Sir Anthony van Dyck (Antwerp 1599-1641 London)
Property from the Portland Collection (LOTS 15, 18, 25 & 35)
Sir Anthony van Dyck (Antwerp 1599-1641 London)

Portrait of a gentleman, traditionally called a Senator of Antwerp, half-length, leaning on a plinth

Sir Anthony van Dyck (Antwerp 1599-1641 London)
Portrait of a gentleman, traditionally called a Senator of Antwerp, half-length, leaning on a plinth
oil on canvas
48¾ x 38 1/8 in. (123.9 x 97.2 cm.)
(Presumably) Henry Bentinck, 2nd Earl and 1st Duke of Portland (1682-1726) or his son, William, 2nd Duke of Portland (1709-1762), Bulstrode Park, Buckinghamshire, where recorded by John Achard, tutor to the latter and his younger brother, Lord George Bentinck, as 'A portrait of a Senator of Antwerp, half length, black hair, a plain band, in a Black flower velvet cloak, by Vandike', and by descent to the 2nd Duke's son,
William Henry Cavendish Cavendish-Bentinck, 3rd Duke of Portland (1738-1809), at Bulstrode, where recorded in his posthumous inventory, compiled by Thomas Hill, Jun., no. 13, and by descent to his son, .
William Henry, 4th Duke of Portland (1768-1854), by whom moved with other pictures from Bulstrode to Burlington House, London, in 1810 (List of Pictures formerly at Bulstrode, no. 24) and subsequently to Welbeck Abbey, Norfolk (Catalogue of circa 1812, no. 77, as 'Senator of Antwerp. Vandyck.', Catalogue of 1861, no. 454), and by descent at Welbeck, where recorded in the Large Drawing Room in an inventory of 1831 (no. 77), by Dr. Waagen (1857) and in the Red Drawing Room by Charles Fairfax Murray (1894).
G.F. Waagen, Galleries and Cabinets of Art in Great Britain, London, 1857, p. 514, 'this looks very inviting, but is too highly and darkly hung'.
A. Guiffrey, Antoine van Dyck: Sa vie et son oeuvre, Paris, 1882, p. 285.
C. Fairfax Murray, Catalogue of the Pictures belonging to His Grace the Duke of Portland, at Welbeck Abbey, and in London, London, 1894, p. 25, no. 92, illustrated, 'An early picture by Vandyck, in what is usually called his Italian or Genoese manner.'
L. Cust, Anthony Van Dyck, An historical Study of his Life and Works, London, 1900, pp. 51 and 245, no. 142, 'Painted in Italy.'
E. Schaeffer, Klassiker der Kunst: Van Dyck, Stuttgart and Leipzig, 1909, pl. 219, where dated 1622-7.
R. Witt, Exhibition of Flemish and Belgian art (1300-1900): Illustrated souvenir, London, p. 53.
Apollo, IX, 1929, p. 248, illustrated in colour.
G. Glück, Van Dyck: Des Meisters Gemälde, London, 1931, pl. 279, p. 549, as of the Antwerp period.
R.W. Goulding, revised by C.K. Adams, Catalogue of the Pictures belonging to His Grace the Duke of Portland, K.G., Cambridge, 1936, p. 33, no. 92.
E. Larsen, L'opera completa di Van Dyck, Milan, 1980, p. 88, no. 526, 'uno splendido dipinto, risalente al secondo periodo di Anversa. Databile fra il 1626 e il 1632.'
E. Larsen, The Paintings of Anthony van Dyck, Freren, 1988, II, p. 235, no. 582.
H. Vey, in S.J. Barnes, N. de Poorter, O. Millar and H. Vey, Van Dyck: A Complete Catalogue of the Paintings, New Haven and London, 2004, p. 384, no. III.184, illustrated.
London, Royal Academy, Exhibition of Flemish and Belgian Art (1300-1900), 8 January-5 March 1927, no. 153.
Bruges, Groeningemuseum, L'art flamand dans les collections britanniques, August-September 1956, no. 88.
Nottingham, University Art Gallery, Paintings and Drawings by Van Dyck, 28 February-24 March 1960, no. 7 (catalogue by O. Millar).

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Clemency Henty
Clemency Henty

Lot Essay

As the traditional identification of this striking portrait as of a senator of Antwerp implies, this has been recognised since the eighteenth century as a work that antedated the artist's arrival in England in 1632, Fairfax Murray followed by Cust and Schaeffler going so far as to place it in the Italian period, and thus before 1627. Glück, Larsen and Vey all considered that the picture is of the second Antwerp period, and thus of 1627-32. But in its subtlety and sophistication this unquestionably reflects van Dyck's experience of Italy, and, above all, in the masterly handling of the patterned robe, his lifelong study of the work of Titian, so many works by whom were in his personal collection. While the characterisation of the head recalls some portraits of the Italian period, for example Lucas van Uffel (New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art; Barnes, op. cit., no. II.70), probably of 1623 when van Dyck was in Venice, the pose, and in particular the arrangement of the arms and hands, anticipates, but in reverse, the celebrated full-length of the Abbé Scaglia (London, National Gallery; Vey, op. cit., no. III.126), in which the sitter also leans on the base of a column and a similar white collar serves to set off the sumptuous black costume. From the outset of his career van Dyck had been interested in the artistic possibilities of black materials. Even in the first Antwerp period he exploited the textures of silk patterns in imitation of slashes, as in the portraits in the Liechtenstein Collection and at Brunswick (N. de Poorter, in Barnes, op. cit., nos. I.132-3); later examples include portraits at Dresden and Munich (Vey, op. cit., nos. III.174 and 180).

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