Henry Percy, 9th Earl of Northumberland KG (1564-1632), 'The Wizard Earl'
Sir Anthony Van Dyck (Antwerp 1599 - London 1641)
Art / Oil paintings
Oil on canvas
1370 x 1200 mm
Petworth House and Park, West Sussex (Accredited Museum)
Oil painting on canvas, Henry Percy, 9th Earl of Northumberland KG (1564-1632), 'The Wizard Earl' by Sir Anthony Van Dyck (Antwerp 1599 - London 1641), 1635. A three-quarter-length posthumous portrait, seated, full face, with his right elbow on a table, his head on his hand. He is wearing a deep brown mantle, with a green lined collar and gold laced sleeves. His elbow rests on a sheet of paper with diagrams and explanations of Euclidian geometry (a treatise of Archimedes) on the red table cover, with a casket to the left and a golden curtain behind his head with a column to the right. An elaborate clock, perhaps alluding to his time in prison, can be seen at the left back. Algernon Pery,10th Earl of Northumberland spent the formative years of his youth with his father, who had been accused of involvement in the Gunpowder Plot, in the Tower of London and commissioned this portrait after his death. Thw 'Wizard Earl' associated himslef with leading scientists of the day, including the astronomer Thomas Harriot, whose 1609-10 drawings of the moon's surface at Petworth predate Galileo.
Commissioned posthumously by thesitter's son, 10th Earl of Northumberland (1602-1668) and recorded at Suffolk House on 27 December 1652. In 1655 it was put into a new ebony frame and glazed. At Northumberland House on 30 June 1671 and mentioned at Petworth in the 6th Duke of Somerset's collection c.1730. 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.
Marks and inscriptions
DIS...QUID.../VERO AD.../RATIO GRAVIO.../EADEM SIT DISTANTIA/GRAVE APPEN/DITUR/AD DISTANTIA.../IN QUA GRAVIUS FIET AEQVILIBRIVM (inscribed on the diagram) (what is the ratio of the distance of the heavier to the lighter weight ? If they are of the same distance .. then the weights must be equal. The weight is suspended at a distance at which the heavier one becomes balanced with it)
Makers and roles
Sir Anthony Van Dyck (Antwerp 1599 - London 1641), artist
Remastered - Bosch to Bellotto: An Exhibition of Petworth's European Old Masters (exh cat) (Andrew Loukes) Petworth House, West Sussex, 9 January - 6 March 2016, cat. 47, p. 16