- George Geldorp
- Portrait of Elizabeth Bassett (1617-1643), later Duchess of Newcastle
- inscribed l.l.: ÆTATIS SVÆ. 10 / '1627
- oil on canvas
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."
The sitter is portrayed here in a beautifully decorated and exquisitely detailed gown of brown voided velvet, watered silk and delicate lace trimmed with silver embroidery and pendant sequins. The sleeves are formed from panels of green silk in strip form to reveal the inner white chemise and the cuffs and collar. These are edged with goffered lawn in delicate lace.
She was the only daughter and heir of William Bassett of Blore and his wife Judith, daughter of Sir Thomas Austin of Oxley, Staffordshire. She married Henry Howard, third son of Thomas, first Earl of Suffolk with whom she had a daughter Elizabeth, who married Sir John Harper. Following his death in 1818 she married secondly William Cavendish (1592-1676), first Duke of Newcastle later Baron Cavendish of Bolsover.
Elizabeth brought with her a generous annual income and dowry which would have been a welcome contribution to the extravagant Duke's debts. Desperate for a significant role at Court the Duke nearly bankrupted his estate several times due to the lavish entertainment provided for the king during his visits to their home Welbeck Abbey. The Duke was finally rewarded in 1638 by being made governor of the Prince of Wales and appointed to the Privy Council. Elizabeth bore him several children and died in 1643. At this date her husband, an active Royalist, was fighting to regain Royalist control of York. However, Newcastle is perhaps best known today for his admirable equestrian skills. He established a riding school during his exile in Antwerp (1648-1660) which became famous throughout Europe and published the leading treatise on horsemanship of the day entitled La Methode nouvelle et Invention extraordinire de dresser les chevaux.
George Geldorp came to England from Antwerp in 1623 where he became well known in Royalist circles in which he would have made the acquaintance of the Duke and Duchess of Newcastle. His full length portraits of the second Earl of Salisbury and his wife still hang in Hatfield House and that of the Earl of Totness in the National Portrait Gallery, London. After the Restoration he became keeper of the King's Pictures, a post that was most likely an official front for his role as a political negotiator for Charles II.