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Painting Title Portrait of a Man with a Red Beard aged 40 in 1563 (possibly William Tankard)
Collection York Art Gallery
Artist Attributed to after Herwijck, Steven van (Netherlandish medalist, sculptor and painter, ca. 1530-ca. 1566/7)
Previously attributed to after Meulen, Steven van der (Netherlandish painter, active 1543-1568)
Date Earliest possibly about 1800
Date Latest possibly about 1850
Description

A half-length portrait of a gentleman facing right, wearing a black jacket and a white ruff. The inscription contains the date 1563 and the information that the sitter is 40. The painting is a later copy of a 16th century portrait, which may have been painted by the painter 'Steven', most probably Steven van Herwijck. It seems very likely that the sitter could be William Tankard, born in 1523 in Boroughbridge, Yorkshire. He held the office of Recorder of York between 1537 and 1573, when he died (he was buried in Aldborough); he was also M.P. for Boroughbridge in 1553. He was a great-grandfather of the 1st Baronet of Boroughbridge, and an important ancestor, so his portrait may have been copied in the 19th century to be preserved if the original became damaged or lost.

A number of works dated to the 1560s and described as by "the famous paynter Steven" used to be attributed to Steven van der Meulen, a Flemish artist active in London but probably born in Antwerp and a pupil of Willem van Cleve the Younger. A recently discovered will proves that he died in London between October 1563 and January 1564. However, Bendor Grosvenor (see Notes) has proposed an alternative identification of the painter 'Steven' with Steven Cornelisz. van Herwijck (Utrecht ca. 1530 – London 1566/67), a Netherlandish sculptor and gem engraver, but apparently also a painter.

Current Accession Number YORAG : 1130
Inscription front ll 'AETATIS SUAE 40 / Ao DNI 1563'
Subject portrait
Measurements 91.0 x 73.7 cm
Material oil on canvas
Acquisition Details Given by Miss E.M. Lawson Tancred 1967.
Provenance Aldborough, Boroughbridge; probably by descent in Tancred family.
Publications York Art Gallery Catalogue - Catalogue of Paintings, Vol. III: English and European 19th and 20th centuries, The Reserve Collection, City of York Art Gallery, York, 1974, p. 116; Oil Paintings in Public Ownership. North Yorkshire, London, 2006, p. 340 as by unknown artist.
Notes Elinor Mary Lawson-Tancred (1913-1989) was the daughter of Sir Thomas Selby Lawson-Tancred, 9th Baronet, of Boroughbridge, and Margery Elinor Lawson. The baronetcy was created in 1662 for Thomas Tancred, a descendant of Richard Tankard, who already in 11th century owned lands at Boroughbridge in Yorkshire. Margery Elinor Lawson was a daughter of of Andrew Sherlock Lawson of Aldborough Lodge. For the true identity of Steven van der Meulen see Bendor Grosvenor 'The identity of ‘the famous paynter Steven' - Not Steven van der Meulen but Steven van Herwijck', The British Art Journal, Vol. IX, No. 3 (spring 2009), pp. 12-17.
Rights Owner York Museums Trust (York Art Gallery)
Author Dr Magdalena Łanuszka
 

 

 

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