A lady called Lady Dorothy Sidney, later Countess of Leicester, née Percy (c. 1598-1659), in multi-coloured floral and gold-embroidered white dress with red and gold-embroidered shawl over her shoulder, wearing a pearl necklace and holding a sprig of rosemary in her hand, loose brown curling hair, red curtain background
signed in gold with initials 'IO' (mid-left)
on vellum
oval, 2¾ in. (70 mm.) high, gilt-metal frame with spiral cresting, backing card with inscription in ink, 'La. Dorothy / Percy / Countess of / Leicester'
With S. J. Phillips, London (date unknown).
Christie's, London, 14 December 1971, lot 53, (as Lady Dorothy Percy, Countess of Leicester, 2400 gns. to Woollet).
With D. S. Lavender (Antiques) Ltd., in 1998.
Advertised in Art News, 2 May 1931, XXIX, p. 31.
L. R. Schidlof, The Miniature in Europe, Graz, 1964, II, pp. 602 and 1016, illustrated IV, pl. 431, no. 886 (as Dorothy Percy, Countess of Leicester).
Geneva, Musée d'art et d'histoire, Chefs-d'oeuvre de la miniature et de la gouache, 1956, no. 325 (as Dorothy Percy, Countess of Leicester, lent by a private collector).

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Katharine Cooke
Katharine Cooke

Lot Essay

Lady Dorothy Sidney, later Countess of Leicester, née Percy (c. 1598-1659) was the eldest daughter of Henry Percy, 9th Earl of Northumberland, and his wife, Lady Dorothy Devereux. In 1615, she married Robert Sidney (1595-1677), later 2nd Earl of Leicester, by whom she had children.
The uncertainty over the identification of the sitter stems from the existence of an identical miniature by Isaac Oliver described as a portrait of a lady called Arabella Stuart, now in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam (see exhibition catalogues Nicholas Hilliard & Isaac Oliver, London, Victoria and Albert Museum, 1971, no. 171 and A Gentle Kind of Painting, Edinburgh, The Scottish Arts Gallery, 1975, no. 67).
The sprig of rosemary the sitter holds is a symbol of remembrance, love, fidelity and loyalty.

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