Lot 7
  • 7

Attributed to Jan Sanders van Hemessen

150,000 - 200,000 USD
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  • Jan Sanders van Hemessen
  • Portrait of a man, half-length, standing before a green curtain
  • oil on oak panel


Sir Bernard Edward Barnaby FitzPatrick, 2nd Baron Castletown, of Upper Ossory, Queen's County, (Offaly) Ireland, by 1890;
Anonymous sale, London, Christie's, 4 July 1924, lot 80 (as by Anthonis Mor, Portrait of Philip II; sold as a pair with a pendant Portrait of Queen Mary);
With Eric Coatalem, Paris;
From whom acquired in 1992 by a European private collection;
By whom sold, London, Sotheby's, 6 July 2000, lot 14 (as by Willem Key);
There acquired by the present collector.


London, The New Gallery, Exhibition of the Royal House of Tudor, 1890, no. 232 (as by Anthonis Mor, Philip II of Spain, lent by Lord Castletown; exhibited with a pendant, no. 233, Queen Mary I, also lent by Lord Castletown).


A. Graves, A Century of Loan Exhibitions 1813-1912, London 1913, vol. II, p. 808 (as by Anthonis Mor);
K. Jonckheere, Willem Key (1516-1568), Portrait of a Humanist Painter, Turnhout 2011, p. 222, cat. no. D38 (under Rejected Attributions).


The following condition report has been provided by Karen Thomas of Thomas Art Conservation LLC., 336 West 37th Street, Suite 830, New York, NY 10018, 212-564-4024, info@thomasartconservation.com, an independent restorer who is not an employee of Sotheby's. This picture is in beautiful condition, free of significant losses or damage. Restrained retouching in the face addresses losses along the panel join and in the cheek, without completely concealing the artist's underdrawing that is visible through the paint (see Catalogue Note for more information on the underdrawing). A network of normal, age-related drying cracks has developed in the black garments and has been expertly retouched to allow the subtle distinctions between the shades of black to be readable. Aside from a small superficial scratch at the waist, the varnish is evenly glossy and saturates the paints well. The support displays a mild lateral convex warp and a nearly-invisible hairline crack denotes the location of the join between the two boards making up the panel. If desired, the crack could easily be addressed by conservation treatment. The join is reinforced from the back with a strip of cloth.
"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."

Catalogue Note

This portrait comes closest in modelling and coloration to the works of Jan Sanders van Hemessen who was active in Antwerp and Italy and whose work had a profound influence on Flemish painting in the 1530s-50s  His paintings encompassed religious works, genre subjects and portraits, though his role in the latter field is not yet well understood, as there are so few portraits securely attributed to him. This portrait is comparable to a work, given to Hemessen in full, in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna which also depicts the sitter against a green background and shows a very similar way of rendering the eyes in a slightly bulging manner (fig.1). When the present painting was in the collection of Baron Castletown and later in a 1924 auction (see Provenance), it had a pendant female portrait.  Both were ascribed to Anthonis Mor and said to depict King Philip II of Spain and Queen Mary I.

Examination of this portrait under infra-red reflectography has revealed underdrawing not only from the portrait composition, but from another earlier composition that was never carried out.  If viewed as a horizontal (fig.2), it shows what appears to be a table ledge with the leg of an object on top in the form of an animal’s paw, and drapery and columns behind.

Dr. Peter van den Brink has seen this portrait firsthand and dates it to circa 1540-45. We are grateful for his assistance in cataloguing this lot.