December 7 2013 Latest news:
Wednesday, October 2, 2013
A portrait of a 17th-century patron, builder and conservationist - Lady Anne Clifford - has been acquired by the National Portrait Gallery.
Previously lost, and recorded only through literary references, the portrait of Lady Anne, who was Countess of Dorset and later Countess of Pembroke, was discovered by Mark Weiss of The Weiss Gallery in a European private collection and sold to the National Portrait Gallery for £275,000.
Lady Anne’s diary entry records that she sat for the artist William Larkin during the summer of 1618, when she was 28.
Larkin produced two portraits, one that stayed at Knole in Kent, and this one which was sent to her cousin.
Lady Anne’s life was dominated by her extended and very public attempts to claim what she believed was rightfully her inheritance from her father, George Clifford, Third Earl of Cumberland, who had left her money, but left his very extensive properties to Anne’s uncle.
Through archival research, legal disputes and persistence, she was able to establish the justice of at least part of her claims. Her unhappy marriages to Richard Sackville, Third Earl of Dorset, and subsequently Philip Herbert, Fourth Earl of Pembroke, were both help and hindrance in these disputes.
Catharine MacLeod, curator of 17th-century portraits at the National Portrait Gallery, said: “It is very exciting to be able to represent such a fascinating and prominent 17th-century woman with such a beautiful portrait.
“The modelling of the face is particularly refined and subtle, conveying a sense of individuality and personality unusual in English portraiture at this time.”
Lady Anne Clifford by William Larkin will go on display in the National Portrait Gallery from spring 2014.