The Berry-Hill Portrait

Katherine Grey, Countess of Hertford (25 August 1540 – 26 January 1568) – The Berry-Hill Portrait

Called Queen Elizabeth I, but probably Katherine Grey Seymour[1]

 

 

«Provenance:

            John Lumsden Propert (d.1902)

            John Pierpont Morgan (d.1913)

            Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York;

            de-accessioned January 1956;

            Parke-Bernet Galleries, sold 25 October 1956;

            Berry-Hill Galleries, New York until at least 1961;

            Current whereabouts unknown.»[2]

For J. Stephan Edwards's assessment of the Berry-Hill Portrait, see p. 146-155 of his book A Queen of a New Invention.

After finding, to my surprise, a link between Lady Jane Grey and Lady Katherine Grey's first cousin Margaret Grey or Lenton Astley and the Chawton Portrait, I thought I'd see if I could find any between the Berry-Hill and the Soule portraits and members of Lady Jane Grey and Lady Katherine Grey's family. 

«Curator's comments

Vertue first noted the original painting from which he made this drawing around 1724 when it was in the possession of Algernon Seymour, Earl of Hertford (later 7th Duke of Somerset) and described it then (in his Notebooks, I, p. 146) as 'a picture of Jane Grey that was beheaded an undoubted Original a picture left by Will in the Family'. In 1740 he noted it again in his pamphlet 'A description of four ancient paintings, Being Hitorical Portraitures of Royal ranches of theCrown of England' (p. 4) when he mentions the painting was brought from Marlborough for his inspection, so the drawing presumably dates between 1724 and 1740. It was made for his engraving (see G,9.135). In 1750 he noted the painting again (Notebooks, V, p. 50) as in the possession of Earl of Hertford at Marlboro - (bro't to London for me to see this picture)' Another drawing by him of this picture was in Horace Walpole's collection at Strawberry Hill (see BM Engraved Portraits, II, p. 96, no. 18).

The original painting that Vertue saw passed directly through the Somerset/Northumberland family and is in Syon House. Two other versions (one once in the Metropolitan Museum in New York and now known as the Berry-Hill portrait, present whereabouts unknown, and the Soule portrait, purchased from Christie's 12 Feb. 1954 by Leger as lot 12 'A Girl by Clouet', now private collection) were later believed to be portraits of Elizabeth I as Princess and Roy Strong published the Metropolitan one as a 'borderline case' image of 'Princess Elizabeth perhaps Lady Jane Grey' because 'the full frontal image is entirely consistent with the early Elizabeth iconography and has successors in the 'Coronation' portrait' in his book 'Queen Elizabeth', p. 54, no. 3. This identification was very complicated (for which see Edwards, below).» The British Museum

Lady Jane Grey – The Syon Portrait

Lady Jane Grey – The Small Syon Portrait

The George Vertue Engraving (detail)

Katherine Grey, Countess of Hertford (25 August 1540 – 26 January 1568) – The Berry-Hill Portrait

Though it is difficult to tell, because the portraits are so alike in themselves, I think the engraving bears perhaps an even greater resemblance to Katherine Grey Seymour than it does to her sister Lady Jane Grey.

It's the frizzy hair that does it.

That is such a defining characterestic of the appearance of Lady Katherine Grey, while the lady in the Syon Portrait(s) does not have a hint of it.

I also think that the features of the lady in the engraving are more even and more in keeping with the features of the lady in the Berry-Hill Portrait (and perhaps the smaller Syon painting) than the features of the lady in the Syon Portrait.

J. Stephan Edwards writes of the Syon Portrait that «[c]onsidering these close similarities between the Syon Portrait and the Berry-Hill Portrait, it seems entirely probable that the Syon was copied directly from the Berry-Hill alone, without reference to either the Soule or Chawton Portraits. [...] [T]he Seymours [probably] knew the Berry-Hill Portrait to be an authentic likness of Katherine Grey Seymour and therefore adapted that image for use in depicting her sister Jane.» (A Queen of a New Invention, p. 170 and p.173)

That in itself would mean that the Seymours had access to the Berry-Hill Portrait.

About the Berry-Hill Portrait itself, J. Stephan Edwards writes that: «At least four paintings all seemingly based on a single pattern or reference image can be grouped together under the category "Berry-Hill Type." The group includes the Berry-Hill Portrait itself, the Soule Portrait, the Chawton Portrait, and the Syon Portrait. Among the four, the Berry-Hill Portrait exhibits the greatest artistry, technical skill, and visual realism. Given its high quality, it was very probably created on special commission, and it is thus equally probable that the lady depicted actually sat for the work. It was certainly the first among the group to have been produced and the one from which the others were copied or derived, since copies rarely exceed an original in quality. The Berry-Hill Portrait is there considered here to be the prototype for this group.» (A Queen of a New Invention, p. 147)

If the portrait were created on commission, and Lady Katherine Grey actually sat for the work, who more likely to have it in their possession than the Seymours, her direct descendants?

Could it be possible that the Seymours were still in possession of this painting as late as the mid-1700s, and it was this that was engraved by George Vertue?

There are some problems with this theory, mainly that the sitter's hands have been excluded, giving the sitter the same distinct v-shaped figure as the lady in the Syon Portrait. Plus, the fur of the boa or coat collar in the engraving is more spotted than that of the lady's in the Berry-Hill Portrait and more in keeping with the boa or coat collar of the lady in the Syon Portrait, though it is more spotted than that also.

The lady in the engraving and the drawing does have something which might be a cleft chin, which Katherine Grey Seymour did not have.

The George Vertue Drawing (detail)

The lady in the engraving and the drawing does however have fizzy hair, which Katherine Grey Seymour certainly did have, but which is not apparent on the lady in the two Syon portraits, and which is in fact one of the significant differences between the lady in the large and small Syon portraits and the Berry-Hill, Chawton and Soule portraits.

The lady in the engraving and the drawing also has the more diamondlike and round facial shape of the lady in the Berry-Hill, Chawton and Soule portraits rather than the more elegant, narrower facial shape of the lady in the Syon Portrait.

Now, if the Seymours had been in possession of the Berry-Hill Portrait in the early 1600s when the Syon Portrait was painted, they could still have been in possession of it in 1740.

By that time the odds that it could have been misidentified are fairly high.

If the Seymours were in possession of three nearly identical portraits, what more natural than to assume that they were of the same woman?

The Seymours had their own iconic image of Lady Katherine Grey, after all, the Levina Teerlinc miniature of her holding her son.

The Syon Portrait has never been misidentified, the Seymour-Percys have all along been very clear that the portrait represented Lady Jane Grey. If they were in possession of the Berry-Hill portrait as well, they probably though it was another copy or version of it like the smaller Syon Portrait.

Now, George Vertue noted that the portrait he created the drawing and the engrawing from was «a picture of Jane Grey that was beheaded an undoubted Original a picture left by Will in the Family». Now, that decidedly points towards the Syon Portrait, which we know was mentioned in a family will.

I still cannot get over the hair, though, it is just such a curious coincidence, that the lady in the engraving has not only the frizzy hair of the Berry-Hill Portrait, but it is done up in just the same way. 

We do know that by 1907 the sitter of the Berry-Hill Portrait was identified as Lady Jane Grey, when the painting was in the possession of the American financier J. Pierpont Morgan. He had acquired it from the estate of John Lumsden Propert (d.1902) of London.

Before that its history is a mystery.

But, what if the portrait had had or kept it's erroneous identification for longer? It might then be one of the lost portraits of Lady Jane Grey that we are searching for.

I did find something interesting that fits with the timeline and which has a possible link to the Seymours:

«Several portraits noted in the NPG card file have disappeared from the collections that held them at the time they were first reported. A portrait recorded in the 1860s at Longleat, seat of the Marquis of Bath, was not included in a catalogue of portraits at that residence published less than twenty years later, for example. Neither was it uncovered during the Courtald Institute's survey of the pictures at Longleat in the middle of the twentieth century.» (J. Stephan Edwards, A Queen of a New Invention, p. 190)

This catalogue must be the Biographical catalogue of the portraits at Longleat in the county of Wilts the seat of the Marquis of Bath (1881) by Mary Louisa Boyle (1810-1890)

When George Vertue drew and engraved the portrait, it was in the possession of Algernon Seymour, then Earl of Hertford, later 7th Duke of Somerset.

Algernon Seymour, 7th Duke of Somerset (11 November 1684 – 7 February 1750), styled Earl of Hertford until 1748, of Petworth House in Sussex, was a British Army officer and Whig politician. In March 1715 he married Frances Thynne, daughter of Henry Thynne (1675–1708) and granddaughter of Thomas Thynne, 1st Viscount Weymouth. This Thomas Thynne was the first cousin of "Tom of ten thousand", who had been the second husband of Algernon's own mother, Elizabeth. Somerset and Frances had two children:

* George Seymour, Viscount Beauchamp (11 September 1725 – 11 September 1744), predeceased his father, unmarried.

* Elizabeth Percy, suo jure 2nd Baroness Percy (26 November 1716 – 5 December 1776), married Sir Hugh Smithson, 4th Baronet, later 2nd Earl of Northumberland by right of his wife and 1st Duke of Northumberland by creation; had issue.

Somerset died in 1750 and was buried in the Northumberland Vault, within Westminster Abbey. He was one of the richest landowners in England, but as he died with no surviving son his estates were split after his death. The ducal title passed to a distant cousin, Edward Seymour, 8th Duke of Somerset. The earldom of Northumberland and most of the traditional Percy estates passed to his daughter and her husband (see Alnwick Castle, Northumberland House and Syon House). Petworth in Sussex passed to the duke's nephew Charles Wyndham, 2nd Earl of Egremont. Later dukes of Somerset lived at Maiden Bradley, a far more modest estate than those already mentioned, and for a short while at Stover House, Teigngrace, Devon and at Berry Pomeroy, Devon.

As we see, dividing his inheritance was a very complicated matter. It may have been here that the Berry-Hill Portrait (if we are right) was separated from the large and small Syon portraits.

The Marquis of Bath in 1860 was John Alexander Thynne, 4th Marquis of Bath (1 March 1831 – 20 April 1896)

At the time of the death of Algernon Seymour, 7th Duke of Somerset (11 November 1684 – 7 February 1750) it was Thomas Thynne, 2nd Viscount Weymouth (21 May 1710 – 12 January 1751) who was the head of the Thynne family which was connected to Algernon Seymour through marriage. He was the great-great-grandfather of the 4th Marquis of Bath.

Of course, we have no way of knowing what exactly the 4th Marquis of Bath was in possession of. With the number of portraits of ladies misidentified as Lady Jane Grey, it could have been just about anything.

It might even have been that unlikeliest thing of all, a genuine portrait of Lady Jane Grey.

Nor does it automatically follow that even if Algernon Seymour had been in possession of the Berry-Hill portrait in the mid-1700s, that it would have wandered to the Thynne-Baths. It could have ended up with the Egremonts, or even followed the Seymour-Percys for a few more generations, or migrated to some of his other heirs. 

Still, it is interesting.

Frances Thynne, Duchess of Somerset

Algernon Seymour, 7th Duke of Somerset's wife Frances Thynne was actually also a direct descendant of Lady Katherine Grey. The two of them were third cousins once removed.

And it was to Frances's branch of the family the portraits had been left.

«'I do also give and bequeath to my s[ai]d grandaughter [sic] the lady Frances Thynne ... my picture of the lady Arabella my dear Lord's first wife now hanging in the dining roome, and the picture of the Queen Jane Grey, now hanging in my chamber with another the picture of my Lady Katherine.'» – The will of Frances Devereux, Duchess of Somerset, quoted in White King: Charles I, Traitor, Murderer, Martyr by Leanda de Lisle

That Frances Thynne was this Frances Thynne's grandmother. 

So it must have been Frances who brought these paintings into the marriage.

The painting below may be the one mentioned of Arbella Stuart. For this information I have relied on our old friend Herbert Norris: «Fig. 731 is drawn from a very old photograph, dating about the 1880's, of the original by Marcus Gheeraerts in the possession of the Duke of Northumberland at Syon House.» Tudor Costume and Fashion by Herbert Norris

The photograph below of the Syon Portrait is from the Lady Jane Grey Reference Guide, whose photographs also make it clear that there is a common theme to the frames, making me unsure if it were this portrait of Lady Katherine Grey which were mentioned in the will, which I had assumed in the back of my mind thanks to its similarity in construction to the Syon Portrait, or some other of Lady Katherine Grey.

Arbella Stuart (1575 – 25 September 1615) by Marcus Gheeraerts

Lady Jane Grey – The Syon Portrait © Lady Jane Grey Reference Guide

Lady Katherine Grey and her eldest son – At Syon House

According to J. Stephan Edwards, the painting above of Lady Katherine Grey and her son Edward, Lord Beauchamp of Hache dates to the seventeenth or eighteenth century. It must be the one that he describes as «A second version, on canvas and dating to the seventeenth or eighteenth century, is also in the collection at Syon House, displayed in the Print Room adjacent to the panel portrait identified as Lady Jane Grey[3]

In addition to the one seen above, the Duke of Northumberland also has another copy that is oil on panel and which is from the sixteenth century.[4]

The Egremonts (also direct lineal descendants of Lady Katherine Grey[5]) has a large-scale copy dating to the sixteenth century at Petworth.[6]

«A third version, also on canvas and often said to be by the same hand as the Syon version on canvas, is in the collection of the Baron Braybrooke at Audley End House, Saffron Walden, Essex.»[7] The Audley End Howards were direct lineal descendants of Margaret Audley, Lady Jane Grey and Lady Katherine Grey's first cousin and Lady Jane Grey's sister-in-law.

The original miniature by Levina Teerlinc dated to the winter of 1562-1563 is in the collection of the Duke of Rutland at Belvoir Castle today.[8] The Duke of Rutland is also a direct lineal descendant of Lady Katherine Grey through the Seymour line.[9]

Lady Katherine Grey and her son Edward, Lord Beauchamp of Hache – The other one belonging to the Duke of Northumberland?

Frances Thynne, Duchess of Somerset was descended from Lady Katherine Grey in the following manner:

 

Frances Thynne, Duchess of Somerset (10 May 1699 – 7 July 1754) m. Algernon Seymour, 7th Duke of Somerset (11 November 1684 – 7 February 1749) 

Henry Thynne (8 February 1675 – 20 December 1708) m. Grace Strode

Lady Frances Finch m. Thomas Thynne, 1st Viscount Weymouth (1640 – 28 July 1714), of Longleat

Lady Mary Seymour (1637 – 10 April 1673) m. Heneage Finch, 3rd Earl of Winchilsea (1628–1689) 

William Seymour, 2nd Duke of Somerset (1588 – 24 October 1660) m. 2) Frances Devereux, Duchess of Somerset (30 September 1599 – 24 April 1674)

Edward Seymour, Lord Beauchamp of Hache (21 September 1561 – 21 July 1612) m. Honora Rogers

Lady Katherine Grey, Countess of Hertford (25 August 1540 – 26 January 1568) m. Edward Seymour, 1st Earl of Hertford (22 May 1539 – 6 April 1621)

 

 

Her husband was descended from Lady Katherine Grey thusly:

 

Algernon Seymour, 7th Duke of Somerset (11 November 1684 – 7 February 1749) m. Frances Thynne, Duchess of Somerset (10 May 1699 – 7 July 1754)

Charles Seymour, 6th Duke of Somerset (13 August 1662 – 2 December 1748) m. Lady Elizabeth Percy, Duchess of Somerset (26 January 1667 – 24 November 1722)

Charles Seymour, 2nd Baron Seymour of Trowbridge (c. 1621 – 25 August 1665) m. 2) Elizabeth Alington (1635–1692)

Francis Seymour, 1st Baron Seymour of Trowbridge (c. 1590 – 1664), of Marlborough Castle m. Frances Prinne (d. 1626)

Edward Seymour, Lord Beauchamp of Hache (21 September 1561 – 21 July 1612) m. Honora Rogers

Lady Katherine Grey, Countess of Hertford (25 August 1540 – 26 January 1568) m. Edward Seymour, 1st Earl of Hertford (22 May 1539 – 6 April 1621)

 

 

Her great-great-grandfather William Seymour, 2nd Duke of Somerset and his great-grandfather Francis Seymour, 1st Baron Seymour of Trowbridge were brothers.

The will of Frances Devereux, Duchess of Somerset only seem to mention three portraits, one of Arbella Stuart, one of Lady Jane Grey, and one of Lady Katherine Grey. 

Yet, we know that the Seymours had multiple versions of at least the paintings of Lady Jane Grey and Lady Katherine Grey, because they are still in the family today.

Could it be possible that the family portraits had originally ended up with younger brother Francis, and it was from him William Seymour, 2nd Duke of Somerset borrowed the Berry-Hill Portrait in order to create the Syon Portrait?

The small Syon Portrait could even have been a thank you for the loan of the portrait. We know that the small Syon Portrait pre-dates the death of Frances Devereux, Duchess of Somerset by some 50 years thanks to dendrochronological analysis, but it does not seem to be mentioned in her will.

The paintings would then have become part of the same collection with the marriage of their respective descendants 100 years later.

George Vertue mentions that «the painting was brought from Marlborough for his inspection [...] In 1750 he noted the painting again (Notebooks, V, p. 50) as in the possession of Earl of Hertford at Marlboro - (bro't to London for me to see this picture)'». 

'Marlboro' must presumably be Marlborough Castle. Algernon Seymour, 7th Duke of Somerset had briefly been a Member of Parliament for Marlborough.

Marlborough Castle had been Crown property. Edward VI then passed it to the Seymour family, his mother's relatives. A new residence was built on the site by Francis Seymour, 1st Baron Seymour of Trowbridge (c.1590–1664), who had acquired the site from his elder brother William Seymour, 2nd Duke of Somerset (1588–1660). It was replaced in 1683–84 by the "new house" for his grandson Charles Seymour, 6th Duke of Somerset, apparently to designs by John Deane, a surveyor of Reading, Berkshire.

So Marlborough Castle was not a part of the rich Percy estates which had come to Charles Seymour, 6th Duke of Somerset through marriage, but had belonged to the 'poorer, younger brother'-line from the start.

It would therefore have been a natural place to be for paintings left to Francis Seymour, 1st Baron Seymour of Trowbridge, since it had been his property.

However, at some point Marlborough Castle appears to have somehow ended up with Francis Seymour-Conway, 1st Marquis of Hertford (5 July 1718 – 14 June 1794), since it described as being a favourite residence of his wife.

Presumably this had some connection with the death of the 7th Duke of Somerset in 1750, since it was then in August 1750 Francis Seymour-Conway was created Viscount Beauchamp and Earl of Hertford.

The paintings did not remain there, however, since they are at Syon House today.

There is little chance of the three portraits mentioned in the will being misidentified from the time of Frances Devereux's death in 1676 until they came to the attention of George Vertue in the 1720s.

In between there had only been one owner, Frances Devereux's granddaughter and Frances Thynne's grandmother, Frances Finch.

She would clearly have known who they were of, as they are named and their location mentioned in the will.

All of Frances Finch's children sadly predeceased her. Frances Thynne, Duchess of Somerset lived her first nine years at Longleat, then was back for regular visits. The odds that she knew the sitters' identities are high, even though she was only thirteen at the time of her grandmother's death and fifteen at the time of her grandfather's death. Indeed, a link is drawn by George Vertue between the portrait and the will, as he describes it as «a picture left by Will in the Family», so this was clearly a piece of well-known family history.

Strangely, even though there were fewer generations between Lady Katherine Grey and Algernon Seymour, I hold the chance of misidentification of any portraits which that branch of the family may have possessed to be higher.

Here the portraits are not clearly identified in a will from 1676 or thereabouts, there are many children, with all the practical concerns and new marriages adding their own heirlooms to the place that involves, and early death of the kind that might stop information from being passed on through the generations.

Francis Seymour, 1st Baron Seymour of Trowbridge died in 1664, his son, Charles Seymour, 2nd Baron Seymour of Trowbridge followed him a year later in 1665. Charles Seymour, the future 6th Duke of Somerset would then have been but three years of age, and his older brother (who died at age 20, unmarried and childless) seven.

It is entirely possible that they retained knowledge of the identity of the sitters of some of the portraits in their possession, while the identities of others were lost.

Such is often the way with photographs as well.

When Algernon Seymour then married Frances Thynne, her portraits, the legacy after her grandmother, could then have worked as a key to unlock the identity of the sitters now lost to that branch of the Seymour family.

I am sure I am not the only one who has discovered the identities of the people in old photographs that way, by either finding other people who knew who they were, often in the wider family circle, or by finding the same photographs (or the people in them) with names attached in some old book or another.

To reiterate my own former point: If the couple then found themselves in possession of three nearly identical portraits – The Syon Portrait, the small Syon Portrait, and the Berry-Hill Portrait – what more natural than to assume than that they were of the same woman?

The question then remains, exactly which portrait was it that was sent from Marlborough House to London and George Vertue?

Was it the Syon Portrait, as presumed, or was it the Berry-Hill Portrait?

And did it actually return to Marlborough afterwards?

The mansion of Marlborough Castle, the country home of Frances and her husband Algernon Seymour © Rob Purvis / Marlborough College building / CC BY-SA 2.0

My first thought was that the Seymours must have had a London townhouse in addition to their other estates (otherwise, how was one supposed to live?), and the portrait was sent back there by Vertue and it was somehow left there, and whoever got the the townhouse after the death of the 7th Duke also ended up with the painting.

And, lo and behold, the Earl and Countess of Hertford did in fact have a London townhouse. This appears to have been a lease though, and after his father's death in 1748 it seems likely that the now Duke and Duchess of Somerset made use of Northumberland House in London, and did not leave any paintings behind. The search for this information led me to something else interesting, though:

«Frances was the daughter of Henry and Grace Strode Thynne and she lived at Longleat House until her father died in 1708. Her widowed mother moved back to her family home in Dorsetshire, but she continued to spend time at Longleat with her grandparents. She married Algernon Seymour, Earl of Hertford and the son of Charles, Duke of Somerset, and they lived primarily at Marlborough, Wiltshire, in the home settled on him. They had a town house on Dover Street until 1721 (and then one on Grosvenor Street) and from 1730 a country retreat at St. Leonard's Hill near Windsor.» Elizabeth Singer Rowe and the Development of the English Novel by Paula R. Backscheider

The question is, how long did Frances Thynne, Duchess of Somerset continue to visit Longleat? Did she still do so after the death of her grandparents and the estate was taken over by her second cousin, Thomas Thynne, 2nd Viscount Weymouth (21 May 1710 – 12 January 1751)? Because in that case she might have thought that it was a splendid idea to bring the portrait there with her from London, to show her relative («It's just like the one grandmother left me, yes, the one that used to hang here ...»)

Then it got left behind, for some reason or another. Perhaps the Thynnes wanted to show it to some other visitors who were coming, or meant to have a copy made. It was always meant to be given/taken back, but somehow, that never happened. I should hardly think that they would have been the first household in the world to have gained or lost something this way.

Then it was recorded at Longleat in the 1860s, only for it to disappear from there just in time to appear in the collections of John Lumsden Propert (d.1902).

Longleat House by Jan Siberechts, ca. 1675

As for why the Berry-Hill Portrait was sent off instead of the actual Syon Portrait, the reason could be completely banal. Perhaps Frances Thynne, Duchess of Somerset had a stronger emotional attachment to her own portrait, the one she had inherited, and was afraid something might happen to it or it not be returned (notice the irony here if this is indeed what happened)? So instead they sent off the nearly identical one, (as they thought) of the same woman.

Naturally, this is all speculation, born out of the fact that I think the lady in the engraving (and the drawing) bears a far greater resemblance to the lady in the Berry-Hill Portrait than she does the lady in the Syon Portrait.

Lady Jane Grey by James Basire, after George Vertue, stipple engraving (1748)

A Girl, formerly thought to be Queen Elizabeth I as Princess

A Girl, formerly thought to be Queen Elizabeth I as Princess, 1549, by Levina Teerlinc

Before I close this account of the Berry-Hill Portrait, I must add this picture of a miniature in the Victoria and Albert Museum.

I have mentioned previously on the page about the Anglesey Abbey Portrait my theory that the sitter in this portrait is in fact Lady Katherine Grey, based on the likeness to another, fully authenticated portrait of her, also today in the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Unfortunately the miniature has been so heavily overpainted that it is impossible to reach any conclusion either way.

When I first formed this theory, however, I was struck not only by its resemblance to the other miniature in the Victoria and Albert Museum, but by its resemblance to the Berry-Hill Portrait and the portraits of its type.

Not only the clothing, but the presence of the ringed hands holding the gloves is very reminiscent of the Berry-Hill Portrait.

J. Stephan Edwards notes that Lionel Cust's instinctive reaction upon seeing the Chawton Portrait was saying «'Queen Elizabeth!' He added, 'There is a miniature of her as Princess by Hilliard which is very like it'_____ he could not say where but he had seen it.»[10]

J. Stephan Edwards spends some time trying to figure out which miniature this could be, inconclusively. 

He mentions two miniatures in the Royal Collection, RCIN 420987 and RCIN 420944, called Elizabeth I, but does not find the resemblance between them and the Chawton Portrait great enough to believe that it could be any of them Cust was referring. Plus, these were attributed to Levina Teerlinc in 1909,  not Nicholas Hilliard.[11]

If this miniature, A Girl, formerly thought to be Queen Elizabeth I as Princess, was known as Queen Elizabeth I as Princess when it entered the collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum in 1954 it is entirely possible that it was known as Queen Elizabeth I as Princess in 1909.

A Girl, formerly thought to be Queen Elizabeth I as Princess by Levina Teerlinc – Picture of the Back

The inscription on the back of the miniature says it is by «Holben». It is entirely possible that it has been attributed to Nicholas Hilliard at some point in its history as well, or that Cust misremembered.

However, the Chawton Portrait is the possibly overpainted version[12] of the Berry-Hill portraits. 

The lady's costume does therefore not bear the great resemblance to this lady's outfit that the Berry-Hill Portrait does.

Still, I include the observation for observation's sake.

Instead, the Chawton Portrait bears a great resemblance to an engraving of Elizabeth, which Roland Hui notes is dated to 1559. He also draws a link between the engraving and the representation of the Queen on a linen damask napkin of Flemish origin called Elizabeth I's Napkin, in the Victoria and Albert Museum, dated by them to circa 1558-1580. There is also a matching tablecloth.

The Chawton Portrait

Elizabeth I, engraving attributed to Frans Huys, 1559

At first, the resemblance between the engraving and the Chawton Portrait appears startling.

Upon closer examination, however, the two are not as similar as it appears at first glance. There are some significant differences, firstly and perhaps most importantly the headdresses.

Elizabeth looks to be wearing a very simplified version of the French hood, while the lady in the Chawton Portrait is wearing a bonnet. The crown and the brim of the bonnet is missing, however, causing perhaps an observer who was unfamiliar with the other portraits of the Berry-Hill type to assume that it was a simple version of the French hood, like the one Elizabeth is wearing in the engraving.

Elizabeth is also wearing a very beautiful pair of ornate sleeves, while the sleeves of the lady in the Chawton Portrait are barely visible. What is visible of them displays no signs (except for the cuffs) of being similar to the ones of Elizabeth in the engraving. Elizabeth has three stripes of decoration on her outfit, while the lady in the Chawton has one – in gold – on hers. Furthermore, the lady in the Chawton Portrait has the same fur collar or boa as the other ladies in the portraits of the Berry-Hill variation.

If the painting indeed was overpainted, this could be the original painting 'peeking through'. It would probably have been thought regal enough to be allowed to stay.

The pendant which Elizabeth is wearing in the engraving and pendant which the lady in the Chawton Portrait is wearing are very alike.

I would say that the overall impression of the engraving and the Chawton Portrait is that the two are so alike that we cannot rule out that it was in fact this engraving Lionel Cust had seen and misremembered as being 'a miniature, by Hilliard'.

Unless, of course, the engraving was based on a miniature, by Hilliard.

Which was seen by Lionel Cust.

I also think that this engraving (or an image similar to it) may have been the reference image if the Chawton Portrait were indeed overpainted later in its history after it was created.

The William Godwin Engraving

The engraving below was engraved by William Godwin, the husband of the not unknown Mary Wollstonecraft, and the father of the also not entirely unknown Mary Shelley for a book published in 1824.

It is ostensibly just another, later version of the Vertue engraving.

The interesting thing about this engraving, if you compare it to the colour photograph of the Soule Portrait on p. 156 of J. Stephan Edwards's book A Queen of a New Invention, is that the shade of the eyes and hair of the lady in the engraving is the precise shade of the eyes and the hair of the lady in the colour photograph of the Soule Portrait.

William Godwin could not have got this information from the Vertue engraving or sketch, as the engraving is in black and white and the sketch in pen and brown and black ink, with blue wash, the features of the sitter tinted in pink.

Without seeing a colour photograph of the Berry-Hill Portrait (a portrait whose current whereabouts are unknown and therefore currently inaccessible to researchers) it is of course impossible to say with certainty that the lady in it has the same colouring as the ladies in the Soule Portrait and the Chawton Portrait.

However, this seems like a reasonable assumption.

While the colouring (as the only images of the Berry-Hill Portrait that we have are in blank and white) and the bust-length composition of the Godwin engraving bear greater resemblance to the Soule Portrait, the lady's features bear greater resemblance to the features of the lady in the Berry-Hill Portrait, the bonnet has the crown, the brim and the gold detailing of the Berry-Hill Portrait, and there are details of the pearl necklace which are more congruent with the Berry-Hill Portrait than the Soule Portrait or the Syon Portrait.

This suggests to me that William Godwin had access to the Berry-Hill Portrait in 1824, and knew if for the reference image of the Vertue engraving. At the time of Frances Finch, Viscountess Weymouth, Longleat had been a hubbub and gathering place for the literati.

I am not certain if that was still the case in 1824.

William Goodwin was slightly shunned by society for writing a book chronicling his wife's former lovers, so I am not sure he would have had admittance to Longleat.

It does not appear impossible for him to have gotten a glance at the portrait, however, if that is indeed where the Berry-Hill Portrait was in 1824, especially if Longleat was open to the public in the way it seems many great country estates were at the time.

William Godwin Engraving Called Lady Jane Grey

The Soule Portrait

Called Elizabeth I, but probably Katherine Grey Seymour[13]

 

 

«Provenance:

            Christie's London, 24 May 1937, Lot 131, A Young Lady by Clouet;

            Annie Elizabeth Snowden Raworth, Madame de Saint Jean, Manoir de St Jean, Jersey;

            Christie's, 12 February 1954, Lot 12, as "A Girl by Clouet";

            Leger Galleries, London, as "Queen Elizabeth ca. 1560 by unknown artist";

            Gardner Bosworth Soule, Queens, New York (d.2000);

            Private collection.»[14]

 

 

For J. Stephan Edwards's assessment of the The Soule Portrait, see p. 156-161 of A Queen of a New Invention. A colour photograph of the portrait can be seen on p. 156.

Sketch of the The Berry-Hill Portrait – © Lady Jane Grey Revisited

Notes

[1] J. Stephan Edwards, A Queen of a New Invention, p. 147

[2] Ibid.

[3] J. Stephan Edwards, A Queen of a New Invention, p. 155

[4] J. Stephan Edwards, A Queen of a New Invention, p. 90, 91, 92, 153 and 155

[5] Lady Catherine Seymour (1693 – 9 April 1731), the second daughter of Charles Seymour, 6th Duke of Somerset married Sir William Wyndham, 3rd Baronet (c. 1688–1740) of Orchard Wyndham in Somerset. Their eldest son was Charles Wyndham, 2nd Earl of Egremont (1710–1763), who inherited half of the great Percy estates including Petworth House, Egremont Castle in Cumberland and Leconfield Castle in Yorkshire. Elizabeth Grenville (née Wyndham; 1719 – 5 December 1769) who inherited four of our miniatures was his sister.

[6] J. Stephan Edwards, A Queen of a New Invention, p. 153 and 155

[7] J. Stephan Edwards, A Queen of a New Invention, p. 155

[8] J. Stephan Edwards, A Queen of a New Invention, p. 152

[9] Lady Frances Seymour (1728–1761), daughter of Charles Seymour, 6th Duke of Somerset married John Manners, Marquess of Granby (2 January 1721 – 18 October 1770) on the 3rd of September 1750. They had six children. One of them was Charles Manners, 4th Duke of Rutland (15 March 1754 – 24 October 1787), the direct ancestor of the present duke.

[10] J. Stephan Edwards, A Queen of a New Invention, p. 164

[11] Ibid.

[12] «A simple radiological examination of the portrait should reveal any underlying image that might include a necklace of white beads, since radiologically opaque lead white was commonly used in the sixteenth century to depict such elements. Administrators at Hever Castle have opted to defer a radiological study until the painting is next scheduled to come up in the long-term conversation rotation.» A Queen of a New Invention (2015) by J. Stephan Edwards, p. 167

[13] J. Stephan Edwards, A Queen of a New Invention, p. 157

[14] Ibid.