Attributed to Thomas Gainsborough, R.A.
- Thomas Gainsborough, R.A.
- Portrait of Thomas Hanmer, after Anthony van Dyck
- oil on canvas
- 40 3/4 by 32 5/8 in.; 103.5 by 83 cm.
With Derek Johns, London, from whom purchased by a private European collector;
By whom anonymously sold, New York, Sotheby's, 24 January 2008, lot 69;
Where acquired by the present collector.
S. J. Barnes et al., Van Dyck: A complete catalogue of the paintings, New Haven 2004, under cat. no. IV.III, p. 518.
Gainsborough likely became familiar with the Van Dyck portrait of Sir Thomas Hanmer when he received a commission to paint the gentleman's descendants at Weston Park. Gainsborough's Hanmer is more muted and more freely painted than is Van Dyck's original. Gainsborough has eliminated superfluous detail and imbued it with his own aesthetic sensibility, while maintaining the elegance and grace that were synonymous with the court portraiture of Van Dyck.
Thomas Hanmer was not only a well-connected member of England's aristocracy, but also a prominent horticulturist and writer. He served as Page and Cup-Bearer to Charles I and his wife was a Maid of Honor to Queen Henrietta Maria. In 1933 Hanmer's horticultural manuscript was rediscovered and published as The Garden Book of Sir Thomas Hanmer.
The present portrait has been previously inspected firsthand by John Hayes, Sir Oliver Millar and Christopher Brown who all confirmed the attribution to Gainsborough. Hugh Belsey does not support the attribution to Gainsborough based on photographs of the painting.
1. See S. J. Barnes et al., (under Literature) p. 518, cat. no. IV.III, reproduced.
2. J. Reynolds: Discourses on Art (London, 1778); ed. R. R. Wark (London, 1959/R New Haven and London, 1975) [14th discourse].