Old Master Paintings
5 Jul 2017
London, New Bond Street

A recently discovered work, Portrait of Thomas Pope, by the English portrait painter William Larkin, features at Bonhams Old Master Paintings sale in London on Wednesday 5 July. It is estimated at £40,000-60,000.

Thomas Pope (1598-1667/68) was born and educated in Oxfordshire. Despite changing sides during the political turbulence of mid-17th century England, Pope not only survived, but prospered. He was first imprisoned during the English Civil War by the Royalists, who were loyal to King Charles I. Many years later, he was held in connection with a plot to restore the monarchy, when England was under the Protectorate of Oliver Cromwell.

Pope, later 3rd Earl of Downe, was a member of a distinguished English family. One of his forebears, also named Thomas Pope, founded Trinity College Cambridge in 1556, and his direct descendent, Lord North, was Prime Minister of Great Britain from 1770-1782. Several generations of the family have served as MPs.

William Larkin (1580-1619) was a portrait painter to the Court of James I, and is renowned for his sumptuous treatment of Jacobean high fashion with its emphasis on ostentation and opulence. After his death in 1619, Larkin dropped out of sight, and although his name appeared in records and correspondence, it was not until the 1950s that works were definitely attributed to him. In the 1960s, the art historian Roy Strong demonstrated that the painter, previously known only as the 'Curtain Master', was in fact Larkin, and some 40 portraits are now identified as Larkin's work.

Bonhams' Director of Old Master Paintings Andrew McKenzie said, Pope "With both its wistful depiction of youthful promise combined with a technically accomplished rendition of elegant costume, Larkin's portrait of Thomas Pope represents this rare early English artist at his very best."


For further information and images call Laura Watts on +44 (0) 20 7468 8210, or email laura.watts@bonhams.com or press@bonhams.com.


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