Portrait of a Man

British Schoolc.1570s

Dulwich Picture Gallery

Dulwich Picture Gallery
London, United Kingdom

This portrait was initially attributed to Holbein (1497–1543), but is now widely accepted as English in origin. The costume, particularly the white ruff collar, is typical of the Elizabethan period and can be observed in several other British portraits of this time.

Although the sitter’s identity is unknown, his stern expression suggests a certain authority, whilst the small leather-bound book he holds indicates devotion and discipline.

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  • Title: Portrait of a Man
  • Date: c.1570s
  • Physical Dimensions: w406 x h545 cm
  • Type: Painting
  • Medium: Oil
  • Work Nationality: British?
  • Support: Oak panel
  • School: British School
  • Provenance: London, Noel Desenfans, 1802-1807: London, Skinner and Dyke, Desenfans sale, 16 Mar. 1802, lot 1 (ÔHolbeinÐA Man's Portrait'). £1.1. Handwritten note in copy of catalogue at The Hague, RKD: '11 P'. [i.e. 1 x 1 Panel]; London, Sir Francis Bourgeois, 1807-1811; Bourgeois Bequest, 1811.
  • Further Information: Purchased as a painting by Holbein in the 1790s, this attribution was rejected in 1880 and is now assigned to an unknown artist of the British School. The costume can be compared with that worn by Sir Nicholas Bacon in portraits of the 1570s in the National Portrait Gallery (164).
  • Acquisition Method: Bourgeois, Sir Peter Francis (Bequest, 1811)