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Oil painting - Joan Champernoune [Champernon], daughter of Sir Philip Champernoune [Champernon] of Modbury, Devon, and wife of Sir Anthony Denny (d.1549)
  • Joan Champernoune [Champernon], daughter of Sir Philip Champernoune [Champernon] of Modbury, Devon, and wife of Sir Anthony Denny (d.1549)
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Joan Champernoune [Champernon], daughter of Sir Philip Champernoune [Champernon] of Modbury, Devon, and wife of Sir Anthony Denny (d.1549)

  • Object:

    Oil painting

  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (painted)

  • Date:

    (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Oil on canvas

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Sir Edward Denny, Bt

  • Museum number:

    53-1889

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This is a portrait of Joan Denny, Lady Denny (d.1553), who married Anthony Denny, privy councillor and royal favourite of Henry VIII in 1538. Joan Denny, like her husband, held a position at court, in the households of two of Henry VIII’s queens, Anne of Cleves and Katherine Parr. She was a committed protestant, is said to have protected persecuted reformers in Devon and was one of the court Protestants whom religious conservatives tried to incriminate in 1546, towards the end of the reign of Henry VIII. This portrait dates from at least the 18th century and is probably a distant copy of a 16th century likeness of Joan. It is one of five oil portraits of sitters from the 16th and 17th centuries that came to the museum from the Denny family in the late 19th century, all of which seem to be later copies. This is typical of the practice of making copies for successive generations of a family, as different branches of a family wished to own and display portraits of their forebears.

Physical description

A half-length portrait of a woman in a greenish-grey dress with an open necked bodice with a collar of a floral pattern on a cream ground. The coif of gold colour is lined with pearls; the string is visible on her neck. A gold ornament or clasp set with two stones is visible below the ‘v’ point of her collar.

A note on the Departmental file by Carl Winter [C.W. 4.6.1937] comments: “Frame of pinewood, veneered with polished oak ornamented with applied decoration of carved and gilt wood. In the opinion of J.F. A Roberts, Dept. of Woodwork, it is not older than 1850”.

Place of Origin

Great Britain (painted)

Date

(made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Oil on canvas

Marks and inscriptions

The portrait is inscribed, top right, “Joane. Ye. Daughter of Sr. Ph: Champernoone./ &
Relict of Sr. Anth:Dennie, / who Purchast Waltham Abbie of K. Ed.d ye. 6th.”

The back of the canvas is stencilled with an oval official stamp: “BRITISH FINE ART/No. [blank]/COLLECTIONS”

On the back of the frame a mss label (ink), much browned, is stuck with two impressions of an oval red official seal: /SCIENCE AND ART DEPARTMENT/Royal crown/VR/SOUTH KENSINGTON MUSEUM. This portrait of Lady Denny,/Sir Anthony’s wife I give to the/South Kensington Museum, my/it during my life/

31, The Grove Boltons
West Brompton
December 7th, 1882.

Edward Denny/
Witness
James W. Emler
Stores Clerk
South Kensington Museum.

N.B. Below the 3rd line – i.e. after “my”, the label is broken and some word or words seem to be missing.

The portrait is inscribed, top right, “Joane. Ye. Daughter of Sr. Ph: Champernoone./ &
Relict of Sr. Anth:Dennie, / who Purchast Waltham Abbie of K. Ed.d ye. 6th.”

The back of the canvas is stencilled with an oval official stamp: “BRITISH FINE ART/No. [blank]/COLLECTIONS”

On the back of the frame a mss label (ink), much browned, is stuck with two impressions of an oval red official seal: /SCIENCE AND ART DEPARTMENT/Royal crown/VR/SOUTH KENSINGTON MUSEUM. This portrait of Lady Denny,/Sir Anthony’s wife I give to the/South Kensington Museum, my/it during my life/

31, The Grove Boltons
West Brompton
December 7th, 1882.

Edward Denny/
Witness
James W. Emler
Stores Clerk
South Kensington Museum.

N.B. Below the 3rd line – i.e. after “my”, the label is broken and some word or words seem to be missing.

Dimensions

Height: 29.25 in approx., Width: 24.25 in approx., Height: 74.295 cm, Width: 61.595 cm, :

Object history note

Given by Sir Edward Denny, Bart, 1889

This painting was gifted to the museum by Sir Edward Denny, Bart. (1796-1889), in 1889. Four other related portraits of the Denny family (Nominal File MA/1/D907) were also given by Sir Edward Denny in 1882.

The original cataloguing on the Nominal File MA/1/D907 for Sir Edward Denny’s gift, presumably from 1889, described the five portraits as:

“1510-1882 - Sir Edward Denny, Knight Baronet (d. 1599), uncle of Edward Denny, Earl of Norwich.

1511-1882 - Margaret Edgcumbe, wife of Sir Edward Denny, Kt. Bart.

1512-1882 - Edward Denny, Earl of Norwich (c.1565-1630)

1513-1882 - Hill Denny, Son of Peter Denny of Spaldwick.

53-1889 - Joan Champernowne, daughter of Sir Philip Champernowne, of Modbury, Devon, and widow of Sir Anthony Denny. (d.1549)”

Today, the correct descriptions of the five portraits are:

1510-1882: Sir Edward Denny (1547-1600), Knight Banneret, uncle of Edward Denny, first earl of Norwich (1569-1637).

1511-1882: Lady Margaret Denny, born Margaret Edgcumbe, wife of Sir Edward Denny

1512-1882: Edward Denny, first earl of Norwich (1569-1637)

1513-1882: Hill Denny, son of Peter Denny of Spaldwick; the Reverend Hill Denny was a great grandson of Sir Edward Denny (1547-1600).

53-1889: Joan Champernon, daughter of Sir Philip Champernon of Modbury, Devon, and wife of Sir Anthony Denny (d.1549) [the spelling of ‘Champernon’ is taken from the Dictionary of National Biography entry for Sir Anthony Denny

In addition to the above portraits, Sir Edward Denny also gave to the museum the following textiles and documents which were originally catalogued as follows:

“TEXTILES
Pair of Gloves: English, early 17th century. (1506 & A-1882.)
Silver-gilt and silver thread with sequins, seed pearls, purl & silk in satin stitch and couched work on satin. Trimmed with silver-gilt and silver bobbin lace. Said to have belonged to Henry VIII, but crowned roses and thistles refer more to the period of James I (1603-25)

Pair of Gloves: Early 17th century. (1508 & A-1882)
Silver-gilt and silver thread in plaited braid stitch with bands of braid applied to satin. Trimmed with silver-gilt & silver fringe. Said to have been given by James I to Denny who, as Sheriff of Hertfordshire, received the King during his journey from Scotland.

Pair of Mittens: English, late 16th century (1507 & A-1882)
Silver-gilt and silver thread with silk in long and short and satin stitches, and couched work, on velvet and satin. Said to have been presented by Queen Elizabeth I to Margaret Edgcumbe, wife of Denny.

Military Scarf: English (?) Second quarter of 17th century. (1509-1882)
Silver-gilt & silver thread with silk in long and short stitch couched work on silk. Said to have been worn by Charles I at Edghill and given by him after the battle to Mr. Adam Hill of Spaldwick who saved the King’s life.”

“DOCUMENTS
1. An account of the gloves, mittens & scarf, given to Sir Anthony Denny and his family, by different Kings and Queens of Great Britain. London, 1792. Printed on vellum with manuscript notes added.
2. Certaine epistles addressed to the Lord Denny of Waltham and the members of his family by Joseph Hall, D.D. Bishop of Norwich. Manuscript on vellum.
3. The will of Anthony Denny, of Chesthunt, in the countie of Hartford, knight, temp. Edw. VI. Manuscript on parchment.
4. A copy, in manuscript, of this will, made in 1745, bound, with a portrait of Sir Anthony Denny inserted.
5. A volume containing manuscript and printed notes relating to the Royal Gifts, and to the Denny family, with original letters.”

In 2014 an email from Nicholas Smith (Archivist, V&A Archive) to Thomas Denny (representative of the Denny Family Trust) describes Document 1. in more detail as follows:

“Original manuscript of “An account of the gloves, mittens, and scarf, given to Sir A. Denny and his family’, relating to objects presented to the Denny family by various sovereigns, probably written ca. 1710 by H. Denny, with annotations by Sir E. Denny, bart., 1 leaf, parchment. With camera lucida drawing by John Varley of monument to Sir Edward Denny, Waltham Abbey, 1821; and with press-cuttings from the Kerry Magazine, [after 1850], and notes by Sir Edward Denny, bart., who presented the Denny manuscripts and relics to the South Kensington Museum in 1883. Bound with: Diary kept by Sir Edward (d. 1646), Sir Arthur (d. 1673) and Sir Thomas (d. 1761) Denny, mainly concerned with family matters. Pressmark: 86.FF.53”

There are further papers concerning the Denny Family Trust on the Departmental files for the 5 paintings. This includes an annotated family tree tracing the versions of these portraits.

Historical context note

This portrait is of Joan, Lady Denny (d.1553). The painting is inscribed “Joane. Ye. Daughter of Sr. Ph: Champernoone./ & Relict of Sr. Anth:Dennie, / who Purchast Waltham Abbie of K. Ed.d ye. 6th.” “Relict” is an archaic term for a widow.

In his notes annotating the gift to the V&A, Sir Edward Denny (1796-1889) writes: “Joan Champernowne, whose portrait I have from my boyhood looked at with interest.” [V&A Press Mark: 86.FF.53] This would suggest that the portrait of Joan, Lady Denny, dates from at least the 18th century. This is one of five oil portraits of sitters from the 16th and 17th centuries that came to the museum from the Denny family in the late 19th century, all of which seem to be later copies. This is typical of the practice of making copies for successive generations of a family, as different branches of a family wished to own and display portraits of their forebears. When the painting was acquired in 1889 it was described as ‘Painted 1550-60’. However, a later note by Michael Kauffmann on the Departmental file comments, ‘Manner of 16th century’. This painting is presumably a copy of a 16th century likeness of Joan, and probably a copy of a copy, as it is far removed from an authentic likeness of the mid-sixteenth century.

Joan Denny, Lady Denny (d.1553), was the daughter of Sir Philip Champernon of Modbury, Devon, and his wife, Katherine Carew. She married Anthony Denny, privy councillor and royal favourite of Henry VIII, on 9 February 1538. They had five sons, including Sir Edward Denny (1547-1600) [see museum number 1510-1882 under Object History Note], and four daughters. Joan Denny, like her husband, had a position at court, in the households of two of Henry VIII’s queens, Anne of Cleves and Katherine Parr. Joan was also a committed protestant, and is said to have protected persecuted reformers in Devon. In 1546, towards the end of the reign of Henry VIII (d.1547) Joan Denny, and by association her husband, was one of the court Protestants who religious conservatives tried to incriminate through accusations forced from a distant relative, Anne Askew. The couple survived however, and it is indicative of her husband’s personal intimacy with Henry VIII that John Foxe records Denny’s last words to the dying king, advising the king to prepare himself for death and ‘to call upon God… for grace and mercy’. Sir Anthony continued at court under the protestant king Edward VI, and died in 1549. Her husband’s will instructed Joan Denny to bring up their children so that ‘the commonwealth may find them profitable members and not burdens as idle drones be to the hive’. Joan Denny died in 1553, the year that the catholic Mary I ascended the throne. [See ‘Joan Denny’ under ‘Denny, Sir Anthony’, Narasingha P. Sil, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004, http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/7506, accessed 11 April 2013].

Descriptive line

Oil painting, Joan Champernoune [Champernon], daughter of Sir Philip Champernoune [Champernon] of Modbury, Devon, and wife of Sir Anthony Denny (d.1549), British school, manner of 16th century, probably 19th century

Materials

Oil; Canvas

Techniques

Oil painting

Subjects depicted

Portrait

Categories

Paintings

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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