Thursday, April 02, 2009

Question from Tony - Portraiture of Lady Jane Grey

Do you think a portrait of Lady jane Grey painted throughout her lifetime will ever be found? is their any evidance to say she sat for one?

On the Lady Jane Grey internett museum their is a black and white picture of the NPG new portrait which is different to the one they have on display is this another copy and if so could it pre-date the one they have on show?

[Ed. note - PhD HIstorian, this one is for you! I know we've had a lot of discussion of her possible portraits lately, but I was curious about one point raised in this question - is there any evidence that she sat for a portrait?]


PhD Historian said...

Thanks Tony and Lara!

Is there any evidence that Jane Grey sat for a portrait during her lifetime?


But you will have to forgive me if I do not say anything more right now. This is an on-going area of my research that I hope will yield results before too long, and I do not want to give it all away until I have a conclusion. For now, all I can say is "stay tuned!"

Will the portrait ever be found? Obviously I hope it will, and I do have one or two very solid leads, but 450 years is a long time for a painting to survive. Remember, England suffered a civil war in the 1640s and 1650s, London burned in 1666, and there were two world wars in the 20th century, one of which caused a great deal of damage. Those few examples, chosen from among hundreds, should give you some idea of what sorts of perils paintings had to "live" through ... and that's without even mentioning careless owners who may have accidentally or deliberately destroyed a painting.

Example: I've been working for the past few weeks on identifying the sitter in a painting once thought to depict Elizabeth I when princess, circa 1553. The American collector who bought it a few years ago was absolutely stunned and horrified when I told him that the painting was about half its original size. At some point it was cut down, probably for no more important reason than that some previous owner did not have a large enough wall to hang it on if it remained full sized. So he whacked big chunks off at least three sides of it! Difficult as it may be to imagine for those of us who love Tudor history, some people don't love it and see paintings from the era as little more than firewood. There's just no telling how many thousands of paintings from the Tudor period were destroyed over the years.

Lara said...

Cool, I was hoping you either had discovered something or had some good leads!

PhD Historian said...

I forgot to answer Tony's second question:

The black and white photograph on the LJG Internet Museum website is of a second version of the picture, which has led some (including curators at the National Portrait Gallery) that both are copies of a lost original. The one in the b&w photo is thought to have been done at about the same time as the painting in the NPG.

Tony said...

Thank you for that PhD Historian I Will look forward to reading all abot your finds.

I had thought it a little strange that portraits of both her sisters still survive today and not one of her, after all she was the older sister and of much more improtance than her younger sisters.

Do you knw if their is a colour picture of the black and white portrait on the LJG internet museum anywhere?

Tamise said...

Excellent news PhD Historian! I look forward to reading about your findings.

Elizabeth M. said...

Will they be in your book on Lady Jane? I am so looking forward to that, as you are so gifted in all your knowledge. When are you thinking it may be published?

PhD Historian said...

Re: "the book" ... Publication is still distant. I'm resigned to waiting for Eric Ives's book to come out in August, then I hope to interest publishers in mine as a kind of "response" to Ives. But with his book pending, and with his excellent reputation, I cannot seem to interest publishers. "The market is flooded," they say.

"The book" will probably not have discussion of my portrait research in it. I will publish that separately as a magazine article, in all likelihood.

Elizabeth M. said...

Is Eric Ives going to have any discussion in his book about the portraits of Lady Jane? Is he going to address the Streatham portrait, and anything about this miniature we have been discussing?

PhD Historian said...

I do not know, Elizabeth. I have heard only the most minimal details about his book. But given Ives's usual interest, I have to doubt that he will even mention any portraits.