Orazio Farnese, Duke of Castro (1531-1553)

Italian (North Italian) School
National Trust Inventory Number 446821

Category Art / Oil paintings
Date circa 1550 - 1553
Materials Oil on slate
Measurements 327 x 184 mm (12 7/8 x 7 1/4 in)
Place of origin Italy
Collection Upton House, Warwickshire (Accredited Museum)
On show at Upton House, Midlands, National Trust

This haunting portrait of a young member of the Farnese family is unusual for it being painted on precious slate. It was probably painted in Parma in the mid 16th century after the family settled there in 1545 but there is no agreement as to its authorship. It has variously been ascribed to Parmigianino, Nicolo dell'Abate and Girolamo Mazzola Bedoli. The sitter is recognised as Orazio Farnese who married the daughter of Henry II, Diane de France, in 1553 the same year of his death in battle. He was also portrayed retrospectively, in 1562, in Taddeo Zuccaro's fresco celebrating his wedding, in the Villa Farnese at Caprarola.

Summary description

Oil painting on slate, Orazio Farnese, Duke of Castro (1531-1553), Italian (North Italian) School, circa 1550. A young man, head and shoulders, facing half towards the left, wearing a scarlet jacket with white collar edged with gold and white fur over his shoulders. The cramped composition seems to indicate that the thin slate on which the portrait is painted may have been reduced in size, possibly for reasons of condition; the head is badly damaged and the whole of the shadowed portion of the face at the right has been repainted.


Sir Francis Cook, 4th Bt (1907 - 1978); with Agnew, 1945; from whom acquired by Lord Bearsted; given with Upton House to the National Trust by Walter Samuel, 2nd Viscount Bearsted (1882 – 1948), in 1948, shortly before his death

Credit line

Upton House, The Bearsted Collection (National Trust)

Makers and roles

Italian (North Italian) School, artist
previously catalogued as attributed to Parmigianino (Parma 1503 – Casalmaggiore 1540), artist
Nicolò dell'Abate (b. Modena, ca.1509 - Fontainebleau 1571), artist
Girolamo Mazzola Bedoli (Viadana c.1505 - Parma c.1569) , artist


Catalogue of the Cook Collection (Italian Schools), T. Borenius, London, 1913, vol.I, No.98, repd
Fröhlich-Burne 1925 L. Fröhlich-Burne, 'Some unpublished Portraits by Parmigianino', Burlington Magazine, XLVI, 1925, p.88, Pl. 11f
Copertini 1932 G. Copertini, Il Parmigianino, Parma, 1932, vol.I, p.223, note 27
Nicolson 1948 B. Nicolson, Whitechapel Art Gallery', Burlington Magazine, XC, 1948, p.82
Quintavalle 1949 A.O. Quintavalle, Il Parmigianino, Milan, 1949, p.204
Freedberg, 1950: S.J. Freedburg, Parmigianino, Cambridge (Mass.), 1950, p.232, pl.163

Related items

Place of origin Italy (6575)
Materials Oil paint (8598)
Slate (368)
Wood (128410)
Category Art / Oil paintings (12629)
Collection Upton House, Warwickshire (Accredited Museum) (2593)
Periods 16th century (6314)
Maker Italian (North Italian) School (26)
Parmigianino (Parma 1503 – Casalmaggiore 1540) (13)
Nicolò dell'Abate (b. Modena, ca.1509 - Fontainebleau 1571) (2)
Girolamo Mazzola Bedoli (Viadana c.1505 - Parma c.1569)  (2)
Subjects Orazio Farnese, Duke of Castro (1531-1553) (1)
Object Type Oil painting (14414)

Record Status


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