Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Portrait of a Woman

Netherlandish Painter (ca. 1540–50)
Oil on wood
29 1/4 x 22 5/8 in. (74.3 x 57.5 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Winston F. C. Guest, 1969
Accession Number:
Not on view
Henry Howard, 4th Earl of Carlisle, Castle Howard, Yorkshire (until d. 1758, as Queen Mary by Antonio Moro); Earls of Carlisle, Castle Howard (1758–1889); George James Howard, 9th Earl of Carlisle, Castle Howard (1889–d. 1911); his widow, Rosalind, Countess of Carlisle, Naworth Castle, Brampton, Cumberland (1911–d. 1921; her estate, 1921–26; posthumous sale, Sotheby's, London, May 6, 1926, no. 7, as Queen Mary Tudor, for £5,000 to Sabin); [Frank T. Sabin, London, 1925–1956/57]; [Pinakos, Inc. (Rudolf J. Heinemann), and Rosenberg & Stiebel, New York, until 1960; sold to Guest]; Winston F. C. Guest, Palm Beach (1960–69; sale, Sotheby's, London, December 8, 1965, no. 64, for £11,000 to Bickerton, bought in)
London. Royal Academy of Arts. "Winter Exhibition," January–March 1885, no. 178 (as Queen Mary, by Sir Antonio More, lent by the Trustees of the Earl of Carlisle).

London. New Gallery. "The Royal House of Tudor," 1890, no. 240 (as "Queen Mary," by Sir Antonio More, lent by the Earl of Carlisle).

London. Frank T. Sabin Gallery. 1956–57, no catalogue? [see Apollo, vol. 64, 1956, p. 166, vol. 65, 1957, pp. 1–2].

Horace Walpole. Journals of Visits to Country Seats. August 5, 1772 [published in Walpole Society 16 (1927–28), p. 73], describes the portrait while at Castle Howard as "A Woman richly drest with a Cameo at her brest, finely painted by Holbein; it is said to be Queen Mary the Ist when young, has something of her later portraits, but it is not like the drawing in the King's Collection of which I have an oilpaper".

J. P. Neale. Views of the Seats of Noblemen and Gentlemen, in England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland. Vol. 5, London, 1822, unpaginated, lists it among the principal pictures at Castle Howard, as "The Portrait of Queen Mary.–Sir Antonio More".

F. Madden. Privy Purse Expenses of the Princess Mary, daughter of King Henry III, afterwards Queen Mary. 1831, p. 175, app. no. 3, portraits: no. 18 [this reference taken from documents that came with the portrait from W. Guest], as at Castle Howard, Yorkshire.

[Gustav Friedrich] Waagen. Treasures of Art in Great Britain. London, 1854, vol. 3, p. 323, no. 47, as Queen Mary, although "the features differ from other portraits of the Queen"; calls it "worthy of Holbein".

Alfred von Wurzbach. Niederländisches Künstler-Lexikon. Vol. 2, Vienna, 1910, p. 192, as Queen Mary, but different from her other portraits.

Max J. Friedländer. Letter to Frank Sabin. January 8, 1955, judging from a photograph, states that only A. Mor could have painted this portrait.

Perspex. "Current Shows and Comments." Apollo 64 (December 1956), p. 166, comments on this portrait, on exhibition at the Frank Sabin Gallery.

Perspex. "Current Shows and Comments." Apollo 65 (January 1957), pp. 1–2, ill., praises the picture.

L. C. J. Frerichs [Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam]. Letter to N. Schwartz at Spencer Samuels & Co. June 6, 1967, finds it uncharacteristic of Mor, noting that in Mor's autograph portraits, one of the eyes is always directed towards the spectator; also finds the "ornamental qualities of the bodice and sleeves unlike Mor, who was a realist"; sees Italian influence in the curtains.

Lacey Baldwin Smith. Letter to Nancy Schwartz. November 22, 1967, questions the identification of the sitter as Queen Mary.

Roy Strong. Letter to Nancy Schwartz. January 2, 1968, states that this is not by Hans Eworth but that it appears to be by a Flemish artist of about 1550, possibly Franco-Flemish as the jewel on the bodice seems certainly French; observes that sustaining the identity as a portrait of Mary I would be difficult.

Jill Finstein Liebowitz. Unpublished manuscript. March 22, 1973, argues for an attribution to Eworth early in his English career, probably about 1550.

From Van Eyck to Bruegel: Early Netherlandish Painting in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Ed. Maryan W. Ainsworth and Keith Christiansen. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1998, p. 411, ill., as Portrait of a Woman, by a Netherlandish Painter, about 1540–50.

The sitter for this portrait was traditionally identified as Mary Tudor (Mary I) and the painter as Anthonis Mor. Roy Strong reproduces a number of portraits of Mary I in Tudor and Jacobean Portraits (1969, vol. 1, pp. 207–21; vol. 2, pls. 412–24) and Philip Hendy lists some in his catalogue entry for one of the portraits by Mor in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (1931, p. 247; 1974, pp. 166, 168).

According to records in European Paintings Department archives, this picture is listed as no. 24 in a catalogue of the Castle Howard collection, where it is aid to have been bought by Henry, 4th Earl of Carlisle.

William Suhr in Paintings Conservation cleaned this portrait in April 1957. He repaired a joint that had opened and removed a dark reddish background to reveal the curtain. The cross that once hung from the brooch on the bodice had, however, already been removed when he received the picture.
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