William Larkin was one of the most significant artists of the early 17th century.

He served as a court painter to James I of England, where his portraits became known for their faithful rendering of the textiles, embroidery and jewellery that were fashionable among Jacobean courtiers. This portrait shows Lady Anne Clifford, Countess of Dorset and later Countess of Pembroke, who was best known for her widely publicised campaign to claim her rightful inheritance from her father. George Clifford, Third Earl of Cumberland, had bequeathed money to his daughter, but left his extensive land and properties to AnneÂ’s uncle. Anne Clifford would ultimately inherit most of the disputed estates following the death of her uncle and cousin, becoming one of the wealthiest women in England. Today, she is seen as a proto-feminist because, in a society dominated by men, she refused to settle for less than she believed was her due. While mentioned in literary references, this portrait was thought to be lost until it was rediscovered by Mark Weiss, director of the Weiss Gallery, in a private collection in Europe. It is one of two portraits produced by Larkin when Lady Clifford sat for him during the summer of 1618. This painting was sent to AnneÂ’s cousin, while the other stayed at Knole, the CliffordsÂ’ house in Kent. LarkinÂ’s portrait of Lady Clifford will join his depictions of George Villiers and Frances Howard in the National Portrait GalleryÂ’s collection. This work was acquired with assistance from the Wolfson Foundation.


Margaret Hall of Gretford; MontagueCholmeley; by descent; George J. Egerton; Christie's; Kretscher; private collection; Weiss Gallery.

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