The Anglesey Abbey Portrait

«The composition of this picture, a left full profile, is relatively rare in English portraiture of sixteenth century. While a number of profile portraits are known, they almost invariably depict men rather than women, and the majority of even those were the work of just one artist, Hans Holbein.» A Queen of a New Invention, by J. Stephan Edwards, p. 141

«The style of the costume is decidedly inconsistent with English fashion in general and that of Jane Grey's lifetime in particular. The headgear indicates a sitter from south-central Europe, perhaps southeastern France, the southern German-speaking states, or northern Italy. Additionally, the caul and low-profile hat are consistent wtih styles of those regions in the 1560s or 1570s, more than a decade after Jane Grey's death in February 1554. Based on the costume alone, Lady Jane Grey can reliably be eliminated as the sitter in this portrait.» A Queen of a New Invention, by J. Stephan Edwards, p. 141

«The face appears on the whole too perfect, too obviously consistent with facial ratios and proportions long held by Western European artists as an aesthetic ideal.» A Queen of a New Invention, by J. Stephan Edwards, p. 141

The Anglesey Abbey Portrait – An Imaginary Portrait of Lady Jane Grey (1537–1554) – «This profile portrait supposedly of Lady Jane Grey appears to be modern, yet the oak panel is old, suggesting that the present portrait may have been superimposed upon an earlier one.»

I should be upfront with you. I do not have a shred of evidence to support this theory. Unlike with the Duckett portrait, in which I believe that an actual case can be made for it being Lady Jane Grey, I can offer nothing similar for the Anglesey Abbey portrait.

All I have is a theory.

One of the two portraits we know existed of Lady Jane Grey hung at Chatsworth, in the bedchamber of its mistress Bess of Hardwick. She was a close, personal friend of the Greys. Amongst other things, the wedding to her second husband (and the father of all of her children) Sir William Cavendish took place at their home at two o'clock in the morning.

Bess was married four times, steadily climbing the social ladder with each match, but only one of them, this one, resulted in children. Of the eight children born to Bess and Sir William Cavendish, six of them would live to have children of their own.

One of those children was Elizabeth Cavendish (31 March 1555 – 21 January 1582). She married Charles Stuart, 1st Earl of Lennox. The reason that this marriage is interesting is that Charles Stuart, 1st Earl of Lennox, was the son of Lady Margaret Douglas, and subsequently the grandson of Margaret Tudor, Queen of Scotland. Charles Stuart, 1st Earl of Lennox was also the younger brother of Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, the ill-suited husband of Mary, Queen of Scots.

This alliance would put the children of this marriage in direct line for the throne.

In 1574, when Elizabeth Cavendish secretly married Charles Stuart, 1st Earl of Lennox, the younger brother of Lord Darnley and a claimant to the English throne, Queen Elizabeth I became enraged at the two sets of parents for arranging such a controversial marriage without her permission. The Queen sent Elizabeth's mother Bess of Hardwick and her mother-in-law Margaret Douglas to imprisonment in the Tower of London.

In the end, the couple had one child, a daughter. They both passed away early, and Lady Arbella Stuart, 2nd Countess of Lennox, was raised by Bess of Hardwick, her grandmother.

Clearly there was no risk attached to owning portraits of Lady Jane Grey in Elizabethan times. We know, because people did. And not clandestinely either, as may have been the case with hidden-away portraits of Katherine Howard and Anne Boleyn in the time of Henry VIII. No, two of them were registered in inventories, the Chatsworth and Lumley Portrait in 1560 and 1590 respectively, the Streatham Portrait was created some time in the 1590's, Sir Lionel Duckett died in 1587 and must presumably have purchased his painting at some point prior to that, the Houghton Portrait was probably owned by Francis Rodes (c.1530–1588) of Barlborough Hall, Derbyshire, in the 1580's, certainly he was in possession of a portrait he called Lady Jane Grey.[1]

And yet we have the Streatham Portrait, which is described as «in poor condition and damaged, as if it has been attacked[2] (emphasis mine)

«[T]he scratched lines across the eyes and mouth may be result of a deliberate attack at some point in history.»[3]

A portrait clearly deliberately commissioned, then purposefully defaced, and yet not destroyed completely.


By the 1700's, as we can see by the popularity of prints of Lady Jane Grey (a line engraving of the Wrest Park portrait was published in 1681, for instance) and the resurgence of a Norris portrait type portrait, the Magdalene or Dauntsey portrait, this 'danger' or whatever one wishes to call it was clearly over.

So what happened between the 1590's and say 1681 which might have made it dangerous to possess a painting of Lady Jane Grey, a little girl who had already been dead for 40 years by the time the Streatham portrait was painted?

Well, there was the English civil war and the interregnum. But I have never heard of Lady Jane Grey being an enemy of either side in that conflict. As a reformer, she would have appealed to Puritan Roundheads and the moderate Protestants on the King's side alike. 

It was a religious conflict, of course, amongst other issues, but not one in which she would have been likely to have been an object of hate.

Arbella Stuart, on the other hand, managed to get herself into trouble two times in this period.

It was undoubtedly Bess of Hardwick's fondest hope that Queen Elizabeth would appoint Arbella Stuart her successor. The Queen was reasonably kind to her, inviting Arbella for extended stays during the summers of 1587 and 1588 and one that lasted from November 1591 to July 1592. However, for whatever reason, Arbella clearly failed to impress the people who counted favourably enough for the mantle of government to fall on her.

«In the closing months of Elizabeth's reign, Arbella fell into trouble through reports that she intended to marry Edward Seymour, a member of the prominent Seymour family. This was reported to the Queen by the supposed groom's grandfather, Edward Seymour, 1st Earl of Hertford. Arbella denied having any intention of marrying without the Queen's permission.»

«In 1610, Arbella, who was fourth in line to the English throne, was in trouble again for planning to marry William Seymour, then known as Lord Beauchamp, who later succeeded as 2nd Duke of Somerset. Lord Beauchamp was sixth-in-line, grandson of Lady Katherine Grey, a younger sister of Lady Jane Grey and a granddaughter of Mary Tudor, younger sister of King Henry VIII and Arbella's ancestor, Margaret Tudor. Under the circumstances, the King wondered whether the marriage was the prelude to an attempt to seize the Crown itself.

Although the couple at first denied that any arrangement existed between them, they later married in secret on 22 June 1610 at Greenwich Palace. For marrying without his permission, King James imprisoned them: Arbella in Sir Thomas Perry's house in Lambeth and Lord Beauchamp in the Tower of London. The couple had some liberty within those buildings, and some of Arbella's letters to Beauchamp and to the King during this period survive. When the King learned of her letters to Lord Beauchamp, however, he ordered Arbella's transfer to the custody of William James, Bishop of Durham. Arbella claimed to be ill, so her departure for Durham was delayed.

The couple used that delay to plan their escape. Arbella dressed as a man and escaped to Lee (in Kent), but Lord Beauchamp did not meet her there before their getaway ship was to sail for France. Sara Jayne Steen records that Imogen, the virtuous, cross-dressed heroine of William Shakespeare's play Cymbeline (1610–1611), has sometimes been read as a reference to Arbella but the warrant for the couple's arrest is dated 3rd June 1611 and Simon Forman recorded seeing a production of that play 2 months earlier in April.

Beauchamp did escape from the Tower, but by the time he reached Lee, Arbella was gone, so he caught the next ship to Flanders. Arbella's ship was overtaken by King James's men just before it reached Calais, France. She was returned to England and imprisoned in the Tower of London. She never saw her husband again»

«In her final days as a prisoner in the Tower of London, Arbella Seymour (her married name), refusing to eat, fell ill, and died on 25 September 1615. She was buried in Westminster Abbey on 29 September 1615. In the 19th century, during a search for the tomb of James VI and I, Arbella's lead coffin was found in the vault of Mary, Queen of Scots, placed directly on top of that of the Scots queen.»

It's a very sad story.

Both of Arbella's beaus were brothers, the grandsons of Lady Katherine Grey, Countess of Hertford, the sister of Lady Jane Grey. And to them she passed her deadly inheritance.

According to the Wikipedia page of Bess of Hardwick regarding her relationship with her granddaughter, «the two fell out irrevocably when Arbella attempted to run away and marry a man who also had a claim to the throne. Bess cut Arbella from her will and begged the Queen to take her granddaughter off her hands. Arbella's royal claim was never recognized. Despite disinheriting Arbella and her eldest son (Henry: for aiding Arbella's escape); she later had a "lukewarm reconciliation with her granddaughter.»

We see here that it is the older generation, Bess of Hardwick, Arbella's grandmother, and Edward Seymour, Earl of Hertford, her intended groom's grandfather, who put a stop to the connection. This seems rather hypocritical considering their own involvement in clandestine marriages, but on the other hand, who else would know better how wrongly they could turn out.

Since Bess of Hardwick had dabbled in the clandestine marriage alliance of her daughter Elizabeth Cavendish to a claimant to the English throne in 1574, Bess had watched Mary, Queen of Scots whom she had been intimately acquainted with – and her husband perhaps even more so – be beheaded.

Bess of Hardwick died at 5 pm on Saturday 13 February 1608, aged 81. Where the portrait of Lady Jane Grey went nobody knows for sure. What is certain, is that her accumulated estates were left to her children from her second marriage. And one of them must have been in possession of it when Arbella was arrested in 1610.

So what do you do when one of your nieces/cousins gets herself in trouble with the King? As we have seen in other cases, charges towards one family member, especially for treason against the King, had an unfortunate tendency to spread to other family members also. And you are, in addition to your niece/cousin getting herself in trouble, also in possession of a painting of the very person the person she got herself into trouble with can trace his claim back to, and who was, indeed, executed, because of this claim.

I do not know what you would have done. I think I would have panicked.

Someone, at some point in history, have actually attacked the Streatham portrait.

What if the Cavendishes chose a different route to conceal their portrait of Lady Jane Grey?

For instance, oh say, painting over Lady Jane Grey's outfit with one dated 20-30 years after her death and from a different country, while keeping her actual features ...

Of course, if they did indeed do this, it might seem slightly ridiculous to us a few centuries down the line.

In hindsight, if this theory actually is correct, it probably seemed downright hilarious to them too when the danger had safely passed, altering an ancient painting to stay out of trouble.

On the other hand, people had been executed for much less ...

I would think the trick, if at all possible, would have been to avoid suspicion in any way, to not be found in possession of anything incriminating in any way.

Not to be implicated.

I am not sure I would not have done anything and everything I could too to remove anything remotely incriminating in such a situation.

The Ansty Hall Miniature Portrait

PROVENANCE: Collection of Lady Jane Warwick, 18th Century, Mrs Sarah Adams (née Coker), wife of Mr Simon Adams of Ansty Hall (all according to a label on the reverse)

As J. Stephan Edwards correctly points out, however, there was a dearth of Lady Jane Warwicks in the 18th, and even the 17th, century.

There was, however, a Lady Anne Cavendish who married a Lord Warwick.

Lady Anne Cavendish (c. 1611–1638) the daughter of William Cavendish, 2nd Earl of Devonshire married Robert Rich, 3rd Earl of Warwick (28 June 1611 – 29 May 1659 in London) and had issue.

According to her husband's Wikipedia page, Anne had one child, a son, Robert, who married Frances Cromwell, daughter of the Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell in 1657. But that son died of consumption within three months of the marriage on the 16th of February 1658, leaving no children. Frances Cromwell remarried Sir John Russell, 3rd Baronet.

There would therefore be little incentive to keep Anne's heirlooms with the family.

Though there is some indication that Frances Cromwells feelings for her first husband did not die with him. She named her third son Rich.

This genealogical website gives our Anne Cavendish, Lady Warwick also a daughter Anne, the same Anne who Wikipedia assigns to her husband's second wife and who married Thomas Barrington of Barrington Hall. Essex, heir of Sir John Barrington, 3rd Baronet.

However, the time between the death of Lady Anne Cavendish, Countess of Warwick in 1638 and the life of Mrs Sarah Adams (née Coker), wife of Mr Simon Adams of Ansty Hall from c.1753-1833 (she married her Mr Simon Adams on 3 January 1778 at Tottenham, Middlesex)[4] leaves plenty of time for the miniature to end up in the hands of some family member who would rather exchange it for its monetary value.

Lady Anne Cavendish would, however, have been properly styled Lady Warwick as a married woman, and Lady Anne Cavendish as an unmarried one as the daughter of an earl, and of course her actual name would have been Anne Rich as a married woman, her title being Countess of Warwick. There is, however, a tradition among the nobility about women married to titled peers being referred to as [First Name] [Title], that is to say Lady Anne Rich, Countess of Warwick, could have been referred to as Anne Warwick. But in that case the Lady would have been omitted. The time between the death of Anne Cavendish, Countess of Warwick, and the life of Sarah Adams is, however, long enough for that to have become jumbled. For Anne, Lady Warwick to become Lady Anne Warwick.

And, if my theory is right, for Anne to become Jane.

And for the 17th century to become the 18th ...

Anne, Lady Warwick could, however, if I am right about the portrait in the Cavendishes possession, easily have had a copy of it made for herself.

Christian, Lady Cavendish, with her daughter

Christian, Lady Cavendish, with her daughter

Anne, Lady Warwick

Anne, Lady Warwick

Lady Jane Grey had two sisters-in-law who would also have been styled as Anne, Lady Warwick.

Anne Seymour, Countess of Warwick (1538–1588) was a writer during the sixteenth century in England, along with her sisters Lady Margaret Seymour and Lady Jane Seymour. She was the eldest daughter of Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset, who from 1547–1549 was the Lord Protector of England during the minority of her cousin, Edward VI. On 3 June 1550 Anne Seymour was married to John Dudley, Viscount Lisle, son and heir of the Duke of Northumberland. King Edward VI was present at the festivities. The match was intended as an expression of renewed amity between the young people's fathers, who were political rivals, but the peace would not last. After the Lady Jane Grey episode in 1553, Anne's husband, now Earl of Warwick, was imprisoned in the Tower of London, where she was allowed to visit him. He died of an illness in October 1554, days after his release.

Anne Russell, Countess of Warwick (1548/1549 – 9 February 1604) was the eldest daughter of Francis Russell, 2nd Earl of Bedford and his first wife Margaret St. John. Possibly serving the future Elizabeth I from childhood, she became a maid of honour in 1559, shortly after the Queen's accession. When she was 16 her father and Elizabeth's favourite, Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester, arranged her marriage to Ambrose Dudley, 3rd Earl of Warwick, Leicester's elder brother and nearly 20 years his bride's senior. The ceremony was performed on 11 November 1565 in the royal chapel at Whitehall Palace. The wedding was one of the great court festivities of Elizabeth's reign, with tournaments and banquets; it was also of political significance, since it matched two of the major Puritan families in the country.

Additionally, Jane, Lady Warwick would have been the proper styling for Lady Jane Grey's mother-in-law Jane Guildford Dudley from 1547 until her husband's elevation to the dukedom of Northumberland after Henry VIII's death.

Any one of them could have been in possession of a miniature of Lady Jane Grey. 

That does not explain, however, why the lady in the miniature is dressed in foreign fashions dating to several decades after Lady Jane Grey's death.

I cannot find any link between any of the ladies' naturally assumed heirs and any reason to fear being caught with an image of Lady Jane Grey.

Naturally, perhaps immediately after the events of 1554, nobody would have been too eager to be found in possession the image of a convicted traitor, but these fashions date to the 1560's or 1570's, long after the death of Queen Mary I Tudor.

It should be noted, however, that after the fall of the Duke of Northumberland, Anne Stanhope, Duchess of Somerset (c.1510 – 16 April 1587) was allowed to choose from the Dudley family's confiscated household stuffs. If a miniature of Lady Jane Grey was among the items she picked, it would have undoubtedly ended up with one of her grandsons, Edward Seymour, Lord Beauchamp or Thomas Seymour, who through the vagaries of fate were Lady Jane Grey's nephews.

I had previously discounted the possibility, because why would they need to recreate the image of Lady Jane Grey in the Syon portrait, if they already had her genunie likeness portrayed on a miniature?

If the miniature had been ruined by anachronistic overpainting, that would have explained that.

That does not explain the portrait, however, and the other little miniature, and the similarities between them and the portrait suggest that there is a link there.

The Seymours could naturally have been in possession of all three of them. They could have been the ones to instigate my little overpainting plan. As the relations of Edward and William Seymour, Arbella's choice of grooms, they were the second family who had anything to fear from the scheme. They too, in a moment of blind panic, could have made the decision to alter an ancicent painting they suddenly had grounds to worry would be incriminating. Especially if they had an amateur artist in the connection.

A quick perusal gives promising results for the state of amateur painting in England in the 17th century. «Early seventeenth-century published literature on oil painting in England arose from much the same tradition: the gentleman-amateur painting as a pastime.» The Painter's Trade in the Seventeenth Century: Theory and Practice by J. Kirby

I do not know if the ladies of the 17th century were expected to be as accomplished as in Jane Austen's day, but: «According to Iain Pears (1988), the number of women active as amateur artists in 17th-century England was significantly greater than the number of men». Dictionary of Women Artists: Introductory surveys, edited by Delia Gaze, Maja Mihajlovic, Leanda Shrimpton

Both the Cavendishes and the Seymours certainly belonged to the social strata where upper class pursuits were the norm. 

But then logic dictates that their lineal descendants the Percys of Northumberland would still have been in possession of them both, as they have lovingly taken care of and preserved the Syon portrait, the smaller copy of the Syon portrait, and the miniature of Lady Katherine Grey with her son Edward Seymour, Lord Beauchamp, and the copies they have made of that, through all of these years, throughout the centuries.

They have also allowed others to make their own copies of these artworks, indicating a great pride in and love for them and their objects.

One of the identities for the mysterious 'Lady Jane Warwick' suggested by J. Stephan Edwards was Mary, Lady Warwick (8 November 1625 – 12 April 1678), wife of Charles Rich, 4th Earl of Warwick. She was the sister-in-law of Anne Cavendish, Countess of Warwick. Their husbands, Robert Rich, 3rd Earl of Warwick (1611–1659) and Charles Rich, 4th Earl of Warwick (1623?–1673), who succeeded Robert at his death in 1659, were brothers. 

The miniature may well have been wandered through inheritance from Anne, whose only son and probably only child died in 1658 and her remarried widower in 1659, to Mary, especially since, as J. Stephan Edwards puts it, «Lady Mary was a remarkably devout woman with strong Puritan values, so that it is entirely likely that she considered Jane Grey a proper model to be emulated by any pious aristocratic woman such as herself» and therefore might have expressed a strong interest in it.

Mary Boyle, Countess of Warwick's only son married another Lady Anne Cavendish. This one was the daughter of William Cavendish, 3rd Earl of Devonshire.

Though the marriage lasted only a short time – the couple was married in 1662 and her husband died in 1664 – it should have been a long enough time for the miniature to be correctly identified again if it had lost its identity since the death of the first Lady Anne Cavendish in 1638.

The second Lady Anne Cavendish was very close with her family, she was born at the home of her grandmother Christian Cavendish, Countess of Devonshire, the first Lady Anne's mother, and she named her eldest daughter after her.

As Charles, Lord Rich, predeceased his father, the Earl, this Lady Anne was never known as Lady Warwick. She instead went on to marry John Cecil, 5th Earl of Exeterand is known to history as Anne Cavendish, Countess of Exeter.

Lady Anne Cavendish, Countess of Exeter, whose first husband was the eldest and only son of the Earl of Warwick

Lady Anne Cavendish, Countess of Exeter, whose first husband was the eldest and only son of the Earl of Warwick

Elizabeth Cecil, Duchess of Devonshire, the mother of our second Lady Anne Cavendish

Elizabeth Cecil, Duchess of Devonshire, the mother of our second Lady Anne Cavendish

Provenance: Elizabeth, Countess of Devonshire, nee Cecil, her will, proved 13th November 1690 (‘A picture of two heads of Venus and Cupid’), by whom given to her daughter, Anne, Countess of Exeter; Thence by descent.

The interesting thing about this Lady Anne, however, is that she did have an art collection.

Her husband was known as the Travelling Earl. He was a notable Grand Tourist and filled his family home, Burghley House, with treasures purchased on his travels in 1679, 1681 and 1699 in Italy. He purchased 300 works of art during his 22 years in Burghley and spent on his last visit to Europe £5,000 (c. £535,000 in 2017 currency).

The Earl and Countess lived at Burghley House, where the Earl accumulated a large art collection as a result of his European travels. The Countess joined her husband on three European tours. A portrait of her, by Godfrey Kneller, hung in the "brown dining room" at Burghley.

The label on the reverse of the Ansty Hall miniature does specifically mention a Collection, and the Countess survived her husband by four years, living to 1704, technically living into the 18th century as specified by the label.

Her name was Anne, not Jane, though, and technically she was never known as Lady Warwick, as she was only married to the eldest son of Lord Warwick.

One can however understand them if some details became jumbled, though, lol, if this is indeed the path the miniature took.

Of the nine children of Anne Cavendish, Countess of Exeter, only two would have children of their own[5]

If one is to read between the lines, there is the possibility that the way of life of her three younger sons may have been a bit rakish, this being the Georgian era, offering many possibilities for a miniature to change hands. 

I had thought that her first marriage would have been quietly passed by in genealogies, as it lasted only a short while and resulted in no children. But every genealogical account dilligently lists it, the earliest I have been able to find decribing her as: «Which John the earl married Anne, only daughter of William earl of Devonshire, widow of Charles Rich, son and heir of Charles earl of Warwick».[6]

One can easily see how that might have been jumbled into that Lady Anne Cavendish would have been titled Lady Warwick.

If it did pass through the hands of one of her sons, at least three of whom survived her by 20 years, why is only the 'Collection of Lady Jane Warwick' listed at the back of the miniature? 

Well, it might have been in the art world as in other parts of Jane Austen's world: 'A poor honourable is no catch.'

One of the two children of Anne Cavendish, Countess of Exeter, who did marry, was her youngest daughter Elizabeth, who sadly died very young. She married Charles Boyle, 4th Earl of Orrery who was the great newphew of Mary Boyle, Countess of Warwick (1625 – 1678).

Elizabeth (1687 – 12 June 1708) was born after the passing of of Mary Boyle, Countess of Warwick, showing a relationship between those women and an interweaving of their families that lasted even after death.

William Cavendish, 4th Duke of Devonshire (1720 – 1764) married Lady Charlotte Elizabeth Boyle, 6th Baroness Clifford (1731–1754), , the daughter and heiress of Richard Boyle, 3rd Earl of Burlington, a famous architect and art collector.

When I started researching this, I had no idea that these ladies' interest in miniatures was a matter of public record.

Lady Elizabeth Cecil (1619-1689), second daughter of William, 2nd Earl of Salisbury, married in 1638/9 William, 3rd Earl of Devonshire (1617-1684). In her will she bequeathed a number of miniatures to her daughter Anne. Samuel Cooper; reconstructing a life – Philip Mould 

That daughter was our second Lady Anne Cavendish, who married, in 1670, John, 5th Earl of Exeter.

Today, impressively, this group provides the nucleus of the Burghley House Collection.

Lady Anne Cavendish, Countess of Exeter, whose first husband was the son and heir of the Earl of Warwick, and who died in the 18th century, was bequeathed a number of miniatures by her mother. An incredibly impressive collection, which includes a miniature of Elizabeth, Countess of Devonshire, nee Cecil, by Samuel Cooper, signed and dated 1642, The Virgin, Child and St. John the Baptist, attributed to Jean Petitot, circa 1670, The Adoration of the Magi, by Nicholas Dixon, after Rubens, circa 1680, and Venus and Cupid, in the manner of Peter Oliver, circa 1630.

They are all very lovely and exquisite.

It seems our possible 'Lady Jane Warwick' was in possession of quite an art collection indeed.

To this day, the Burghley collection contains a portrait of Mary Rich, Countess of Warwick (1625-1678) attributed to Edmund Ashfield, our second Lady Anne Cavendish's first mother-in-law, and the sister-in-law of our first. «Lady Rich, Countess of Warwick, was the wife of the 4th Earl of Warwick and the mother of Charles Rich, (1643-1664), the first husband of Anne Cavendish who was to become the wife of John, 5th Earl of Exeter in 1670.»

Reading the above description I was reminded of this entry in the Arundel collection:

472. Heads of our Lord and the Madonna.

There are of course also numerous references to Venus and Cupid in the Arundel collection, best summed up in the entry below:

541. Venus and Cupid.

This often-repeated subject willl also be found under Titian, Sebastiano del Piombo, and the Veronese.

But it was that particular entry which struck me. It is also interesting that this particular painting is listed under III. SUBJECTS TO WHICH NO ARTISTS' NAMES ARE APPENDED.

We must remember that this was a time rife with misattributions. And yet this very common theme was not listed under any of the many artists listed in the inventory.

«In the manner of Peter Oliver» would have been a rather difficult attribution for the Italian or Dutch compilers of the inventory to make. (The inventory was propably compiled in Amsterdam in 1655, but was written in Italian.)

Of course this proves absolutely nothing. The painting listed in the Arundel inventories could have been any number paintings with this common theme, and need not have anything to do with the painting bequeated from Elizabeth Cecil, Countess of Devonshire, to her daughter Anne, whose first husband was the eldest son and heir of the Earl of Warwick.

It does, however, open for the interesting question of whether the Cavendishes could have retrieved something else from the Arundel collection.

Of Bess of Hardwick's six surviving children, we have earlier mentioned Elizabeth, the mother of Arbella Stuart.

Another daughter who is interesting to us is Mary. She married Gilbert Talbot, 7th Earl of Shrewsbury. They had five children including, Lady Alatheia (or Alethea) Talbot, who married Thomas Howard, 21st Earl of Arundel.

Thomas Howard, 21st Earl of Arundel was the owner of the Arundel collection.

He was also the direct descendant of Mary Fitzalan, Duchess of Norfolk, and Lady Jane Grey's first cousin. He had a burning passion for portraits of his family and all of his distant forebears.

«The Earl inherited many of [Holbein's] works, some of which were portraits of his ancestors. Arundel admitted a “foolish curiosity” for Holbein, particularly because the artist’s work linked back to his predecessors and the Tudor court, e.g. Holbein’s Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk. Looking at Holbein portraits is the visual equivalent of reading a historical chronicle and so he would have greatly appealed to a man with a love of history and a deep reverence for the accomplishments of his family.» Kings, Collectors, and Paintings in the 17th Century: Week 2 : The Arundel and Buckingham Collections

Of Bess of Hardwick's six surviving children, we have earlier mentioned Elizabeth, the mother of Arbella Stuart. Another daughter who is interesting to us is Mary. A portrait of her was in the Lumley collection. She married Gilbert Talbot, 7th Earl of Shrewsbury

«In 1568, Gilbert was married to Mary Cavendish, daughter of his new stepmother, Bess of Hardwick, who inherited much of her formidable mother's strength of character. When Bess and her husband fell out, Gilbert took the side of his wife and his mother-in-law against his own father. However, when the old earl died in 1590, Gilbert refused Bess the widow's portion that was her due, and consequently they fell out. He appears to have been a highly quarrelsome individual, feuding with not only his stepmother but his brother and other family members, his tenants, and even Elizabeth I herself. He was overshadowed by his formidable wife: Francis Bacon remarked that she was undoubtedly "greater than he".»

«He became a patron of the arts, as was his daughter Alethea, who became Countess of Arundel by her marriage to Thomas Howard in 1606. Talbot's second daughter, Elizabeth, married Henry Grey, 8th Earl of Kent. The eldest, Mary, married William Herbert, 3rd Earl of Pembroke. As well as bringing up their three daughters, Gilbert and Mary Talbot spent a good deal of time with their orphaned niece, Arbella Stuart. The downfall of Arbella, who as the closest relative of King James I of England had greatly offended him by marrying without his consent, had serious consequences for Gilbert and Mary: Mary, who had aided the marriage, went to the Tower of London as a result, and Gilbert lost his seat on the Privy Council.»

As we see, Arbella's family did indeed get in trouble after her marriage.

In addition to two sons who died in infancy, the couple had three daughters, including Lady Alatheia (or Alethea) Talbot, who married Thomas Howard, 21st Earl of Arundel.

Thomas Howard, 21st Earl of Arundel was the owner of the Arundel collection.

He was also the direct descendant of Mary Fitzalan, Duchess of Howard, and Lady Jane Grey's first cousin. He had a burning passion for portraits of his family and all of his distant forebears.

«The Earl inherited many of [Holbein's] works, some of which were portraits of his ancestors. Arundel admitted a “foolish curiosity” for Holbein, particularly because the artist’s work linked back to his predecessors and the Tudor court, e.g. Holbein’s Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk. Looking at Holbein portraits is the visual equivalent of reading a historical chronicle and so he would have greatly appealed to a man with a love of history and a deep reverence for the accomplishments of his family.» Kings, Collectors, and Paintings in the 17th Century: Week 2 : The Arundel and Buckingham Collections

Bess of Hardwick was in a possession of portrait Lady Jane Grey in 1560. Her granddaughter Alathea married Thomas Howard, 21st Earl of Arundel, in 1606, two years before Bess' own death.

Under the circumstances I do not think it would have been unnatural for Alathea to try to secure the portrait as a gift for her husband.

Ever since I discovered this connection, it has always been in the back of my mind that the Hardwick portrait of Lady Jane Grey might have followed Lady Alathea Talbot. And in so doing it would have joined the Arundel collection.

No portrait of Lady Jane Grey was among the almost 600 paintings owned by the Howards in 1655, however.

This inventory was not done by Thomas Howard, 21st Earl of Arundel, though, or even in his lifetime, or even in the lifetime of his wife.

Mary Cavendish, Countess of Shrewsbury

Mary Cavendish, Countess of Shrewsbury

Alathea Talbot, Countess of Arundel

Alathea Talbot, Countess of Arundel

From Wikipedia: In 1641, on the eve of the English Civil War, Alathea and her husband, their son, Viscount Stafford, and his wife fled to the Netherlands. She commissioned an inventory of the contents of Tart Hall, her home on the margins of St James's, which included a chamber known as the Dutch Pranketing Room.

Alathea and her husband had been appointed to escort Marie de' Medici, Dowager Queen of France, who had been in England to visit her daughter Henrietta Maria, Queen of England (and also because she was on the outs with her son, the King of France) to Cologne and safety.

Lady Arundel was not prepared to wait for Marie de' Medici and with characteristic decisiveness set off for the Continent on her own, the reason being, so it was said, that she had a 'mania' for travel. Alethea went straight to Utrecht and met there with her husband. When he accompanied Marie de' Medici to Cologne, Alethea tried to persuade Urban VIII to allow her to enter a Carthusian monastery. In 1642 her husband accompanied the Queen and Princess Mary for her marriage to William II of Orange and left straight for Padua.

She lived in Antwerp, but moved to Alkmaar, after her husband died. She invited Franciscus Junius, for thirty years in their service, to rearrange the collection of books. Then she moved to Amersfoort (1649), and rented a pied-a-terre in Amsterdam at Singel 292, an elegant house, with a courtyard facing Herengracht.

When the Earl of Arundel died, Alethea inherited the collection of 600 paintings and drawings including works by Dürer, Holbein, Brueghel, Lucas van Leyden, Rembrandt, Rubens, Van Dyck, Raffaello da Urbino and Titian. There were 181 works with no attribution; 200 statues and 5,000 drawings, which he had bought with her money. His debts (or the collection) were estimated £100.000. She inherited Arundel Castle and Arundel House. Her eldest son argued three years in court against his father's will.

On 3 June 1654 Alethea died in Amsterdam without leaving a will and a compiled and far from clear inventory was made. The inventory consisted of 36 paintings by Titian, 16 by Giorgione, 19 by Tintoretto, 11 by Correggio, 17 by Veronese 12 by Rafaello and five by Da Vinci.

«The Fate of Arundel’s Pictures

The Arundels made arrangements for their pictures to go to the Low Countries where they arrived about 1643. Examples of the art to arrive in the Low Countries included Holbein’s Dr Chambers (Vienna) and studio versions of Titian’s Three Ages of Man. The impact of these two artists in Antwerp must have been considerable where connoisseurship was enthusiastically pursued. Towards the middle of 1645 Arundel left Antwerp for Italy while Lady Arundel left for the Low Countries. He lived most in Padua, but also visited Parma. Sadly, Arundel’s eldest grandson was now a lunatic and another grandson had become a Dominican monk; he was also angry that his wife had “scattered” his collection. The Arundel sons failed to sell their father’s art, the best items having been sent abroad to avoid looting. However, the Spanish Ambassador in London had his eye on Arundel’s impressive Raphael (Pope Leo X with his Cardinals). It was obtained and sent to Spain where Velasquez pronounced it a copy as the cardinal in the background differed from Rossi. It is now thought to be a third version painted by Bugiardini (Rome, Galleria Corsini) for Cardinal Cibo who is substituted for de’ Rossi. In 1654 Lady Arundel died in Amsterdam, just two years after her eldest son – Lord Maltravers (1608-1652). They quarrelled over Arundel’s inheritance and her Catholic faith – so she left the collection to her younger son, Lord Stafford (1612-1680). Stafford was also a Catholic, and he lost no time in selling his inheritance. Amongst the pictures to go were Veronese’s Christ and the Centurion. At this stage Lady Arundel’s will was contested by the son of her eldest son, so eventually Lord Stafford and his nephew compromised by dividing the pictures between them. Some of the Arundels were brought back to England, e.g. Holbein’s Portrait of Erasmus (NG, on loan from Longford Castle Collection). John Evelyn was scathing about the dispersal of Arundel’s collection. Most of Arundel’s pictures remained in Amsterdam for the next thirty years until they were finally dispersed by auction in 1684. [8]

[8] Francis Haskell describes the Arundel holdings and their fate: “One gets the impression of a sort of incredible emporium, owned by absentee shareholders, which, over the years, was dipped into by purchasers of all kinds, who presumably paid their bills of exchange into the accounts of the various family members who had a stake in what remained. The name of Arundel provided a plausible guarantee of quality and authenticity, but who made the arrangements, and who determined the price is not at all clear.” The King’s Pictures, 113-114.» Kings, Collectors, and Paintings in the 17th Century: Week 2 : The Arundel and Buckingham Collections

From Wikipedia again: Two grandchildren claimed half of the inheritance and sent Sir Edward Walker to the Netherlands. In 1655 Stafford was arrested in Utrecht, but released within a few weeks. Henry Howard, 6th Duke of Norfolk and his brother Charles were keen on getting the paintings and went in Utrecht to court in 1658 and 1661.

«Before his relations could interfere Lord Stafford had sold a number of pictures to the Spanish Ambassador in London, to Eberhard Jabach, of Cologne, and to the agent of the Archduke Leopold, and this may account for the fact that certain of them remained abroad, such as the Jane Seymour and Dr. Chamber in Vienna, and the Thomas and John Godsalve in Dresden.» Hans Holbein the Younger by Arthur Bensley Chamberlain

There does appear to be some overlap between the Arundel collection and the collection now at Chatsworth[7][8][9].

The Three Brothers Browne, by Isaac Oliver, signed with monogram, inscribed and dated 1598, which is in all likelihood was in the Arundel collection, is today at Burghley House, though this does not appear to have been a part of the bequest from the Countess of Devonshire.

There was another miniature by Oliver included in the bequest in addition to Venus and Cupid, that of Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, by Isaac Oliver, circa 1600, but this does not appear to have been in the Arundel collection.

Chatsworth, as it is today, with the River Derwent, which has presumably always been there

Chatsworth, as it is today, with the River Derwent, which has presumably always been there

The reason this is interesting, is that after discovering the Duckett portrait, I went through the inventory of the Arundel collection with an eye for a woman not identified as Lady Jane Grey, but with a description fitting with the apperance of the lady in the Duckett portrait, to see if we might trace the Lumley portrait of Lady Jane Grey that way.

Since it seems I was the first to connect the Duckett portrait to Lady Jane Grey, I assumed that had not been done before.

I did not find that (and upon further reflection, I realised that the presence of a cartellino certainly would have told the takers of the inventory who she was. After all, how else did they know who all of these obscure English 'celebrities' from the 1500's were in a foreign country one hundred years after their deaths?)

I did, however, find the following entries:

448. Portrait of a Woman, in profile.

452. Portrait of a Woman in a small black cap with a white plume.

457. A Lady in a cap and plume.

See No. 452.

591. A Woman with a small cap and plume.

See No. 452

706. Portrait without inscription.

714. Joan Shorr, advocate.

761. A Woman to the waist.

775. Two Portraits, one of a Man, the other of a Woman, in a box. Wood.

Again, this is proof of absolutely nothing, but the descriptions in these entries do correspond perfectly with the Anglesey Abbey portrait, the little miniature, and the Ansty Hall miniature. Furthermore, something about the Mary Frederica Sophia Hervey writes about these entries, makes it seem as if she sometimes wonders if the different entries sometimes describe the same item. The entries were after all created Mary Frederica Sophia Hervey, not the compilers, from a «far from clear inventory». She undertook the task of trying to make some sense of it, and from the remarks of everyone who has seen the original inventory, it seems as if we owe her a great thanks for that.

Even if we put these descriptions together, we get:

Portrait without inscription of a Woman in a small black cap with a white plume, in profile, to the waist. 

Which fits perfectly with the Anglesey Abbey portrait. In fact, it is the very words I would have used if I were to try to describe the Anglesey Abbey Portrait in a list or to a person who was unfamiliar with it.

The entry 775. Two Portraits, one of a Man, the other of a Woman, in a box. Wood. will be become important later on.

However, if the Chatsworth Portrait took a little detour to the Continent, the Cavendishes must have retrieved it.

Because I do believe that this, the Anglesey Abbey portrait, was the portrait of Lady Jane Grey that hung on the bedroom wall of Bess of Hardwick in 1560.

If it had indeed travelled with the Arundels away from the civil war, its very entries in the less auspicious part of the inventory makes it clear that it would probably not have been amongst the most coveted part of the Arundel collection, allowing someone who really wanted it to discreetly purchase it rather than it being dispersed before anyone had got their bearings like some of the more prestigious items in the collection.

Because a portrait of Lady Jane Grey does keep appearing and re-appearing intermittently at Chatsworth and other Duke of Devonshire properties in the following centuries.

«The travel diarist John Byng, Viscount Torrington, did report a portrait of Jane "much neglected" and hanging in the Great Drawing Room when he visited Hardwick Hall in 1789.» A Queen of a New Invention, by J. Stephan Edwards, p. 184

The «portrait in the Middle Drawing Room that was attributed to the seventeenth-century artist Anthony van Dyck and curiously said to depict "the Dutchess[sic] of Suffolk and Lady Jane Grey."»[10] mentioned by the Devonshire House inventorist in 1811 was probably the portrait shown above of Christian, Lady Cavendish, with her daughter. 

«At least nine portraits of women that could no longer be identified were recorded [at Hardwick] in 1811. One full-length was suspected to depict Arbella Stuart, while a half-length was said to be of "a Lady supposed to be Queen" The other seven were entirely beyond recognition. And a further "Twenty other Old Portraits and Paintings various, [were] very much defaced and Bad."» A Queen of a New Invention, by J. Stephan Edwards, p. 184

«A portrait of Jane Grey reappeared briefly at Hardwick Hall early in the nineteenth century.» A Queen of a New Invention, by J. Stephan Edwards, p. 185

«But it had disappeared again by 1860, when Lady Louisa Cavendish Egerton compiled a catalogue of the pictures at Hardwick Hall. She listed just over 300 pictures, none of which were said to depict Jane Grey. Four were of unidentified women, two of which were dated to the late-seventeenth century, and a third had been newly acquired in the nineteenth century. The fourth was not described. Five years later, Sir George Scharf, Director of the National Portrait Gallery, surveyed over 300 pictures at Hardwick Hall, though he offered descriptions of the content of only 261, including over a dozen identified using the single word "Unknown." Then in 1903, Cecil Foljambe, Lord Hawkesbury created a printed catalogue of the collection at Hardwick Hall. Foljambe counted "four curious paintings on panels, supposed to have come from the old Hall," though he did not record their content. Neither did he find any picture that could today be identified as a potential depiction of Jane Grey.» A Queen of a New Invention, by J. Stephan Edwards, p. 185

«In all likelihood, Bess of Hardwick's authentic portrait of Jane Grey was one of the many found to be "much defaced" or "bad" late in the eighteenth century and thus not worth preserving. The picture was almost certainly discarded or deliberately destroyed before the middle of the nineteenth century.» A Queen of a New Invention, by J. Stephan Edwards, p. 185

While this is a reasonable assumption to make, I simply do not believe that they had them destroyed.

There is nothing about the Devonshire-Cavendishes and their 500-year-old manor filled with 300-year-old stuff that indicate that they are a particularly unsentimental lot.

If you look around in your own closets, chests of drawers and attics, how much of it is stuff you will never have use for again?

How much of it are you willing to throw away?

The Devonshire-Cavendishes didn't have to throw away anything that they did not particularly want to.

Presented with a list from some underling about which of their possessions that person thought useless, did they go, «Burn them all, Jeeves!!!» or did they simply shove the old, derelict paintings into one of the 300 rooms they were not currently occupying or piled them up in a corner of their 1000 square feet attic that was currently not in use?

Also, We Do Not Destroy Paintings must have been a particularly strong more in the aristocracy and otherwise, considering all of the paintings of, shall we say, varying quality that have survived through the ages and have been passed down to us.

After all, if they wanted to be rid of one or many, there was always someone willing to buy it, or some fringe family member eager for an heirloom.

The portrait of Lady Jane Grey was said to be in a poor condition indeed. 

J. Stephan Edwards offers an excellent explanation for how this may have come to be: «In the instance of the Chatsworth Portrait owned by Bess of Hardwick in 1559, the evidence suggests that the portrait suffered significant decay over time, either through conscious neglect or natural processes. Most habitable rooms in pre-modern houses included a fireplace, and those fireplaces often discharged some measure of smoke into the room itself. As is the case with modern households in which the residents smoke tobacco products, smoke residue could and did accumulate over time, eventually obscuring the image. Inventories taken in the nineteenth century at the houses of Bess’s descendants, Chatsworth House and Hardwick Hall, revealed over two dozen portraits in which the image was entirely obscured by soot and dirt. That soot and dirt also often caused chemical reactions in the protective varnish, the paintwork itself, or even the supporting wood panel, especially in those instances when the panel became wet for some reason, e.g.: ‘rising damp,’ flooding, leaking roofs. Panels became warped, split, or riddled with wood worm.» Queen Jane, Where Are You? – Some Grey Matter

If my theory is right, the additions of an amateur family painter in the early 1600's probably didn't help matters, either.

So, you have a derelict painting. At some point, you will probably want to have something done with it, yes.

It is my belief that they brought the picture of Lady Jane Grey with them to London.

J. Stephan Edwards describes how the portrait of Lady Jane Grey was moved around between Chatsworth and Old Hardwick Hall and New Hardwick Hall as the Cavendishes built, rebuilt, and redecorated.

The interesting thing is that all of these residences ended up with the same of Bess's children.

Chatsworth House – Bess died in 1608 and Chatsworth was passed to her eldest son, Henry. The estate was purchased from Henry by his brother William Cavendish, 1st Earl of Devonshire, for £10,000.

Hardwick Hall (Old and New) – After Bess's death in 1608, the house passed to her son William Cavendish, 1st Earl of Devonshire. His great-grandson, William, was created 1st Duke of Devonshire in 1694. The Devonshires made another of Bess's great houses, Chatsworth, their principal seat.

And so William Cavendish, 1st Earl of Devonshire, becomes the third of Bess of Hardwick children to be of interest to us.

Of course the above residences were in no way enough. A London house to be fashionable for the season was just the thing. Enter: Devonshire House.

Following a fire in 1733 it was rebuilt for William Cavendish, 3rd Duke of Devonshire, in the Palladian style.

Since we have observations of the portrait of Lady Jane Grey after 1733, I think we can safely assume that it was not consumed by flames that year.

But I do believe that Devonshire House is where it ended up.

Devonshire House was completed about 1740, it stood empty after the First World War and was demolished in 1924.

Quoting freely from Wikipedia: Following World War I, many aristocratic families gave up their London houses, and Devonshire House was no exception; it was deserted in 1919.

The reason for abandonment was that the 9th Duke was the first of his family to have to pay death duties; these amounted to over £500,000. Additionally, he inherited the debts of the 7th Duke. This double burden required the sale of many of the family's valuables, including books printed by William Caxton, many Shakespeare 1st editions, and Devonshire House with its even more valuable three acres of gardens. The sale was finalised in 1920, for a price of £750,000, and the house demolished.

Some of the paintings and furniture are now at the Devonshire principal seat, Chatsworth House.

Devonshire House in Piccadilly was the London residence of the Dukes of Devonshire

Devonshire House in Piccadilly was the London residence of the Dukes of Devonshire

Some are not all.

That in itself is an indication that some of the art collection at Devonshire House was liquidated alongside with the sale of the property.

The reason was probably multifold. One was the pecuniary difficulties experienced by the 9th Duke.

Another was probably that their other residences, Chatsworth and Hardwick Hall, couldn't take anymore pictures.

Devonshire House, London, England | The Duke of Devonshire's Lost London House

Devonshire House, London, England | The Duke of Devonshire's Lost London House

At least not the whole collection.

I have previously mentioned the human instinct that rebels against letting go of something that has once been precious to us.

There is one exception.

In my experience it is when you move house, you clear house.

It is somehow easier to let everything go at once.

The Devonshire-Cavendishes did the same thing when they had to let go of Hardwick Hall in 1959. They let go of the paintings at the same time.

A ball at Devonshire House in 1850, from the Illustrated London News

A ball at Devonshire House in 1850, from the Illustrated London News

The National Portrait Gallery has a list over British picture restorers, 1600-1950, showing that already early there was a need for and a knowledge of the possibility of restoring old paintings.

Devonshire House was demolished in 1924.

The Anglesey Abbey Portrait was bequeathed along with Anglesey Abbey itself and all its contents to the British nation in 1966 on the death of Huttleston Rogers Broughton, 1st Lord Fairhaven. No further documentation for the provenance of the painting is available.

When Lord Fairhaven purchased the house in 1926, it was empty. The painting called Lady Jane Grey was acquired by Lord Fairhaven only after he had purchased the house. The painting was apparently just one of many acquisitions made after 1926 by Lord Fairhaven and intended to furnish an otherwise empty residence. The purchases included a significant number of portraits of royal historical figures.

I owe the blog Mary Tudor: Renaissance Queen: Possible portrait of a young Mary? enormous thanks for the information they have been able to find and share about the 

«Paul Ganz in The Paintings of Hans Holbein: First Complete Edition (London: The Phaidon Press Ltd, 1950) provides this brief discussion of the portrait:

'Like the roundel of Prince Edward, the portrait comes from an unknown collection; it was discovered in 1937 completely overpainted and was restored at the same time, whereby the damage to the collar was revealed and repaired. The identification of the sitter with Princess Mary is based not only on the striking similarity between her profile and that of her brother Edward but also on a comparison with various other portraits. An early one in three-quarters view must have been painted by Holbein during a former reconciliation in 1536. It is now lost and known only from an etching by Wenzel Hollar with the inscription: Princeps Maria Henrici VIII Regis Angliae filia. H. Holbein pinxit, W. Hollar fecit. Ex Collectione Arundeliana 1647. A badly damaged portrait study at Windsor Castle with the inscription ‘Lady Mary after Queen’ which, owing to its present condition, I did not regard as an original appears to have been the preliminary drawing for Hollar’s engraved portrait with the sides reversed. Recently it has been acknowledged as authentic by Parker (W.DR. 41) and by H.A. Schmid (Hans Holbein d. J. 113).’ (p. 257)

Evidently this was written over six decades ago, and some of the findings no longer stand. The ‘Windsor’ sketch, concluded by Ganz to be a copy, is currently believed to be an original. The portrait of Edward is now believed to be from the workshop of Holbein, and not by the artist himself. The portrait of 'Mary', may also be by a follower.

The roundel is also discussed by Roy Strong. In Holbein: the Complete Paintings (London: Granada, 1980), Strong includes the portrait and states ‘Called the Princess Mary; Oil and tempera on wood/diam. 37/c.1543. London, Private Collection. Attributed work’ (p. 90). An image of the portrait can also be found in the National Portrait Gallery’s Heinz Archive in the sitter's box for Mary. No further information is provided, aside from the brief mention that it was once exhibited at the Walker Art Gallery (Liverpool).»

As we see, the little miniature was discovered in 1937.

Though it is proof of absolutely nothing (and we must remember that other collections were also being liquidated at this time, probably for similar reasons) it is interesting to note that timeline-wise both the Anglesey Abbey Portrait and the little miniature fits perfectly with the sale of some of the collection housed at Devonshire House.

The little miniature completely overpainted

Devonshire House – The 6th Duke of Devonshire's ballroom at Devonshire House. It was formed from two of the 2nd Duke's drawing room by William Kent in the 1730's

Devonshire House – The 6th Duke of Devonshire's ballroom at Devonshire House. It was formed from two of the 2nd Duke's drawing room by William Kent in the 1730's

I must admit that I have had an ulterior motive in posting these pictures of the interiors of Devonshire House.

I have had a secret hope that one might in the background glimpse something that could be the Anglesey Abbey Portrait, but no such luck.

Until now.

What looks like the profile and the hat of the sitter in the Devonshire House ballroom, bear a close resemblance to the profile and the hat of the sitter in the Anglesey Abbey Portrait.

If anybody knows which portrait this might else be, please leave a comment.

Devonshire House – The 6th Duke's Ballroom (detail)

Devonshire House – The 6th Duke's Ballroom (detail)

Devonshire House – The 6th Duke's Ballroom (detail)

Devonshire House – The 6th Duke's Ballroom (detail)

Lady Jane Grey – The Anglesey Abbey Portrait

Lady Jane Grey – The Anglesey Abbey Portrait

Lady Jane Grey – The Ansty Hall Miniature Portrait

Lady Jane Grey – The Ansty Hall Miniature Portrait

The dress, however, actually bears more resemblance to the dress of the sitter in the Ansty Hall Miniature Portrait.

The white of what looks like the chest and the arms of the sitter in the Devonshire House ballroom painting corresponds closesly with the white of the chest and the arms of the sitter in the Ansty Hall Miniature Portrait.

This would, however, mean that the Anglesey Abbey Portrait has been overpainted (at least) two times in its history.

Once to the version seen here in the Devonshire House ballroom, and once to the version we see today.

Lady Jane Grey – Engraving RCIN 600979

Lady Jane Grey – Engraving RCIN 600979

Inscribed: From a Portrait in Coloured Wax of the same Size

One of the most curious (of admittedly a string of curious) portraits called Lady Jane Grey is this engraving, described as being from a portrait in coloured wax of the same size by J. Plott (d.1803).

John Plott (1732-1803) was a miniaturist.

«John Plott, another miniaturist, was also a pupil of the elder Hone, and was born at Winchester, where he studied law. Forsaking that pursuit, he came to London, and was at first a pupil of Richard Wilson R.A.» Chats on Old Miniatures by J. J. Foster, F.S.A.

If you look at his other work, however, either at the National Portrait Gallery or the ones that have been auctioned off, you will see that all other examples I have found of his work appear to be historically accurate.

Unlike the one of Lady Jane Grey, who is naturally wearing clothes Lady Jane Grey would never have worn, and wearing her hair in a way that Lady Jane Grey would never ever have worn hers.

His miniature of Charles I (1600-1649), for example, is perfectly historically accurate in spite of the king dying about 75 years before John Plott was born.

The miniature of Charles If is described as being after Sir Anthony van Dyck.

It would therefore make sense if his miniature of Lady Jane Grey was likewise based on a portrait by somebody else.

Lady Jane Grey – Engraving NPG D24993 © National Portrait Gallery, London

Lady Jane Grey – Engraving NPG D24993 © National Portrait Gallery, London


Robert Fulton (November 14, 1765 – February 25, 1815) was an American engineer and inventor who is widely credited with developing a commercially successful steamboat.

That ... does not sound very Lady Jane Grey-esque.

While steamboats are very worthy pursuits in themselves, they were not exactly what I was expecting when I started researching the origins of the portrait engraved here.

Besides, Robert Fulton was American. What in the world would he be doing in England in general and at Devonshire-Cavendish residences specifically?

Undoubtedly the above portrait was something he doodled down on a napkin one day in between dreaming of and sketching steamboats.

The Wikipedia article did, however, contain one paragraph of interest to us:

«At the age of 23, Fulton traveled to Europe, where he would live for the next twenty years. He went to England in 1786, carrying several letters of introduction to Americans abroad from prominent individuals he had met in Philadelphia. He had already corresponded with artist Benjamin West; their fathers had been close friends. West took Fulton into his home, where Fulton lived for several years and studied painting. Fulton gained many commissions painting portraits and landscapes, which allowed him to support himself. He continued to experiment with mechanical inventions.»

But it was altogether too vague for my liking.

Then I found something much more concrete and very interesting.

«[B]ut [he] was most impressed by the accomplishments of Benjamin West and in 1786, at the age of twenty-once, decided to follow him to London. Fulton carried a letter of introduction to West and both artists probably knew that their fathers had been friends. Although Fulton did not work in West's studio, where John Trumbull (1756–1843) was then working on various history paintings, he benefited from West's advice and encouragement. By 1791, he was ready to exhibit his portraits and history paintings at the Royal Academy and the Society of Artists.

As his artistic accomplishment increased, however, Fulton became dissatisfied. He desired fame and prosperity and realised that his artistic pursuits would neither become lucrative nor bring him fame commensurate with West's. In 1792, he wrote to his mother that the eight pictures he exhibited at the Royal Academy

rec'd every possible mark of approbation that the Society could give, but these exertions are all for honour – there is no prophet [sic] arising from it. It only tends to Create a name that may hereafter produce business.

During the next year, he completed three ambitions compositions, Louis the XVI in Prison Taking Leave of His Family, Lady Jane Grey the Night Before Her Execution, and Mary, Queen of Scots Under Confinement, all of which are now unlocated.» Robert Fulton's Art Collection by Carrie Rebora

Since one of these three portraits was called Mary, Queen of Scots Under Confinement, is it not possible he went somewhere ... Mary, Queen of Scots was confined?

Like Hardwick Hall?

Where we know that the portrait of Lady Jane Grey was hanging in this period?

«The travel diarist John Byng, Viscount Torrington did report a portrait of Jane "much neglected" and hanging in the Great Drawing Room when he visited Hardwick Hall in 1789. [...] A portrait of Jane Grey reappeared briefly at Hardwick Hall early in the nineteenth century, when it was reported hanging in the Long Gallery.» (A Queen of a New Invention by J. Stephan Edwards, p. 184-185)

Benjamin West was a well-connected man, and could undoubtedly have secured an invitation to Hardwick Hall for his protegé.

Besides, it seems as if many of the great houses were open to visitors, or tourists, as we would have termed them today, in this period.

«Oxford, Blenheim, Warwick, Kenilworth, Birmingham, etc. are sufficiently known. [...] they bent their steps, after having seen all the principal wonders of the country; [...] She must own that she was tired of seeing great houses; after going over so many, she really had no pleasure in fine carpets or satin curtains.» Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Robert Fulton could have seen this 'much neglected' portrait and given it his own twist.

If you look at what looks like the sitter in the painting in the Devonshire House ballroom, it looks like she has something in the portrait to the left, that looks like a desk. The white whatever-it-is is not present in either the Anglesey Abbey Portrait or the Ansty Hall Miniature Portrait.

Actually, on further reflection, there *is* something that looks as if it could be a table or part of a writing desk in the Ansty Hall Miniature Portrait, albeit on the wrong side of the lady, though on the same side as the whatever-it-is in the portrait in the ballroom of Devonshire House. The whatever-it-is is definitely not present in the present-day Anglesey Abbey Portrait, though.

The white whatever-it-is does however correspond very closely to the desk and the book in the engraving.

Perhaps a more literal rendition was not even possible due to the defaced condition of the painting.

Mary Queen of Scotts Under Confinement (called Mary, Queen of Scots) – Engraving NPG D13125 © National Portrait Gallery, London

Mary Queen of Scotts Under Confinement (called Mary, Queen of Scots) – Engraving NPG D13125 © National Portrait Gallery, London

If you look at the mezzotint print of Mary Queen of Scots Under Confinement, you will see that the same composition is chosen here.

Mary, Queen of Scots is sitting at a desk, looking at a book.

That the composition of two works so important to his career should be so similar could indicate a lack of imagination overall that would happily let itself be inspired by an existing portrait, while adding enough elements of his own to make it his own.

Carrie Rebora, the author of Robert Fulton's Art Collection describes them as: «The female characters are portrayed as twins in appearance and deed,» which would make sense if they are both drawn from the same reference painting.

Lady Jane Grey – Engraving NPG D36326 © National Portrait Gallery, London

Lady Jane Grey – Engraving NPG D36326 © National Portrait Gallery, London

A ball at Devonshire House in 1850, from the Illustrated London News

A ball at Devonshire House in 1850, from the Illustrated London News



10.10.2022 13:05

The above portrait of Alice Spencer is very similar to another one of Lady Harington: Faces look identical

Site Owner

10.10.2022 13:23

I completely agree. The likeness is startling.

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