Please complete the form to email this item.

James, Duke of York, later James II

  • Object:

    Portrait miniature

  • Place of origin:

    England, Great Britain (painted)

  • Date:

    1660-1661 (painted)
    17th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Cooper, Samuel, born 1603 - died 1672 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Watercolour on vellum put down on a leaf from a table-book in a gilded frame

  • Credit Line:

    Purchased with the assistance of The Art Fund

  • Museum number:

    P.45-1955

  • Gallery location:

    Portrait Miniatures, room 90a, case 6

  • Download image

The word ‘miniature’ describes a technique of painting in watercolour rather than the size of a painting. Miniature painting developed as a separate art in the 16th century and in Britain it became predominantly a portrait art.

Samuel Cooper had first set up established his independent miniature practice in London in 1642, the year that civil war broke out and King Charles I abandoned London for the safety of York. Cooper was not untouched personally by the years of war leading to the execution of Charles I in 1649. The poet Alexander Pope, the nephew of Cooper’s wife Christina, wrote that she ‘had three Brothers, one of whom was kill’d, another died in the service of King Charles’. Professionally, however, Cooper flourished, and during the Commonwealth period he was employed by Oliver Cromwell, the Lord Protector. At the Restoration of the monarchy in 1660 Cooper’s reputation as the foremost artist in England secured him the patronage of the returned royal family, to which he responded with an enriched style. His flesh painting became more full bodied, noticeably so to contemporaries such as Samuel Pepys, who thought ‘the colouring of the flesh to be a little forced’.

Today, albeit with fading, this portrait of the Duke of York does not seem unnaturally sanguine. Overall the effect is less austere than Cooper’s style during the Commonwealth period, the lighting less dramatic and so the relief of the sitter’s features is less marked. Its softer, lighter style, however, does not lessen the dignity and presence of the sitter. The Duke particularly retains a serious reserve appropriate for the second son of the ‘martyred’ Charles I.

Physical description

Portrait, half-length, to right and looking to front. Features firmly hatched in brown and sanguine, with some blue-grey and some white heightening blended over a thick warm carnation ground; hair in pale brown wash, hatched in darker brown with some opaque lights; sleeves in ochre wash with touches of silver and gold; collar in white over grey wash; armour washed and hatched in grey with white lights; the Garter ribbon in blue hatched in darker colour; background a grey wash, blending with sky and clouds in washes of blue and grey gouache to right; on vellum put down on a leaf from a table-book.
[Frame] Seventeenth-century silver-gilt oval frame, the slightly convex back of sheet metal and the rim cast and elaborately chased, holding the almost flat glass by its bevelled edge. From the glass, the rim recedes outward and backward to a half-round moulding chased with serrated leaves in relief. From that emerges another, reversed band of similar leaves. A sharp arris and trough is edged by a raised laurel-leaf strip and a recessed nose. The back turns in from this arris in a bolection moulding with an outward pointing band of leaves, like those on the front. From their base rises a vertical plain strip which is rolled into a bezel to secure the back. The hanger is a simple round wire ring on the back, held by a transverse loop that bifurcates into leaf terminals. The convex back is engraved with the reversible cypher of King James II, above the inscription Anno Aetat: 28 within an engraved laurel border, bound top, bottom and sides with crossed ties. See also frame on Cat. No. 84.

Place of Origin

England, Great Britain (painted)

Date

1660-1661 (painted)
17th century (made)

Artist/maker

Cooper, Samuel, born 1603 - died 1672 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Watercolour on vellum put down on a leaf from a table-book in a gilded frame

Marks and inscriptions

'SC [interlaced] [16]61.'
[Frame] 'Anno Aetat: 28'

Dimensions

Height: 80 mm, Width: 64 mm

Object history note

Provenance: Richard Graham, at whose sale 6 March 1711/ 12, lot 51, bt James Seamer on behalf of James Sotheby; by descent among the Sotheby heirlooms at Ecton Hall; Sotheby's 11 October 1955, lot 44, bt Becker on behalf of the Museum.

Descriptive line

Portrait miniature of James, Duke of York, watercolour on vellum, painted by Samuel Cooper, 1660-1661.

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.
Cat.85, pp.156-158. Full Citation:

85 James, Duke of York, later James II
(b.1633 d.1701)
1660-1
P45-1955

Oval 80 x 64 mm

Features firmly hatched in brown and sanguine, with some blue-grey and some white heightening blended over a thick warm carnation ground; hair in pale brown wash, hatched in darker brown with some opaque lights; sleeves in ochre wash with touches of silver and gold; collar in white over grey wash; armour washed and hatched in grey with white lights; the Garter ribbon in blue hatched in darker colour; background a grey wash, blending with sky and clouds in washes of blue and grey gouache to right; on vellum put down on a leaf from a table-book.

Condition: Some spots of old mildew; marginal abrasions; silver blackened; probably cropped on the left margin where the first two digits of the date are lost; otherwise fresh and sound.

Signed: In gold, centre left: SC (interlaced) [16]61. The first 6 is visible as a fragment in the margin.

Frame: Seventeenth-century silver-gilt oval frame, the slightly convex back of sheet metal and the rim cast and elaborately chased, holding the almost flat glass by its bevelled edge. From the glass, the rim recedes outward and backward to a half-round moulding chased with serrated leaves in relief. From that emerges another, reversed band of similar leaves. A sharp arris and trough is edged by a raised laurel-leaf strip and a recessed nose. The back turns in from this arris in a bolection moulding with an outward pointing band of leaves, like those on the front. From their base rises a vertical plain strip which is rolled into a bezel to secure the back. The hanger is a simple round wire ring on the back, held by a transverse loop that bifurcates into leaf terminals. The convex back is engraved with the reversible cypher of King James II, above the inscription Anno Aetat: 28 within an engraved laurel border, bound top, bottom and sides with crossed ties. See also frame on Cat. No. 84 [P.110-1910].

Provenance: Richard Graham, at whose sale 6 March 1711/ 12,lot 51, bt James Seamer on behalf of James Sotheby; by descent among the Sotheby heirlooms at Ecton Hall; Sotheby's 11 October 1955, lot 44, bt Becker on behalf of the Museum.

Exhibited: South Kensington 1862, no. 2636; BFAC 1889, p. 62, no. 18, pl, 11; Old and Modern Miniatures, Manchester City Art Gallery, 1926, no. 254; Grosvenor Place 1932, no. 81; Wren's Centenary, St Paul's Cathedral, 1932; RA 1934, no. 978 (the date misread); RA 1960-1 , no. 561 repro. p. 58; NPG 1974, no. 96, repro. in colour, p. xxii (intro., p. xiii) .

Literature: Holmes 1906, pp. 373-4 (implied to be identical with the Buccleuch Collection miniature, Kennedy 1917, pl. XXXII, now National Maritime Museum); Foster 1914-16, vol. II, p. 47, no. 288 (with inaccurate citation of BFAC exhibition number); Williamson 1921, p. 68, pI. XIII (3); Long 1929, p. 89; Fifty-Second Annual Report of the NACF, 1955, p. 43 and repra. facing p. 42;Whinney and Millar 1957, p. 95; Reynolds 1959, intra. and pl. viii; Piper 1963, p. 178; Foskett 1963, p. 69; Schidloff 1964, vol. Ill, p. 135, fig. 247; Reynolds 1964, p. 16; Reynolds 1966, p. 103, repra. detail, fig. 3; Foskett 1974, p. 116, repro. as colour frontispiece; Summary Catalogue, 1981, p. 10; Murdoch 1981, p. 111, pl. 25a; Reynolds 1988, p. 53, fig. 28.

Versions:
1 enamel, attributed to Petitot; (1)
2 watercolour. (2)

The miniature is the prime finished version of a portrait type for which Cooper must have had a personal sitting to mark either the return of the Court, or James's secret marriage to Anne Hyde in 1660.

James Sotheby recorded his purchase of this portrait in his account book for the years 1710-15: ‘1711 / March 6 Pd for king James the 2ds. Picture / when Duke of York Aetat: 28: / a halflength painted by Sam: Cooper in Walter [sic] Colours and / set in gilt Mettal Frame; bought / at Mr Grahams Auction for me by Mr Ja: Seamer 20 Guineas [£] 21. 1 0 [s.].' (3)

The Graham sale was at Mr Pelletier's in Henrietta Street, Covent Garden, and a partly priced catalogue is in the possession of the Marquis of Ailesbury (4) From the other lots at this sale it is possible to identify Graham firmly as the Richard Graham who was an acquaintance of Vertue and who supplied the latter with information incorporated in the Notebooks. Graham is credited with a variety of publications including A Short Account of the most Eminent Painters, both Ancient and Modern appended to the 1695 edition of Dryden’s du Fresnoy (see Graham 1716). According to Vertue, (5)Richard Graham owned a portrait of Cromwell; he also owned the pastel portrait of Cooper; (6) both were at the sale in March 1711/12.

It has frequently been suggested that Seamer made this and similar frames for James Sotheby. The evidence derives from an entry referring to a different miniature in the account book' recording payment to Seamer on 21 January 1705/6. 'Pd Mr James Seamer Goldsmith his /bill in full of all accts. £11.7s.9d. / £9.Ss.3d. whereof was for the case, Cristal, & co of Venus by Oliver.”(8)

Since there were fourteen settings of the same type as on the Venus in the Sotheby Collection when it was sold in 1955, all except the James engraved JS on the back, it has seemed right to infer that they were made on Sotheby's instructions.

Against this is the fact that although Seamer figures regularly in the accounts as the maker or gilder of mugs, goblets, etc., this is the only entry that refers to the making of a case for a miniature. The record of Sotheby's cash-flow in the years 1705-15 is in fact extremely full, so the negative evidence is significant.(9) Furthermore, the wording of the entry that related to the James suggests that it was already 'set in a gilt Mettal Frame', and the description in the Graham sale catalogue confirms that this was so before Seamer bought it. Significantly perhaps, the James is the only one of Sothebys miniatures framed in this way that does not have the JS monogram on the back. Then there are other miniatures, the Duchess of Orleans by Cooper (Cat. No. 84) and the Mary of Modena at Welbeck Abbey (10) for example, which are not known to have been in Sotheby's collection but which are framed in this distinctive manner.

The inference should perhaps be that the style was still current among the goldsmiths who undertook such work (including Seamer), but that it dated back to probably the third quarter of the seventeenth century, when the frames on the Henrietta Anne and the James originated. The style is 'certainly anachronistic for 1712' and is absolutely right for c.1660. (11) It is likely that we have here the earliest appearances of the new manner of framing the enlarged miniatures that were beginning to appear, initially in the portraiture of the Court, after the Restoration. The 'Searner' case is, structurally, much more a frame than a locket, and it is clearly intended to be hung in a cabinet rather than worn as a jewel. It is curious, however, that the type seems to have undergone no evolution between c.1660 and c.1705-10 and that Seamer was content to reproduce anachronistic chasing at this extremely high level of quality, even for an antique miniature like the Venus. Presumably Sotheby wanted his miniatures en suite.

1 Repro. Foster 1898, pl. 25 and Foster 1903, vol.I, pI. XXXVl1l, no. 62 (attributed to Petitot); collection of Baroness Burdett-Coutts.
2 Repro. Foster, 1914-16, vol. 1, pI. L, no. 125; collection of the Duke of Beaufort; attributed by Foskett (NPG 1974,no.195) toSPRosse.
3 The guinea, a coin first struck in 1663 with gold from West Africa, increased its value against the silver currency until it reached its peak of 30s. in 1694 when, with the rehabilitation of silver, it declined to 21s.6d. Between 1698 and 1717 it was stabilised at this level, and [ames Sotheby made his payments accordingly (20 x 21s.6d. = £21.1 Os.) .The 21s. conversion rate was established in 1717.
4 Printed by the Historical Manuscripts Commission, 15th Report, Appendix pt vii, (1898), pp. 204-6.
5 Vertue I, p. 31.
6 D91 ; see Cooper biographical note and Cat. No. 77 for further discussion of Graham.
7 L.2726-1955.
8 It was unusual for the client rather than the artist to send the completed miniature to the goldsmith for framing. As Pepys records, Cooper sent the completed portrait of Mrs Pepys to the goldsmith for framing, at a charge - additional to the basic £30 for the miniature - of £8.3s.4d.; a figure similar to the £9. Ss. 3d. paid to Seamer by Sotheby.
9 MSS 1.2 72 6-1 955 and 1.2 72 7-1 955; for the earlier period we depend on extracts from lost originals made by James Sotheby 11l in 1721: Ll721-19 55.
10 Catalogued by Goulding as the Countess 01 Ogle by Richard Gibson (Goulding 1914-15, no. 163, pI. XIV) but listed by Vertue as Mary 01 Modena in 1743 and now again accepted as such (see RA 1960-1, no. 683; Foskett 1972, no. 337, pI. 126).Vertue's record of the miniature at Welbeck Abbey in 1743 is very strong presumptive evidence that the miniature was never in the Sotheby Collection. The same presumption applies to the so-called Duke 01 Monmouth by Cross, also at Welbeck (Goulding 1914-15, no. 91, pl. XVI; Foskett 1972, repro. in colour, pI. 33). The longevity of the style is indicated by the use of the frame type for another portrait which has no evident connection with Sotheby, the Field Marshal GeorgeWade by Benjamin Arlaud, signed and dated 1731 (Clarke Collection, formerly Pierpont Morgan, his sale Christies 24 June 1935, lot 457;Williamson 1906-8, vol. 11, no. 186, repro.).
11 According to John Cooper, written opinion in Museum files."

Exhibition History

Samuel Cooper and his Contemporaries (National Portrait Gallery 1974-1974)
The Age of Charles II (Royal Academy of Arts 1960-1961)
Royal Academy Winter Exhibition of British Art (Royal Academy of Arts 1934-1934)
Wren's Centenary (St. Paul's Cathedral 1932-)
A Loan Exhibition depicting the Reign of Charles II (Grosvenor Place January 1932-March 1932)
Old and Modern Miniatures (Manchester Art Gallery 1926-)
Exhibition of Portrait Miniatures (Burlington Fine Arts Club 1889-1889)
Special Exhibition of Works of Art at the South Kensington Museum (Victoria and Albert Museum 1862-1862)

Materials

Watercolour; Metal; Vellum

Techniques

Painting; Gilding; Chasing

Subjects depicted

Duke; Laurels; James (II, King of England)

Categories

Portraits; Royalty; Paintings

Production Type

Unique

Collection code

PDP

Download image
Qr_O16569
Ajax-loader