Robert Walker is largely remembered for his many undistinguished portraits of Oliver Cromwell and shameless borrowing of poses from Van Dyck.
Portrait of John Evelyn by Robert Walker, 1648
© National Portrait Gallery
- Oil on canvas
- 74 x 61 cm
- Art Fund grant:
- £25,000 ( Total: £294,184)
- Acquired in:
- Artemis Fine Arts
His depiction of Evelyn, however, is one of the most remarkable of all seventeenth century philosophical portraits. It shows the 27 year-old virtuoso in melancholy attitude, en deshabille, swathed in black drapery and resting a hand on a skull. A column behind is inscribed in Greek with a dictum of Epictetus, 'Repentence is the beginning of the love of wisdom', while the paper which lies under the skull is inscribed with a quotation in Latin from the Stoic philosopher Seneca.
John Evelyn; by descent; Christie's, 1992.