This portrait is derived from the earliest known portrait of Chaucer, which illustrates an accolade to the great author within a manuscript of 1411 called De Regimine Principum (The Regiment of Princes), written by Thomas Hoccleve (also spelt Occleve). Like Chaucer, Hoccleve was an English poet. They were contemporaries and knew each other personally. At times Hoccleve imitated Chaucer’s work. Illustrations within the De Regimine Principum manuscript would not have been painted by Hoccleve himself, although the artist may have worked under his supervision. This oil-on-panel portrait, made after the portrait within Hoccleve’s manuscript, is one of a number of similar portraits of Chaucer and was probably intended for display in a library. Similar versions are in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery and at the National Trust property Knole, in Kent.
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