Van Dyck and Britain: explore the exhibition, room 4

Anthony Van Dyck Self-Portrait Van Dyck with Endymion Porter 1633 oval portrait depicting two men in their finery

Anthony Van Dyck
Self-Portrait: Van Dyck with Endymion Porter c.1633
Oil on canvas
1100 x 1140 mm

Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid

Van Dyck in London 

This room focuses on van Dyck’s private life during his stay in London in the 1630s. There are portraits of his mistress, of his friends, and of the woman (a minor Scottish aristocrat) whom he married the year before he died, along with documents from the period including his last will and testament.

Van Dyck’s career as Charles I’s court painter is proof of his unique status as an artist in Britain at this time. Unlike his less well-known predecessors and contemporaries, van Dyck was treated as a courtier, and awarded a knighthood by the king. He was given rooms at court, and a residence on the Thames at Blackfriars. Blackfriars was outside the jurisdiction of the London painters’ guild – which sought to enforce protectionist measures against non-members – and was thus home to a number of overseas-born and trained artists and craftspeople. It was a mark of van Dyck’s prestige that Charles would sometimes travel down river from Whitehall to visit him at his Blackfriars house and studio.

Works in this room

Anthony van Dyck
Portrait of the Artist’s Wife, Mary Ruthven, Lady van Dyck c.1640
Oil on canvas 1040 x 810 mm
Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid

Samuel Cooper
Self-portrait 1645
Vellum laid on card with a gessoed back 72 x 55 mm
Her Majesty The Queen (The Royal Collection Trust)

Anthony van Dyck
Self-portrait c.1640–1
Oil on canvas 573 x 443 mm
Private collection

William Dobson
Self-portrait c.1645
Oil on canvas 573 x 443 mm 
Private collection

Anthony Van Dyck
Margaret Lemon as Erminia(?) late 1630s
Oil on canvas 1092 x 1295 mm
The Duke of Marlborough, Blenheim, Oxfordshire

Robert Walker
Self-portrait c.1640–5
Oil on canvas 750 x 620 mm
The Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

Anthony van Dyck
A Lady, presumed to be Margaret Lemon c.1637
Black, red and white chalks on paper 192 x 245 mm
The Syndics of the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, acquired with the assistance of the National Art Collections Fund (with a contribution from the Wolfson Foundation) and Re:source / V&A Purchase Grant Fund, 2001

Anthony van Dyck
Van Dyck with Chain and Sunflower 1644
Etching 134 x 114 mm
The British Museum, London

Wenceslaus Hollar after Anthony van Dyck
Margaret Lemon 1646
Etching 258 x 178 mm
The British Museum, London

Robert van Voerst after Anthony van Dyck
Robert van Voerst c.1636
Engraving 236 x 170 mm 
The British Museum, London

Robert van Voerst after Anthony van Dyck
Sir Kenelm Digby c.1636
Engraving 255 x 188 mm
The British Museum, London

Robert van Voerst after Anthony van Dyck
Inigo Jones c.1636
Engraving 245 x 175 mm
The British Museum, London

Van Dyck’s Last Will and Testament 1641
Pen on paper
The National Archives, Kew

Draft letter from William Cavendish, later Duke of Newcastle, to Sir Anthony van Dyck 1637
Ink on paper 259 x 180 mm
The British Library, London

Gian Pietro Bellori
Le Vite de’ Pittori, Scultori et Architetti Moderni 1672
The British Library, London

William Sanderson
Graphice: The use of the pen and pensil. Or, The most excellent art of painting: in two parts 1658 
Kingston Lacy, The Bankes Collection (The National Trust)