Oil on canvas
Image size: 23½ x 19½ inches
Jackson was born at Duddington, Northamptonshire on 5 March 1878. He enrolled at the Slade School of Art in 1893 where he studied alongside fellow students Wyndham Lewis, Orpen, Gertler, Nash and Nevinson. He left the Slade in 1899 in order to travel to Canada, USA and Mexico, spending three years in Italy.
In 1911, he joined the Army. Upon the outbreak of the First World War, his battalion was sent to France. He was captured in 1916 and was held at various German prisoner of war camps, largely at Schwarmstedt in Saxony. Whilst in captivity he befriended the poet Frederick William Harvey, for whom Jackson executed the drawing that decorates the front cover of Harvey’s biographical work, Comrades in Captivity.
The Imperial War Museum contains two paintings by Jackson. These works, along with several others, were displayed in the exhibition, 'The Nation’s War Paintings and other Records' that toured British cities between 1919 and 1920.
In 1918, a few days after the end of the war and just three weeks after his return to England, he married the Hon. Hildred Mosley.
Jackson moved to Westleton, Suffolk, where he continued to paint and began wood carving. Jackson exhibited at the Royal Academy, the International Society, Walker Art Gallery, London Salon and the New English Art Club.
Jackson was heavily involved with Walter Francis Crittall’s ‘Sole Bay Group’ in the early 1930’s, which became popular with many of the leading artists of the time.
circa 1705 - 1770
Portrait of a King's Messenger
Oil on canvas
Image size: 35¾ x 28 inches (91 x 71 cm)
Original gilt frame
The silver greyhound on the messenger's badge dates back to Charles II. In 1660, during his exile at Breda, Netherlands, Charles II issued a declaration of amnesty to all those who had opposed him and his father. He used messengers to make his intentions known. In answer to the messenger's question "How will they know me?", Charles reached forward to a silver bowl on the table in front of him. This bowl, with four decorative greyhounds standing proud above the rim, was well known to all courtiers. Charles broke off a greyhound and gave it to the messenger as a guarantee that the message came from him. From that date, the King's Messenger always wore a silver greyhound around his neck.
David Morier was born in Berne, Switzerland in approximately 1705. He came to England in 1743, and obtained the patronage of William, Duke of Cumberland, who was certainly to become his most frequent sitter.
Morier’s most recognizable work is probably ‘An Incident in the Rebellion of 1745’, more commonly known as ‘The Battle of Culloden’. His work is marked by a meticulous attention to detail in uniform and equipment, and he was much in demand as a portraitist by members of the Royal family, army officers and others in aristocratic society. He produced a number of equestrian portraits, of his patron
and other senior officers, as well as his greatest series of works, known as the Grenadier Paintings, which document the uniforms and equipment of the Army in the years leading up to the Seven Years War.
Following Cumberland’s fall from grace, Morier’s career went into decline. He was jailed for debt and sent to Fleet Prison in 1769 and died there early the next year.
1633 - 1696
Portrait of a Lady by a Fountain
Oil on canvas
Image size: 49 x 40 ¼ inches
of Charles II.
Whilst England was under the puritanical rule of Oliver Cromwell, Charles had spent many years living in exile in France. The young king picked up a taste for foreign fashion and on his return set up a court that was more lavish and licentious than any that had gone before. It was a place where theatrical performance was commonplace and where powerful women would take a new prominence, many winning great influence and celebrity.
The famous diarist, Samuel Pepys visited Huysmans’ studio in 1664. Pepys was clearly impressed, commenting that during his visit, he had seen ‘as good pictures, I think, as ever I saw’, and noting that the artist was capable of a more exact likeness than his famous contemporary Sir Peter Lely, (see Coward, B. A Companion to Stuart Britain, Oxford, (2003), p.203). Certainly the diarist records that by 1664, Huysmans was reckoned to be the better painter of the two amongst the circle of the Queen, Catherine of Braganza.
This impressive portrait depicts a fashionable lady seated by a fountain in the middle of a rose garden. The sitter’s identity is unknown but she was doubtless of extremely high social standing and is shown here wearing a style of dress that was typically worn by the ladies at court in the 1660’s and 1670’s.
Dethloff, D. ‘Portraiture and Concepts of Beauty in Restoration Painting’ in Macleod, C. and Marciari Alexander J. (ed.), Painted Ladies: Women at the Court of Charles II, London, (2001), p.32).
The artist was an expert at depicting the textures and folds of the rich fabrics worn by the nobility and he has captured in great detail the way that the light catches the tawny silks and the loose ringlets falling through the lady’s fingers.
Huysmans’ work continued to be popular at court and he painted many important members of the aristocracy, including the Duke of Lauderdale and the Duke of Albemarle. The artist’s career in London was briefly interrupted in 1666, when he temporarily relocated to Sussex, perhaps fearing that his Catholic faith might attract suspicion in the paranoid and xenophobic atmosphere following the Great Fire of London. He died thirty years later in London in 1696 and was interred at St. James’s Piccadilly.
- Macleod, C. and Marciari Alexander J. (ed.), Painted Ladies: Women at the Court of Charles II, London,
- Coward, B. A Companion to Stuart Britain, Oxford, (2003).
Flemish School, Early 17th Century
Portrait of a Boy in a Black Tunic
Oil on panel
Image size: 15¾ x 13⅛ inches
This accomplished portrait of an unknown boy in his early teens was painted between 1620 and 1640.
The artist has depicted his sitter with great sensitivity, delicately observing the transition of flesh tonesn his flushed pink cheeks and picking out the wisps of hair around his ears with fine brush strokes. The dramatic play of light and shadow serves to emphasize both the sitter’s face and the gold buttons decorating his doublet, as they shine out against the dark background.
The richness of the boy’s clothing indicates that he was from an affluent family and, despite his tender age, he engages the viewer
with the intense and direct gaze of a confident young man.
Portrait of a Lady in a White Dress
Pencil, stump and watercolour, heightened with white chalk, signed and dated 1784
Image size: 8⅛ x 6½ inches
John Downman was born in Ruabon, North Wales, in 1750. His father, Francis Downman, was an attorney and his mother, Charlotte Goodsend, was the daughter of the private secretary to George I.
After studying in Liverpool for a short period, Downman moved to London in 1769, where he enrolled
to study as one of the first thirty-six pupils at the Royal Academy under the tuition of the prominent
figure Benjamin West, the president of the institution at that time. He exhibited his work at the
Academy for the first time in 1770 before setting off in 1773 for a two-year tour of Italy in the company of the famous portraitist Joseph Wright of Derby.
The artist returned to England in 1775 and spent some time working as a portraitist in Cambridge and Exeter before moving back to London in 1779. Downman and his contemporaries Hugh Douglas Hamilton and Henry Edridge had much commercial success producing small intimate likenesses, which had an elegant lightness that perfectly captured a growing taste for sentiment in portraiture.
By around 1780, Downman had devised a method of working in chalks and watercolours, which allowed him to capture a likeness within a short sitting, from which he could easily reproduce a number of copies. The
small intimate scale of the works made them an appropriate form of keepsakes for family and loved
ones and Downman’s works were declared to be ‘universally admired and sought after by the first
people of rank and taste’ (Morning Post, 4th of May 1786). He soon gained the patronage of some of the
most esteemed figures of the day, including the Duchess of Devonshire and the Royal Family.
This attractive half-length portrait of a lady is typical of the artist’s work. The sitter is seated almost in profile in front of a blue curtain, dressed in a ruffle-fronted white dress and headdress. Downman believed that contemporary fashion should be recorded and preserved in portraiture. Unlike many earlier portraitists, he did not depict his sitters in standard or studio costumes, instead the sitters wore their own clothes and thus the portrait served as a form of snapshot of a particular fashion and period within the sitter’s life (see Lloyd, S. and Sloan, K. (ed.), The Intimate Portrait: Drawings Miniatures and Pastels
from Ramsay to Lawrence, London, (2008), p.229).
Downman was elected an associate Royal Academician in 1795 and continued to exhibit at the Royal Academy until 1819. In his later life he moved to Wrexham in Devon where he died in 1824. A large number of his works are kept in the British Museum and Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, where an exhibition of his work was held in 1996.
- Lloyd, S. and Sloan, K. (ed.), The Intimate Portrait: Drawings Miniatures and Pastels from Ramsay to Lawrence, London, (2008).
Circle of Pieter Harmensz Verelst, Late 17th Century
Portrait of a Young Man
Oil on Panel
Image size: 7½ x 5¾ inches
Ripple moulded frame
The Dutch Golden Age painter Pieter Harmensz Verlest was born in the Netherlands in 1618. He painted a variety of subject matters, including a number of portraits, but is perhaps best known for his depictions of daily life including street and tavern scenes from Dutch and Italian villages. He died around 1668, leaving three sons, Simon, Herman and Johannes, who all followed in their father’s footsteps and became artists.
This small and intimate portrait dates from the late 17th century and was painted by a member of the
circle of Verelst. It depicts a youth standing in front of a doorway looking out onto a flat landscape. A large proportion of the landscape is made up of a dramatic cloud-streaked sky and the sitter’s large averted eyes display a woeful, melancholic expression, which is echoed in the dark clouds brewing in the distance behind him.
The painting’s composition is made up of several alternating contrasts between light shining across the
sitter’s right arm and face, and the flash of bright blue sky towards the top of the picture, against the blacks and murky browns of the distant fields and the deep shadows behind him. The contrast between light and dark is used particularly effectively in the artist’s skilful handling of the youth’s baggy shirtsleeves, which are criss-crossed with tiny crumples and folds.
Follower of Giovanni Battista Lampi, Late 18th Century
Portrait of a Gentleman in Levantine Dress
Oil on canvas
Image size: 19¾ x 16½ inches
Carved gilt frame
Painted during the late-eighteenth century, this striking and colourful portrait depicts a middle-aged gentleman richly dressed in an exotic Levantine costume. The portrait is highly accomplished and strongly reminiscent of the work of the 18th century Austrian-Italian portraitist and history painter Giovanni Battista Lampi, otherwise known as Johann Baptist Lampi the Elder.
The son of fresco painter Matteo Lampi, Giovanni Battista Lampi was born in Romeno in 1751. He
studied under his father from an early age in Salzburg and Verona before moving to Trento in 1773 to
complete his training. In 1786, he was appointed as professor at the Vienna Academy by the Habsburg
Emperor, Joseph II, and went on to gain great acclaim as a portraitist to royalty over his career,
working at the royal and imperial courts in Vienna, Warsaw and St. Petersburg.
This fine work displays the same luminescent qualities that can be seen in paintings by Lampi and the
artist appears to have been well aware of the master’s style. The skin tones have been carefully blended
over strong red undertones to create a luminescent and life-like depiction of flesh. The artist also displays a keen eye for perspective and has picked out all the different elements of the man’s costume and the way they catch the light in beautiful detail, particularly the turquoise plume on the top of his turban and the golden fastening chain of his fur-lined cloak. The fashion for dressing in Levantine costume was extremely popular in courts across Europe during the 18th century: the sitter is evidently a man of considerable means, who was keen to display his wealth and worldly knowledge through the fantastical magnificence of his costume.
- Ribeiro. A. Dress in Eighteenth-Century Europe: 1715-89, London, (2002).
(See in particular pp.264-272 for a discussion of the popularity the of Turkish costume in Europe.)
- Ribeiro A. ‘Turquerie: Turkish Dress and English Fashion in the Eighteenth Century’, in The Connoisseur, vol. 20, (May 1979).
- Williams, H. Turquerie: An Eighteenth-Century European Fantasy, London, (2014)
Portrait of a Girl
Oil on panel, signed and dated
Image size: 24½ x 20 inches
18th Century gilt frame
Gilbert Jackson was an accomplished English portrait painter, active between 1621 and 1643.
Little is known about Jackson’s life; he was probably a London based artist but he seems to have travelled around various parts of England, painting members of the local gentry and their families. He was made a freeman of the Painter-Stainer’s Company in 1640.
This charming portrait displays many of the features attributed to Jackson. In contrast to his foreign
contemporaries Daniel Mytens, Sir Anthony Van Dyck and Paul van Somer, who were working at the court around this time, Jackson followed a more traditional English style, reminiscent of works from the Elizabethan era. The way that the sitter’s face quietly recedes into the background of this portrait is reminiscent of the naïve charm of earlier portraits, yet the face is saved from flatness or stiffness by the
delicate, knowing expression which Jackson has brought to the eyes, and by the well observed line of
the mouth, which brings life to the girl’s confident smile.
Other features of Jackson’s work are the detailed way in which he depicts costume and, in particular,
his bold use of colour. Here the artist has chosen a teal background, which is strikingly bright next to the sumptuous scarlet of the sitter’s gown and the ribbon in her hair. Jackson’s skill is evident in his handling of the light as it catches the lace on the dress and passes through the fine material of the intricate collar, and in the way that he brings across the light, wispy texture of the girl’s hair in contrast to the hard, smooth surface of the pearls at her ears and around her neck.
An inscription at the top of the painting gives us part of the artist’s signature, as well as the initials and age of the sitter. The sitter is most likely the daughter of a noble family, painted during one of the artist’s trips outside London.
Jackson’s works are present in a number of important national collections including the National Portrait Gallery, the Victoria and Albert Museum and the National Museum of Cardiff.
We are grateful to Sir Roy Strong for his assistance attributing this work.
George Francis Joseph A.R.A.
1764 - 1846
Officer of the Late 1st Hussars, K.G.L.
Oil on canvas, signed
Image size: 34¾ x 27½ inches
- Exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1817 under the title ‘Portrait of an Officer of the Late 1st Hussars’ (cat. No. 393).
Although the identity of the sitter is currently unknown, he was clearly a high-ranking officer who had distinguished himself in battle, as evidenced by the medal on his chest, which has been identified as a Knight’s division of the Royal Guelphic Order, otherwise known as the Hanoverian Guelphic Order. This highly prestigious order was created by the Prince Regent, later George IV, in 1815 as a Hanoverian order of chivalry and named after the House of Guelph, from whom the Hanoverian monarchs were descended.
Follower of Benjamin West
Late 18th Century
Portrait of a Gentleman in a Wide-Brimmed Hat
Oil on canvas
Image size: 30 x 25 inches
Contemporary carved gilt frame
This elegant half-length portrait, painted in the style of West, depicts a seated gentleman wearing a black hat and green coat with his left hand resting on the spine of a large book clasped under his
Benjamin West was one of the most prominent artists of his time. President of the Royal Academy from 1792 until his death, he received many commissions from George III and other English patrons, and at the same time served as teacher and advisor to three generations of American artists in London.
West worked primarily as a painter of historical and religious subjects, and as a portrait painter as patronage required. The first pictures he exhibited in London at the Society of Artists in 1764 were subjects from Renaissance literature. George III then commissioned the artist, marking the beginning of royal patronage of West, who painted some sixty pictures for the King.
West is best known for his painting, The Death of General Wolfe, exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1771. A milestone in English and American art, this was the first major depiction of a contemporary event with figures in modern clothing.
As George III withdrew his support in the 1790s, William Beckford became an important patron, and commissioned religious paintings and portraits for his Gothic Revival country house, Fonthill Abbey.
Americans who studied with West brought his style and techniques back to America, providing a foundation for the growth of the arts in America and creating a style of considerable sophistication.
Hendrick van Someren
Dutch 1615 - 1684
Portrait of Saint Jerome
Oil on canvas
Image size: 19 x 16 inches
Little information has survived to provide a clear picture of Hendrick van Somer’s background but it seems that he was descended from a line of painters. According to Arnold Houbraken’s work, ‘The Great Theatre of Dutch Painters’ (published 1718-21), he was the grandson of Flemish painter Aert Mitjens and the son of Barend van Someren, a respectable painter of landscape and allegory. Barendvan Someren is alleged to have sheltered the young Flemish painter Adriaen Brouwer after his flight from the workshop of van Hals.
Hendrick van Somer studied in Naples in the workshop of the well-known Spanish painter Jusepe de Ribera. Ribera was the most successful pupil of the famous Caravaggio, the Italian master best known for his dramatic use of light and shadow and for his incredibly detailed use of naturalism. Ribera learnt from Caravaggio and in turn passed these stylistic elements onto his pupil van Somer. Van Somer was
clearly a brilliant pupil who observed his master’s work carefully and Ribera’s influence is evident across the artist’s works, including this portrait.
This intimate painting of a saint’s head appears to depict the bare-shouldered St. Jerome during his period of suffering in the desert. The subject of meditation and penitence seem to have interested the artist and he painted a work of very similar dimensions to this painting, which depicts the head of the penitent St. Peter. St. Jerome was painted a number of times by Ribera and, having studied his teacher’s depictions, van Somer also returned to the subject of the herm it saint again and again. The dramatic contrast of light and dark brings an emotional intensity to the piece as it serves to highlight the physical evidence of the man’s suffering. The rim of the saint’s eyes glint with tears and the weathered grooves and wrinkles of the old man’s face can be discerned clearly, shining brightly out of the shadows.