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Title The Great Picture
Collection Abbot Hall Gallery, Kendal
Artist Attributed to Belcamp, Jan van (Dutch painter, ca.1610-1653)
Date 1646 (dated)
Description This is an extraordinary complex picture commissioned by a woman to celebrate her life and to mark the final and undisputed reversion to her of the Clifford estates some forty years after her father's death. Lady Anne Clifford (1590-1676) regarded herself as the last of a noble line, the Cliffords, Earls of Cumberland, who were descended from the Veteripoints, an ancient Westmoreland family. She was brought up at the Elizabethan court where he father held an honoured position close to the Queen. Lady Anne is depicted in the left panel, at the age of 15, the year of her father's death, and in the right panel, at the age of 56. The painting was commissioned by Lady Anne to commemorate the final retrieval of her lands and properties, which had long been denied her as a woman. Her uncle Francis, 4th Earl of Cumberland, died in 1641, and his son, Henry, 5th Earl of Cumberland, died young and without male heirs in 1642. Lady Anne thus duly came into her own, though the Civil War delayed her departure to Westmoreland and Craven until 1649. A scroll in the left panel describes the events of her life and expounds on her birth rights. Depicted in the right panel are two portraits of her husbands, Lord Buckhurst, later Earl of Dorset and Philip Herbert, 4th Earl of Pembroke, 1st Earl of Montgomery and another scroll describes the events of her later life, with space for additions after her death, which were never completed. In the centre panel are depicted her mother (pregnant with Anne) and father and two brothers who died as children. This painting is therefore a reaffirmation of Lady Anne's claims to her inheritance.
Current Accession Number AH 2310/81
Subject portrait (Clifford family)
Measurements 254 x 493 cm (estimate)
Material oil on canvas
Acquisition Details Purchased in a private treaty sale with grant aid from the V&A Purchase Grant Fund, the National Heritage Memorial Fund, The National Art-Collections Fund, and many other public and private donations, 1981
Provenance Lady Anne Clifford; by descent to the Tuftons; by descent to the Lords Hothfield.
Publications Williamson, G. C., Lady Anne Clifford, 1922, p. 334 seq., Appendix XIII, p. 489, seq; Holmes, Martin, Proud Northern Lady: Lady Anne Clifford, 1590-1676, 1975.
Rights Owner Lakeland Arts Trust
Author Lisa Howard



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