Richard Weston, Earl of Portland became MP for Maldon and was knighted by King James I. In 1620 he was sent on a diplomatic mission to Brussels and Prague in connection with problems with the Palatinate. He was appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer on his return and was Lord High Treasurer under King Charles I. Weston was made Knight of the Garter and Governor of the Isle of Wight in 1633 and Earl of Portland in 1634.
The original full-length portrait by van Dyck, on which this portrait is basesd, was painted in c.1633 and is now untraced. Other versions of the portrait are in the Clarendon Collection at Gorhambury, at Kingston Lacy and an example was bought in at Sotheby's, London, on 27 November 2003 (Lot 110). See also the whole-length version in the Government Art Collection (GAC 0/19).
Sir Anthony van Dyck was born in Antwerp. Early in his career he was an assistant to Peter Paul Rubens. He first visited England between November 1620 and February 1621, where his work impressed King James I. He then travelled to Italy, staying until the autumn of 1627, before returning to Antwerp. During his time in Italy, van Dyck developed as a portrait painter, painting mostly wealthy merchant-princes. His style evolved under the influence of works by Titian and Veronese. In 1632 he returned to England, where he became 'Principal Painter in Ordinary' to Charles I. The following year he was knighted. His portraits of the royal family enhanced their prestige at home and abroad and his work had a profound influence on British portraiture.
Richard Weston, 1st Earl of Portland (1577-1635) diplomat, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Lord High Treasurer
Oil on canvas
height: 73.50 cm, width: 61.00 cm
Purchased from Christie's, 28 March 1952
Collection of J. V. T. Long; by whose executors, Burch & Co. Solicitors, sold via Christie’s, London, on 28 March 1952 (Lot 120); from which sale purchased by ‘Walker’ (Richard Walker) on behalf of the Ministry of Works
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