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Portrait miniature - Robert Kerr, Earl and subsequently Marquis of Lothian
  • Robert Kerr, Earl and subsequently Marquis of Lothian
    Cross, Peter
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Robert Kerr, Earl and subsequently Marquis of Lothian

  • Object:

    Portrait miniature

  • Place of origin:

    England (painted)

  • Date:

    1667 (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Cross, Peter (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Watercolour on vellum put down on a leaf from a table-book

  • Museum number:

    P.41-1981

  • Gallery location:

    Portrait Miniatures, Room 90a, The International Music and Art Foundation Gallery, case 6

This strikingly beautiful miniature was painted by a young rising star, Peter Cross. The soft-focus effect of this work is achieved by using many dots rather than lines. The unusual virtuosity of this talented artist soon attracted the social and political elite of the newly restored court of King Charles II. This portrait is of Robert Kerr, Earl of Lothian, a man of growing influence at court, a fact that reveals something of the complexity of this time, since his father had been prominent in the rebellion against Charles II’s father, the executed Charles I. Kerr is painted wearing the newly fashionable ‘full bottomed wig’ that Charles II introduced, and which the British judiciary still wears today.

Physical description

Portrait of a man, turned to, and looking to right, and wearing a long wig, neckcloth tied with red ribbon and armour. Features finely and regularly stippled in brown and sanguine, with touches of green, yellow and blue, and with white highlights in the eyes, on a pale yellowish carnation ground; hair washed and hatched in transparent browns, heightened with opaque grey and ochre; armour washed and hatched in transparent grey and brown, with opaque pale grey and white for the lights; cravat in pale grey wash, modelled in detail with thick white, the ribbon in red; the sleeve in opaque grey-blue washes, the embroidery in metallic gold and ochre; the background to the left in solid dark brown gummy wash, and to the right a sky in opaque washes and stipples of blue, grey and orange; on vellum put down on a leaf from a table-book.

Frame: A copper-gilt oval locket, the convex back soldered to, and overlapping, the straight sides, which hold the bevelled edge of the flat glass at the front in a bezel; the hanger of flat D-section, attached to the top of the backplate, and dividing into two diminishing spirals of five turns, set well back on the locket side. This feature suggests that the locket was intended to have a front cover, but there is no indication that hinges or fastenings have been removed. The locket, which is not of good quality, may be a later substitute, showing an imperfect understanding on the part of the silversmith of the principles of seventeenth-century locket construction.

Place of Origin

England (painted)

Date

1667 (painted)

Artist/maker

Cross, Peter (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Watercolour on vellum put down on a leaf from a table-book

Marks and inscriptions

'PC'
Signed in gold

'The Lord Kerr / 1667 / Peeter Cross / fecitt.'
Inscribed on the back, in graphite

Dimensions

Height: 75 mm, Width: 63 mm

Object history note

Provenance: Acquired from an unknown source by Greta S Heckett; sold Sotheby's 11 July 1977, lot 140, bt anon.; sold Sotheby's 19 October 1981, lot 58, bt by the Museum.

Descriptive line

Portrait miniature of Robert Kerr, Earl and subsequently Marquis of Lothian, watercolour on vellum, painted by Peter Cross, 1667.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Murdoch, John. Seventeenth-century English Miniatures in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum. London: The Stationery Office, 1997.

Materials

Watercolour; Vellum

Techniques

Painting

Subjects depicted

Armour; Man

Categories

Images Online; Paintings; Portraits; Scotland

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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