Cornelis Jonson van Ceulen
Portrait of a Lady
Signed and dated 1638
Oil on Canvas 30.5 x 25.5 / 77.5 x 64.5cm
Vicars, London 1936
Sir George Leon, 2nd Bt. (1875-1947) of Bletchley Park , Buckinghamshire: his wife Anne (nee Cazalet Browne); her third husband, Thomas Parrington.
London, Royal Academy Winter Exhibition, 1956-7, no. 292, (lent by Mrs Dorothy Parrington, Stockbridge, Hampshire.
This portrait dates from 1638, the decade when Cornelis Jonson was at the height of fashion as a London portrait painter, depicting royalty, courtiers and gentry. The rich red tones of the dress, the delicate painting of the lace collar and the bloom of pearls and skin are especially striking.
The portrait is in an elegant Sunderland frame, an English version of the Dutch 'auricular' frames. They were named after Robert Spencer, 2nd Earl of Sunderland, who had much of his collection framed in this style. Sir George Leon owned a number of paintings by Jonson, all in Sunderland frames.
Cornelis Jonson was born in London in 1593, the son of another Cornelis Jonson who had fled from Antwerp to escape religious persecution. His grandfather Peter Jansen originally came from Cologne, hence the family name 'van Ceulen'.
Jonson probably trained as an artist in the northern Netherlands, returning to London circa. 1618, where he set up as a portrait painter. His early portraits are finely painted head and shoulders, often in feigned ovals. In 1623 he painted his first 3/4 length portrait of Baron Coventry (collection of the Earl of Clarendon). Jonson was at the height of his London popularity in the early 1630's, when he painted a copy of Myten's portrait of Charles I, 1631. (Chatsworth House, Derbyshire). In 1632 he was named as a 'Picture drawer' to Charles I. Jonson also painted miniatures.
In 1643, after the start of the Civil War, Jonson returned to the Netherlands, settling first in Middelburg and in 1646 in Amsterdam, where he painted a large group portrait of the Magistrates of the Hague, 1647 (Oude Stadhuis, The Hague). Paintings from his Dutch period are notable for their elegance and delicacy of execution. Cornelis died in Utrecht in 1661. His son Cornelis II was also a painter.
The work of Cornelis Jonson is represented in the Tate Gallery, London; Chatsworth House, Derbyshire and the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.