Oil painting on canvas, Catherine Howard, Lady d’Aubigny (d.1650) after Sir Anthony Van Dyck (Antwerp 1599 - London 1641), 17th century. According to manuscript addition to 1861 catalogue: “When the portrait was cleaned in 1908 we found underneath the varnish the following inscription in old-fashioned gilt letters “Dutchefs of Portsmouth & d’Aubignè…” A three-quarter-length portrait of a young woman, turned to the right, gazing at the spectator, wearing a low-cut red dress with wide sleeves, and a pearl necklace, fingering a bouquet of flowers on the right. She holds a rose garland, a traditional emblem of betrothal. Van Dyck imbued her image with the elegance that pervaded the court of Charles I, where beauty was equated with idealized love and spiritual fulfillment. A copy of the original painting in the National Gallery of Art, Washington, circa 1638, painted at the time of her first marriage.
Catherine Howard, Lady D’Aubigny (d.1650), daughter of Theophilus Howard, 2nd Duke of Suffolk (1584-1640), married her first husband, George Stuart, Lord d’Aubigny, brother of James, Duke of Lenox and Richmond in 1638 who was killed in the Battle of Edgehill in 1642. She then married, Sir James Livingstone, 1st Earl of Newburgh (d.1670), with whom she was involved in a plot to rescue Charles I from Hampton Court. After the king’s execution she fled to The Hague and died in exile.
Recorded in the ‘blue damask bedchamber’ by Horace Walpole in 1768; and thence by descent until bought with part of the contents of Kedleston with the aid of the National Heritage Memorial Fund in 1987 when the house and park were given to the National Trust by Francis Curzon, 3rd Viscount Scarsdale (1924-2000)
Kedleston Hall, The Scarsdale Collection (acquired with the help of the National Heritage Memorial Fund and transferred to The National Trust in 1987)
Marks and inscriptions
Duchess of Portsmouth (ampersand) d' Aubigne (mark, painted, bottom rhs of canvas, gold text)
Makers and roles
after Sir Anthony Van Dyck (Antwerp 1599 - London 1641), artist