An Unknown Noblewoman seated in a Chair
attributed to Lavinia Fontana (Bologna 1552 – Bologna 1614)
Fontana was the daughter of a Bolognese painter, whose trade she chose to adopt, which was unusual for a woman at this time. She initially made her name painting the upper class ladies of her home town, Bologna. The sumptuous dress and jewellery worn by this sitter suggests her elevated social standing. The dress and particularly the ruff around her neck have been painted with exquisite detail. Stylistically this portrait is close to some of the Venetian portraitists, who were working around this time, such as Veronese and Tintoretto.
Oil painting on canvas, An Unknown Noblewoman seated in a Chair, attributed to Lavinia Fontana (Bologna 1552 – Bologna 1614). A three-quarter-length portrait, seated, three-quarters left, in an arm-chair, dressed in silver-grey with gold buttons, a pearl necklace, ruff and gold pearl-studded bracelets. A green silk hanging is shown behind the figure.
In the collection of the 3rd Earl of Egremont (1751-1837) by 1835. Thence by descent, until the death in 1952 of the 3rd Lord Leconfield, who had given Petworth to the National Trust in 1947, and whose nephew and heir, John Wyndham, 6th Lord Leconfield and 1st Lord Egremont (1920-72) arranged for the acceptance of the major portion of the collections at Petworth in lieu of death duties (the first ever such arrangement) in 1956 by H.M.Treasury.
Petworth House, The Egremont Collection (acquired in lieu of tax by HM Treasury in 1956 and subsequently transferred to the National Trust)
Makers and roles
attributed to Lavinia Fontana (Bologna 1552 – Bologna 1614), artist