JOHN MICHAEL WRIGHT
London 1617 - 1694
Portrait of a Lady, traditionally identified as Lady Herries
oil on canvas
129 x 108.7 cm.; 50¾ x 42¾ in.
The canvas is lined, the paint surface is relatively clean, and the varnish is clear and even. Inspection under ultraviolet light reveals pin-prick retouchings in the sitter's face and chest, and scattered through her dress, with slightly more concentrated areas just to the right of her brooch and in the red jewel in her shoulder, as well as to a couple of vertical scratches in the lower part of her dress, the longest of which is 6cm. There is restoration to the outlines of a square-shaped damage at the end of the billowing red wrap centre right approx. 3 x 3cm., and further restoration to a F-shaped damage in the background lower right 2 x 5cm. There is a vertical line of retouching 7cm. long in the edge of the urn that she holds, and to two small areas in the sky centre left. There are small retouchings around the foliage in the background. This intervention does not distract from the legibility of the image, and the painting appears to be in good overall condition. Offered in a gesso gilt wood frame with minor losses.
"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."
Anonymous sale, London, Sotheby's Olympia, 30 November 2005, lot 57 (as Follower of Robert Walker).
The sitter has traditionally been identified, according to an inscription on the stretcher, as ‘Lady Herries’. She is possibly Lady Lucy Douglas, daughter of William Douglas, 1st Marquess of Douglas and wife of Robert Maxwell, 4th Earl of Nithsdale (1628–83), who was known by the subsidiary title of Lord Herries until 1677, when he inherited the Earldom.
We are grateful to Dr Duncan Thomson for endorsing the attribution on the basis of photographs.