyck; a pencil inscription on the back reads: 'after / Van Dyck / Portrait of a Man / formerly in the coll. of / Sir Abraham Hume & / Earl Brownlow Ashridge / now Gulbenkian coll.' The original is certainly is now in the Gulbenkian museum, the subject identified as Antoine Triest, Bishop of Ghent.

Is it possible that the mention of the Gulbenkian collection was erroneously transcribed to the BM catalogue entries of both prints?

Barbara Bryant,

There's a lot to untangle here, as Tim and Oliver point out. First we might ask the collection how the date of 1643 has been determined? And can we get a better resolution image of the picture? Also, we could so with some more information about the back of the painting? Labels, etc.? The painting Ros Jones's helpful link goes to looks very unlike the Kirklees picture. We may well be dealing with a later copy.

Jade Audrey King,

Thanks Barbara, I've asked the collection about the date, an image and the back of the painting. I'll post any response.

Jade Audrey King,

The collection contact says they'll shortly be clearing the room where this work hangs and when the painting comes down it can be checked for labels, etc.

The high resolution image is attached to this comment.

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Bruce Trewin,

Are there initials or a date in the upper right hand corner of the high resolution image?

I suspect this must be a later copy, as Barbara says, and since (alas!) it's probably not a very good one, we're unlikely to be able to identify the artist in question. Shall we therefore consider closing this one for now?

Jade Audrey King,

The collection has been contacted about this recommendation to close the discussion.