Van Dyck and Britain: explore the exhibition, room 8

John Singer Sargent, ‘Almina, Daughter of Asher Wertheimer’ 1908
John Singer Sargent
Almina, Daughter of Asher Wertheimer 1908

Van Dyck’s Continuing Influence

In the mid-eighteenth century, there was a fashion for so-called ‘Vandyke’ costumes, worn by both sexes at masquerades, and often chosen to be worn for portraits. They derived from the portraits of van Dyck’s period. Patrons and artists continued to look back to van Dyck’s language of power and authority.

The late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries saw a revival of interest in van Dyck, with a major van Dyck exhibition at the Royal Academy in 1900. Impoverished aristocrats were being forced to put their van Dycks on the market. They were then purchased by the new industrial class.

Van Dyck remained a byword for tradition, class and status. When wealth moved from the old land-owning families to those in industry and trade, contemporary portraits in the style of van Dyck were another way of acquiring the attributes of status and prestige. Artists such as Sargent and De László echoed van Dyck to flatter their ‘new money’ sitters by depicting them like the ‘old money’ aristocrats into whose grand houses they had moved.

This last throw-back to van Dyck captured the glamour, wealth, power and social position of an earlier age before the Great War swept it away.

Works in this room

Joshua Reynolds
Mr Huddesford and Mr Bampfylde c.1778
Oil on canvas 1251 x 997 mm
Presented by Mrs Plenge in accordance with the wishes of her mother, Mrs Martha Beaumont 1866

Joshua Reynolds
Suzanna Beckford 1756
Oil on canvas 1270 x 1022 mm
Purchased 1947

Francis Hayman
The Wrestling Scene from ‘As You Like It’ c.1740–2
Oil on canvas 527 x 921 mm
Purchased 1953

Thomas Gainsborough
Edward Richard Gardiner c,1760–8
Oil on canvas 622 x 502 mm
Presented by Miss Marjorie Gainsborough Gardiner 1965

Thomas Hudson
Mary Panton, Duchess of Ancaster 1757
Oil on canvas 2390 x 1370 mm
Private Collection

Pompeo Batoni
Thomas William Coke, later 1st Earl of Leicester (of the second creation) 1774
Oil on canvas 2419 x 1675 mm
Viscount Coke and Trustees of the Holkham Estate

Philip Alexius Laszlo de Lombos
Mrs George Sandys 1915
Oil on canvas 2413 x 1257 mm
Mr and Mrs Sandys

Thomas Gainsborough
Commodore Augustus Hervey, later 3rd Earl of Bristol 1767–8
Oil on canvas 2325 x 1525 mm
Ickworth, The Bristol Collection (acquired through the National Land Fund and transferred to The National Trust in 1956)

Oldfield Bowles
Self-portrait in Vandyke Dress at his Easel c.1770s
Oil on canvas 710 x 510 mm
Clevedon Court, The Elton Collection (The National Trust)

Johan Zoffany
John, Lord Mountstuart, later 1st Marquess of Bute 1765–6
Oil on canvas 915 x 710 mm
Private collection, Great Britain, lent by a descendant of the subject

Richard Earlom, Johan Zoffany
George III, Queen Charlotte and their Six Eldest Children 1770
Mezzotint 585 x 508 mm
Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery, University of Glasgow

John Singer Sargent
The Earl of Dalhousie 1900
Oil on canvas 1524 x 1016 mm
The Earl of Dalhousie

Anthony van Dyck
Frances, Countess of Exeter, William Faithorne 1621–1691
Engraving 286 x 212 mm
The British Museum, London

McArdell, James
Rubens’s 2nd Wife
Mezzotint 340 x 252 mm
The British Museum, London

Van Dyck exhibition catalogue, Royal Academy of Arts Winter Exhibition 1900
Book 220 x 150 x 10 mm
closed Private collection

Jonathan Richardson
Discourses c.1722
The British Library, London

Thomas Jeffreys
A Collection of the Dresses of Different Nations 1757
The British Library, London

Sarah Churchill
A letter from Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough, to her granddaugther Diana Spencer, Duchess of Bedford 13 June 1734
Modern print (photographic reproduction)
The Duke of Bedford and the Trustees of the Bedford Estates