Artist biography

English painter and engraver. In 1636 he married Judith Hoskins. Des Granges is recorded in 1628 as the engraver of Raphael's St George and the Dragon (1506; Washington, DC, N.G.). He was a prolific miniature painter. His use of dark grey or light brown backgrounds was unusual and he frequently signed his works with the initials D.D.G. arranged in a triangle. In 1640 he made a miniature copy, now at Ham House, Surrey, of Titian's Allegory of Alfonso d'Avalos, Marchese del Vasto (c. 1532; Paris, Louvre), then in the collection of Charles I. Des Granges took the royalist side during the English Civil War and Commonwealth period; he followed Charles II to Scotland and produced many miniatures of his royal patron. The earlier versions were copied from the portrait (c. 1648; see Murdoch, pl. 7e) by Adriaen Hannemann, but des Granges evolved a novel contribution to the iconography of Charles II in his portraits of the King c. 1651 (e.g. ex-Newdegate col., see Murdoch, pl. 155). In 1671, disabled and unable to support his family, he had to plead for the payment owed for 13 of these Civil War miniatures. He is believed to have died shortly after this.

Des Granges's oil paintings are less well known than his miniatures. The Saltonstall Family (1636–7; see Lace, fig. 3) is attributed to him on the basis of his other signed portraits. Despite its naive composition it has a sensitivity and intimacy that is exceptional in Stuart painting.

Bibliography
E. Einberg: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions, London, Tate cat. (London, 1974–6), pp. 22–3
M. Edmond: ‘Limners and Picturemakers', Walpole Soc., xlvii (1978–80), pp. 123–4
J. Murdoch and others: The English Miniature (London, 1981), pp. 135–9

GRAHAM REYNOLDS

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