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This gentleman wears the crimson sash of the Order of the Bath but he has not been identified further. Like its paired portrait, next but one to the right - presumably of the sitter's wife - this one bears Johnson's monogram 'C.J.' and the date 1629.
Three years later, Sir Anthony van Dyck settled in Britain: his work was to influence Johnson's style profoundly. These two earlier portraits, however, demonstrate Johnson's characteristically intimate and pensive work, combined with the softened, rather brushy, technique of his mid-career. The unusual scale of this portrait - halfway between a full-size portrait and a miniature - is found in other works by Johnson.

August 2004