202
202

PROPERTY OF THE TRUSTEES OF THE SAVERNAKE ESTATE

Attributed to Paul van Somer
PORTRAIT OF LADY DIANA CECIL (1596-1654), COUNTESS OF OXFORD AND LATER COUNTESS OF ELGIN
Estimate
15,00020,000
LOT SOLD. 45,650 GBP
JUMP TO LOT
202

PROPERTY OF THE TRUSTEES OF THE SAVERNAKE ESTATE

Attributed to Paul van Somer
PORTRAIT OF LADY DIANA CECIL (1596-1654), COUNTESS OF OXFORD AND LATER COUNTESS OF ELGIN
Estimate
15,00020,000
LOT SOLD. 45,650 GBP
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Old Master & British Paintings Day Sale

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London

Attributed to Paul van Somer
ANTWERP 1576 - 1621 LONDON
PORTRAIT OF LADY DIANA CECIL (1596-1654), COUNTESS OF OXFORD AND LATER COUNTESS OF ELGIN
dated upper right: 1618, and later inscribed, lower centre: LADY DIANA CECILL COVNTESSE OF OXENFORD
oil on panel
66 by 54.5 cm.; 26 by 21 1/2 in.
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Provenance

By descent in the family of the sitter's second husband, Thomas Bruce, 1st Earl of Elgin (1599-1663).

Catalogue Note

The sitter was the daughter and coheir of William Cecil 2nd Earl of Exeter (1566-1640) and Elizabeth Drury. As this portrait attests, Lady Diana's beauty was legendary. In 1618 aged only 22 she sat for this portrait and capitalised upon the recent appearance of a comet which is depicted upper right. Such a rare occurence triggered widespread fascination and speculation about its possible providential meaning. Was the "blazeing starr" a sign of God's displeasure, or a portent of disaster to come? Some predicted war, some a crisis in religion or the death of kings. King James himself wrote a rather nervous poem speculating on the meaning of the 'Angry starr' (Bodleian MS Rawl.Poet. 84,fol. 72r).

For Lady Diana the comet appears to have been added to emphasise her distinctive appeal. Few portraits exist which display a comet and these have rather charmingly been attributed to the 'Comet Master.' Lady Diana's beauty was matched by the attraction of her immense dowry- a staggering fortune of £30,000. She married firstly Henry de Vere, 18th Earl of Oxford (1593-1625) in 1624 and secondly Thomas Bruce, 1st Earl of Elgin (1599-1663).

Old Master & British Paintings Day Sale

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London