Dobson was justly described by his contemporary John Aubrey as 'the most excellent painter that England hath yet bred', being the most accomplished native British painter 'in large' of the 17th century.

Considering his importance, very little is known about him. He succeeded Van Dyck as Court painter after his death in 1641. His subjects must have sat for their portraits in the intervals of campaigning, and for all their outward swagger, they invariably betray a sense of uncertainty and anguish beneath the surface. The picture is a good example of Dobson's bold handling of paint, and his habit of introducing rather old-fashioned Mannerist relief sculpture for decorative effect.

Provenance

By descent in the family of the sitter, subsequently at Audley End.


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