Dutch School 17th Century

A Portrait of a Young Boy, dressed in Black with a Red Sash wearing a Plumed Hat with a Sword and holding Gloves and a Staff

Medium:

Oil on Canvas

Category:

Portrait

Dimensions:

140.3(h) x 87(w) cms

Essay:

Traditionally identified as a portrait of the Prince of Wales, later King Charles II (1630-1685), this portrait undoubtedly comes from the mid-seventeenth century. Described as a picture by 'Mittins' (presumably Daniel Mijtens) in 1801 and later in the 20th century as by Gerrit van Honthorst, we can assume the artist was a Dutch emigre to England or perhaps a native painter who studied under one.

The boy's costume is reminiscent of the extravagant cavalier-like outfits found in militia company paintings common in the Dutch Republic in this period. Dashing and with a military theme, the boy holds a staff of office. His outfit is rather reminiscent of that of Lieutenant Willem van Ruytenburgh's clothes in Rembrandt's 'The Night Watch'. The boy might be intended as a mascot of sorts for a British military company allied with the Cavalier faction in the English Civil War which helps to date the painting to around the 1640s.

Ombersley Court is a grade I-listed country house in Worcestershire which was home to the Sandys family for 300 years.

Provenance:

(Probably) Mary, Marchioness of Downshire and 1st Baroness Sandys (1764-1836), Hanover Square, by 1801, and thence by descent in the family to;
Richard Hill, 7th Baron Sandys (1931-2013), Ombersley Court, Worcestershire.

Literature:

(Probably) An Inventory and Valuation of the Pictures at Hanover Square, 5 November 1801, no. 56, as 'King Charles when a Boy by Mittins'.
ONM / 1 / 2 / 7, journal entry for a visit to Ombersley Court, 25 August 1950, Oliver Millar Archive, Paul Mellon Centre, London, p. 31, as 'probably Dutch'.
Ombersley Court Inventory, annotated Ombersley MS., June 1963, as 'Gerrit van Honthorst', where listed in the Library.
Ombersley Court Catalogue of Pictures, undated, Ombersley MS., p. 23, as 'Gerrit van Honthorst', where listed in the Study.