Elizabeth Cornwallis, Mrs Edward Allen (d. 1708), as Diana the Huntress

Jacob Huysmans (Antwerp c.1630 – London 1696)
National Trust Inventory Number 494922

Category Paintings
Date 1662 (artist in England) - 1696
Materials Oil on canvas
Measurements 1275 x 1025 mm
Place of origin England
Collection Canons Ashby, Northamptonshire (Accredited Museum)
On show at Canons Ashby, Northamptonshire, Midlands, National Trust

This exuberant portrait was painted by a Flemish artist who came to England in 1662. Huysmans was patronised by the Catholic queen Catherine of Braganza (1638-1705), the wife of King Charles II, and her circle. He often painted court ladies as Diana, the virgin Roman goddess of the hunt and the moon, complete with her greyhounds, Syrius and Phocion, quiver, animal skin and a hunting spear. It reinforced the notion of the sitters’ beauty, purity and chaste virtue.

The star-studded collar on the dog in the foreground is also possibly a reference to the Virgin Mary who is seen with a crown of stars in depictions of the Immaculate Conception which was a popular Catholic religious image in the seventeenth century.

Elizabeth Cornwallis was the mother of Elizabeth Allen who married Edward Dryden, nephew of the Poet Laureate, Sir John Dryden.

Summary description

Oil painting on canvas, Elizabeth Cornwallis, Mrs Edward Allen (d. 1708), as Diana the Huntress by Jacob Huysmans (Antwerp c.1630 – London 1696). A three-quarter-length portrait of a young woman, wearing a blue dress with red wrap and leopard skin sash. Elaborate red and blue feather head dress. Accompanied by greyhounds, the one in the foreground with star studded collar and holding a hunting spear which refer to the virgin Roman goddess of the hunt and of the moon, and therefore night time, and reinforcing the notion of beauty, purity and chaste virtue of the sitter. It is also a reference to the Virgin Mary who is seen with a crown of stars in depictions of the Immaculate Conception which was a popular Catholic religious image. The Flemish artist came to England in 1662 and was patronised by the catholic queen Catherine of Braganza , the wife of King Charles II, and her circle. She is in a simlar pose to that of a portrait by Huysmans in Tate Britain, London (T00901).

Provenance

On loan from the Dryden Discretionary Settlement Trustees

Makers and roles

Jacob Huysmans (Antwerp c.1630 – London 1696), artist
attributed to John Michael Wright (London 1617 - London 1694), artist

Related items

Place of origin England (244935)
Materials Canvas (10037)
Giltwood (3923)
Oil paint (8292)
Category Paintings (12642)
Collection Canons Ashby, Northamptonshire (Accredited Museum) (3184)
Periods 17th century (32810)
Maker Jacob Huysmans (Antwerp c.1630 – London 1696) (48)
John Michael Wright (London 1617 - London 1694) (58)
Subjects Elizabeth Cornwallis, Mrs Edward Allen (d. 1708) (1)
Diana (Artemis) (47)
Object Type Oil painting (12274)

© National Trust Images © National Trust Collections Registered Charity No. 205846

Welcome to National Trust Collections. Our records are constantly being enhanced and improved, but please note that we cannot guarantee the accuracy of any information shown on this website. If you are planning a visit to see particular items in a National Trust Collection, please check information with the relevant Property first.