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The convention of showing sitters as if framed by a stone or marble oval began at the start of the seventeenth century. It echoed the oval format of portrait miniatures and of imported portrait prints. A label once on the back of this picture identified the gentleman as 'Arthur Parsons MD'. Parsons studied medicine at Oxford and in the Netherlands, and may have commissioned this portrait to mark his admission to the Royal College of Physicians.Du Bois was born in Antwerp, trained in the Netherlands and later worked in Italy. He settled in London in about 1680.

April 2007