The prominence of a medal in this portrait has led to a theory that the sitter is a medal designer or engraver. A 19th-century catalogue entry for the work suggests he is medallist and seal engraver Thomas Simon (c.1618-1665). However, as Simon’s loyalty was to Parliament rather than the Royalists, it is unlikely he would have been painted with a medal of the King. It has alternatively been suggested that the sitter is another leading medallist of the time: Thomas Rawlins. Rawlins was a prominent Royalist and could have travelled to The Netherlands in the 1740s and encountered Hanneman while there. However, an article written for 'The Numismatic Circular' in the 1970s questions whether the design of the medal portrayed is like the work of Rawlins.
Mystery surrounding the portrait was further complicated when it was cleaned by a paintings conservator in 2004. The conservator reported that much of the detail in the work was added some time after it was executed and that the urn-like object behind the sitter is an entirely later addition. In its original form, the painting was probably something of a sketch.
Adriaen Hanneman was born to a family of Catholic government officials in The Hague. He studied under Anthony van Ravesteyn before moving to London in c.1626, where he probably worked in the studio of Sir Anthony van Dyck. Hanneman returned to The Hague in the late 1630s, shortly before the outbreak of the English Civil War. He became a member of the painters’ guild and a dean of the guild in 1645. Many of those who sat for portraits from Hanneman were English Royalists in exile in the Netherlands, including Charles II (when Prince of Wales), Edward Hyde and Henry, Duke of Gloucester. During the 1650s, Hanneman received patronage from the Dutch court, painting portraits of William of Orange and Mary, Princess of Orange.
Thomas Rawlins (c.1620-1670) engraver, medallist and playwright [?]
Oil on canvas
height: 80.00 cm, width: 64.00 cm
Purchased from Agnew's, March 1974
sdbl on stone ledge; inscribed verso: 329C
Collection of art collector Thomas Emmerson of Stratford Place, off Oxford Street, London; by whom sold through Christie's, London, 'Pictures of the highest class' sale, on 27 May 1854 (Lot 19), as ‘Portrait of Simon the Medallist, holding a medallion of Charles I’ by Van Dyck, for £8.8.0; from which sale purchased by Lady Monson; with Thomas Agnew & Sons Ltd, London; from whom purchased by the Department of the Environment in March 1974
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