The sitter here has been traditionally identified as John Livingston (1603-1672), an eminent minister in the Church of Scotland, but one who from the very beginning of his career clashed with the authorities. In 1650 he was given the honor of being one of the delegates to negotiate for Charles II’s return to Scotland and the restoration of the Stuart monarchy. However, he later came into conflict with Charles and was banished from Scotland in December 1662. He sailed for Rotterdam several months later and spent the rest of his life in the Netherlands. His son, Robert Livingston (1654-1728) emigrated to America in 1672 and founded a dynasty that included Philip Livingston (1716), one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, and Robert R. Livingston (1746-1813), who administered the oath of office to George Washington on his first inauguration.
The portrait’s similarity to the anonymous portrait of Livingston in the collection of the Earl of Wemyss, Gosford House, Scotland, and its celebrated history in the Livingston family collection support the identification.
1. S. Slive, Frans Hals, New York 1974, Vol. II, p. 99, no. 191.
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