Oil painting on poplar panel, A Man in a Black Cap, after Hans Memling (Seligenstadt 1430/40 – Bruges 1494), 1480/90. A portrait of an unknown man after Hans Memling (1430/35-1494), probably painted in Italy. The man is facing right front, with short curly brown hair, and wearing a black tunic and cap with a white linen collar. The middle distance is wooded, against a blue sky, with a road at left and a lake on the right and in the right distance is a church. The original portrait of around 1480 by Memling was in the Corsini Gallery, Florence. It was sold to Hitler on the orders of Mussolini in 1941; restored in 1948; and recovered in Zurich in 1973 after a theft in 1971 and is now owned by the Uffizi, Florence.
Hans Memling (c.1430/40-94) was born near Frankfurt-am-Main but was traditionally, and very probably, a pupil of Rogier van der Weyden. His art is purely Netherlandish and he seems to have spent his life in Bruges, where he became a citizen in 1465, and was one of the largest taxpayers by 1480. He painted calm and devotional pictures, full of the gentle piety which is one aspect of the later Middle Ages, and also some fine portraits. His earliest dated work is 1472 in the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa.
Acquired by 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 HM 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
after Hans Memling (Seligenstadt 1430/40 – Bruges 1494), original artist
Face to Face: Flanders, Florence, and Renaissance Painting, The Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens, California, USA, 2013, no.25
Face to Face: Flanders, Florence, and Renaissance Painting, The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, San Marino, California
28 September 2013 - 13 January 2014 , Plate 25, pp.77