Marquess of Ailesbury; Earl of Cardigan; Hector Bruce Binney, Esq; With the Hallsborough Gallery, London; Anonymous sale, London, Sotheby's, 22 May 1968, lot 107, for £600, to Binns (all the above in its original format of 22 1/2 by 16 1/2 in.).
After training under Titian in Venice in what was apparently a strained relationship, Bordone was registered as an independent artist as early as 1518. Important patrons throughout Europe sought his work, particularly in Bavaria, and in France and Poland where he received royal commissions.
This portrait can be dated to the 1550s, when the artist was at the peak of his career. While his mythological works have always found great favour, it is often in his portraits that we can best appreciate his skill. Typical of his portraiture is his interest in different colors and textures: the careful modelling of the fleshtones accentuate the sitter's soft features and the faintly ruddy cheeks bring out the strong red lips; the fur lining of the coat complements the bronze-colored beard which is painted with the same quick brushtrokes. The decoration of the architectural frieze in the background can still be made out but was more prominent before the canvas was reduced in size, as can be seen in photographs at the time of the 1968 sale (see Provenance).
We are grateful to Professor Peter Humfrey for endorsing the attribution and for proposing a date of execution in the 1550s.
The following condition report has been provided by Simon Parkes of Simon Parkes Art Conservation, Inc. 502 East 74th St. New York, NY 212-734-3920, firstname.lastname@example.org, an independent restorer who is not an employee of Sotheby's.
This work is in beautiful condition. It has not been cleaned or restored for many years but one can clearly see that the condition of the paint layer beneath the dirt is very good. The old lining is healthy and the work will respond well to cleaning. "This lot is offered for sale subject to Sotheby's Conditions of Business, which are available on request and printed in Sotheby's sale catalogues. The independent reports contained in this document are provided for prospective bidders' information only and without warranty by Sotheby's or the Seller."