Cornelius Johnson

Portrait of an Unknown Lady


Image released under

License this image

Cornelius Johnson 1593–1661
Oil paint on oak
Support: 410 × 330 mm
frame: 565 × 470 × 60 mm
Purchased 1965

Display caption

Johnson, born in London in 1593 to a German/Flemish immigrant family, became an extremely prolific portraitist, working on every scale, including painting full-length groups. The sitter is thought to be the wife of the sitter in the portrait nearby. Its unusual scale – halfway between a full-size portrait and a miniature – is found in other works by Johnson.

Gallery label, February 2016

Does this text contain inaccurate information or language that you feel we should improve or change? We would like to hear from you.

Catalogue entry

Cornelius Johnson 1593–1661

T00745 Portrait of an Unknown Lady 1629

Inscr. ‘C. J. fecit 1629.’ b.r.
Panel, 16¿ x 13 (43 x 33).
Purchased from the Executors of Captain E. G. Spencer-Churchill (Grant-in-Aid) 1965.
Coll: as for No. T00744.
Lit: A Catalogue of the Pictures, Works of Art, etc. at Northwick Park, 1864, reprinted 1908, p. 15, No. 88; Borenius and Cust, 1921, p. 125, No. 315, as of Elizabeth, neé Tanfield, wife of 1st Viscount Falkland; Finberg, 1922, p. 17, No. 38, as ‘Called Lady Falkland’.
Engr: Charles Turner, published by S. Woodburn 1811.

Letitia Morison (1611–1646/7), the traditional subject of this portrait, did not marry the 2nd Viscount Falkland until 1631, which is one of the reasons for rejecting the traditional identification of this pair of pictures (see T00744). Her mother-in-law, Elizabeth Tanfield (1585–1639), married the 1st Viscount in 1602 and would have been too old to be the sitter as suggested by Borenius.

Published in The Tate Gallery Report 1965–1966, London 1967.


You might like