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Gower, who was from a family of Yorkshire gentry, was an important portrait-painter in the 1570s and 1580s. In 1581 he became Serjeant-Painter to Elizabeth I, and supervised decorative painting in the royal palaces. Sir Thomas Kytson (1540-1603) of Hengrave, Suffolk, visited London with his second wife Elizabeth between March and June 1573. The family papers record a payment ‘to Gower of London, painter’ for pictures. Sir Thomas’s portrait, and that of his wife which hangs nearby, remained at Hengrave Hall until 1952. They were presumably originally the same size, but his picture was trimmed at a later date.

May 2007