Henry Sidney, first Earl of Romney wears a wig, neck tie and suit of armour. A golden sash is tied around his waist. His left hand rests delicately over the mouth of a cannon, while he holds a baton in this right hand.
This portrait is attributed to Sir John Medina. Romney was also painted as a child and also in later life by Sir Peter Lely and examples of Lely’s portraits are at Penshurst, Kent, and in the collection of Earl Spencer. A miniature portrait by Samuel Cooper, showing Romney as a young man, is held in a private collection.
Painter Sir John Baptiste de Medina was born in Brussels, the son of a Spanish officer serving in the Netherlands. He was apprenticed to François Duchatel, before moving to London in about 1686. He was primarily a portraitist but also illustrated an edition of ‘Paradise Lost’ (published 1688) and produced subject paintings. In c.1695 he moved to Edinburgh with his wife and children, where his first commissions came from the circle of George, first Earl of Melville. In about 1700 William Aikman joined Medina’s studio and may have helped with a commission from the Royal College of Surgeons for a series of 29 portraits of its members (1697-1708). After being granted naturalisation, Medina was knighted. He died in Edinburgh at the age of c.51.
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