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    Description

    English School (17th Century)
    Group portrait of five women in a landscape, circa 1650
    Oil on canvas
    33-3/4 x 49-1/2 inches (85.7 x 125.7 cm)

    The dresses and coiffures worn by the five young women in this portrait date the work to the middle decades of the 17th century. The pictorial convention of depicting figures in their finery against an extensive landscape was favored by the landed gentry of the period as a way of celebrating their status and wealth. Each young woman in the present work holds an attribute signaling the refinements associated with women of their station: music, fruit and flower arranging, domestic animals obediently taking a lead (a sign that one's household will do the same), and even hunting (although the bow and arrow can also allude to unmarried status, i.e., virginity of Diana).

    This painting relies upon portrait formulas developed by Sir Peter Lely and others who won a steady stream of commissions from British aristocrats. The present work is doubtless by a talented but more provincial hand who, for example, lined the figures up in a frieze rather than grouping them in a more complicated fashion, and opted for a striking variation of vivid gown color rather than modulating the hues. The work has some possible affinity with portraits by the rather obscure Englishman Edward Bower (1597-1667), whose reputation rested upon his paintings of Charles I at his trial in 1648, and upon likenesses of Parliamentarians. His portrait of Lady Elizabeth Drake in the York Museums Trust shares some characteristics with the present painting in the way the figure is drawn and the drapery is painted.


    Condition Report*: Glue-lined canvas on recent stretchers; under UV light, there appears to be 2.5 inch at widest strip of inpaint along top edge and 1.5 inch at widest strip on inpaint along bottom edge; 5 x .5 inch tear through hair of second figure from right; a small area of restoration in forehead and eye of second figure from left; 1 x 2 inch area of inpaint in forhead of center figure; scattered numerous small touches of inpaint to address loss and craquelure throughout; several of these areas are noticeable in natural light; frame wear with abrasions and loss; minor surface dirt; stretcher bar mark along top edge; framed under acrylic. Framed Dimensions 40.5 X 56.25 X 2.5 Inches
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2018
    8th Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,998

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