Sir Edward Herbert, later 1st Baron Herbert of Cherbury KB (1581/2 – 1648) in the Robes of the Order of the Bath
British (English) School
This portrait was probably painted shortly after Edward Herbert was made a Knight of the Bath by king James I in 1603. He later spoke with great pride of his robes of ‘crimson taffety…in which habit I am painted in my study’. The painter is unknown, though the formal construction of the portrait is reminiscent of the full-length portraits by William Larkin from the same period. Larkin was an English painter best known for his portrayals of members of the court of James I, which capture in brilliant detail the opulent layering of textiles, embroidery, lace, and jewellery characteristic of fashion in the Jacobean era.
Oil painting on canvas, Sir Edward Herbert, later 1st Baron Herbert of Cherbury KB (1581/2 – 1648), in the Robes of the Order of Bath, British School, c.1603, inscribed on cartouche, upper left of canvas: VIRTUS SIBI PRAEMIUM; on back of canvas, freehand in oil: Edward/Lord Herbert/of Chirbury/K.B. A full-length portrait of Edward herbert wearing the crimson taffetta robes of the Order of the Bath.
Accepted by HM Treasury on 21st March, 1963 in lieu of tax and conveyed to National Trust ownership on 29th November 1963. The portrait is mentioned in his autobiography; The Life of Edward Herbert of Chirbury, published in 1771 'Shorty after I was being made Knight of the Bath... The second day to wear robes of crimson taffeta (in which habit I am painted in my study)'. Recorded at Powis Castle in Montgomery Collections Vol VI P.148 in 1873.
Powis Castle, The Powis Collection (National Trust)
Marks and inscriptions
Recto: Framer's label on bottom member: Thames Plate Glass Warehouse/Thomas Ponsonby/Carver and Gilder to the Queen/His Royal Highness Prince Albert/Decorator and Upholsterer/Regent Circus, Piccadily Verso: Exhibition label on stretcher: National Portrait Exhibition, 1866, 'Number of owner's list - 2' [no. 628]. Verso: Exhibition label: Welsh National Portraits Exhibition, Nat. Mus. of Wales, 1957, No. 9 Verso: Exhibition label: The Elizabethan Image, Tate Gallery 1969-70, No. 58 (attr. to Robert Peake).
Makers and roles
British (English) School, artist previously catalogued as attributed to Robert Peake the elder (c.1551 – 1619), artist previously catalogued as follower of William Larkin (London c.1585 – London 1619), artist
First Special Exhibition of National Portraits, Ending with the Reign of King James II (exh cat) South Kensington Museum, London, 16 April - 18 August, 1866, no.628 Welsh National Portraits (exh cat) National Museum of Wales, Cardiff, 16 March - 14 April 1957, no.9 The Elizabethan Image (exh cat) (Roy Strong) Tate Gallery, London, 28 November 1969 - 8 February 1970, no.58 Strong 1969 Roy Strong, The English Icon, Elizabethan and Jacobean Portraiture, London, 1969, p. 245, no.220 Chu 2018 John Chu, House of Portraits: Powis Castle, Swindon, 2018, p.35