A Good 16thC English School Oil on Oak Panel Portrait of an Elizabethan Lady

Origin: English
Period: Elizabethan
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1570-1600
Height: 22.5 inches
Width: 18 inches

The early English school oil on oak panel depicting an Elizabethan lady in typical period attire, her cleavage enveloping a gilt necklace, her cheeks rosy, her gaze stern but with humility, her dress adorned with silk flowers, on a haloed background for a ruff, the work left abandoned and unfinished, and surviving from sixteenth century England.

The condition of the painting is stable and we have had her part restored. She came to us with some bad overpainting to both flanks which we have carefully removed revealing the wonderful lace work and we have touched up a few small areas of loss. Importantly, we have not gone too far, rather just given a clean and taken away any later additions, which were badly added. There is a lovely craquelure to the paintings surface. We have a photograph of her before we tidied her up, so if interested please ask. We now present her in attractive condition and in the most original order she could hope to be presented in. The reverse shows the dovetail joints holding the planks together, the oak roughly hewn cut.

The pictures composition points to it being unfinished, the large ruff can be seen beginning to appear to the lower parts at the bosom, her face we feel is finished and her bodice seemingly complete but the area around her head is certainly without resolution or conclusion, she appears to be depicted almost against a halo which would of course be the outline to her ruff which was par for the course in this period. This picture is similar to those of William Segar (c. 1554–1633) who was a portrait painter and officer of arms to the court of Elizabeth I of England; he became Garter King of Arms under James I.

A very early piece of English school painting with an unknown past that is sure to be hugely chequered and fantastically intriguing – we love abandoned paintings as they pose so many questions…