Anthony Van Dyck William Fielding 1st Earl of Denbigh c.1635 to 1636 portrait of a man walking through tropical jungle as an explorer

Anthony Van Dyck
William Fielding, 1st Earl of Denbigh c.1635–6
Oil on canvas
2475 x 1485 mm

The National Gallery, London. Presented by Count Antoine Seilern, 1945

Van Dyck’s main Patrons and Sitters

Charles I had used van Dyck to project an image of majesty. In the same way, van Dyck’s other courtly patrons commissioned him to create portraits that would display their power, wealth and social standing and, in the case of women, also their beauty and virtue. Thomas Wentworth, for example, a politician and among the most powerful men in the country, is shown as both a man of action, subduing a massive hound with the mere touch of his hand, and a serious politician in the service of king and country.

As well as being members of Charles I’s court, these patrons were from the great land-owning aristocratic families. The power of family dynasties is suggested in portraits such as that of Thomas Howard, Earl of Arundel and his grandson, with the symbols of power that would be passed down from one generation to the next.

Both men and women are richly attired in the latest fashion. Their confident pose, as they steadily meet the viewer’s gaze, implies their elevated place in the social order. All look like Cavaliers but, when civil war broke out, several of them would side with Parliament against the King.

Works in this room

Anthony van Dyck
Thomas, Viscount Wentworth, later 1st Earl of Strafford, with Dog 1635–6
Oil on canvas 2305 x 1429 mm
The Trustees of the Rt Hon. Olive Countess Fitzwilliam’s Chattels settlement by permission of Lady Juliet Tadgell

Anthony van Dyck
Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Strafford, with Sir Philip Mainwaring c.1639–40
Oil on canvas 1318 x 1429 mm
The Trustees of the Rt Hon. Olive Countess Fitzwilliam’s Chattels settlement by permission of Lady Juliet Tadgell

Anthony van Dyck
Lucy Percy, Countess of Carlisle 1637
Oil on canvas 2184 x 1308 mm
The Trustees of the Rt Hon. Olive Countess Fitzwilliam’s Chattels settlement by permission of Lady Juliet Tadgell

Anthony van Dyck
Lady Mary Villiers as St Agnes c.1637
Oil on canvas 1867 x 1372 mm
Her Majesty The Queen (The Royal Collection Trust)

Anthony van Dyck
A Lady, called ‘Mrs Howard’ c.1638–9
Oil on canvas 1060 x 813 mm
Private collection, Boston, USA

Anthony van Dyck
Mountjoy Blount, 1st Earl of Newport, and George, Lord Goring c.1639
Oil on canvas 1283 x 1511 mm
Petworth House, The Egremont Collection (acquired in lieu of tax by H.M. Treasury in 1957 and subsequently transferred to The National Trust)

Anthony van Dyck
Frances, Lady Buckhurst, later Countess of Dorset c.1637
Oil on canvas 1870 x 1280 mm
Knole, The Sackville Collection (The National Trust)

Anthony van Dyck
Sir Thomas Hanmer c.1638
Oil on canvas 1175 x 857 mm
The Weston Park Foundation, Staffordshire

Anthony van Dyck
Portrait of Dorothy, Viscountess Andover and her Sister Elizabeth, Lady Thimbleby c.1637
Oil on canvas 1320 x 1499 mm
The National Gallery, London. Purchased, 1977

Anthony van Dyck
Lord John Stuart and his brother Lord Bernard Stuart, later Earl of Lichfield c.1638
Oil on canvas 2375 x 1460 mm
The National Gallery, London. Purchased, 1988

Anthony van Dyck
Algernon Percy, 10th Earl of Northumberland c.1636–8
Oil on canvas 2219 x 1302 mm
The Duke of Northumberland, Alnwick

Anthony van Dyck
William Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury c.1638
Oil on canvas 1216 x 971 mm
The Syndics of the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

Anthony van Dyck
Katherine, Lady Stanhope, later Countess of Chesterfield c.1635–6
Oil on canvas 775 x 648 mm
Private collection

Anthony van Dyck
Thomas Howard, Earl of Arundel, with his Grandson Thomas, later 5th Duke of Norfolk c.1635–6
Oil on canvas 1448 x 1219 mm
The Duke of Norfolk, Arundel Castle, West Sussex

Anthony van Dyck
Philip Herbert, 4th Earl of Pembroke c.1637
Oil on canvas 1335 x 1080 mm
Private collection