Michael Dahl (Stockholm 1659-1743 London) Portrait of Charles Montagu, 1st Earl of Halifax (1661-1715), 218.5 x 144 cm. (86 x 56¾ in.)

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Lot 19
Michael Dahl
(Stockholm 1659-1743 London)
Portrait of Charles Montagu, 1st Earl of Halifax (1661-1715), 218.5 x 144 cm. (86 x 56¾ in.)

Sold for £ 8,400 (US$ 11,198) inc. premium
Michael Dahl (Stockholm 1659-1743 London)
Portrait of Charles Montagu, 1st Earl of Halifax (1661-1715), standing full-length, in the robes of the Order of the Garter
oil on canvas
218.5 x 144 cm. (86 x 56¾ in.)

Footnotes

  • The present portrait would have been commissioned from Michael Dahl circa 1714 when the sitter was created a Knight of the Garter. Variants of the portrait by Dahl with the sitter's arms and hands in identical pose, but three-quarter-length and wearing only the sash of the Garter, are known: in the Bank of England; Christie's 4th May 1962, lot 7 and Christie's, 28th June, 1946, lot 116 (NPG reference 4144). Only the present portrait depicts Halifax full-length in the Garter robes with their full regalia.

    Charles Montagu, First Earl of Halifax, was Chancellor of the Exchequer 1694-99 and First Lord of the Treasury, 1697-99 and 1714-15. Born at Horton, Northamptonshire into an already prominent family, he was educated at Westminster and later at Trinity College, Cambridge. After completing his degree Montagu became a fellow of Trinity College, and soon gained a reputation as a literary wit after publishing his satire, The Country Mouse and the City Mouse, in 1687, in collaboration with Mathew Prior, a subtle tract parodying John Dryden's recently published The Hind and the Panther. He was elected as M.P for Malden in 1689, and later under the Whig ascendancy of the 1690s, he attained high political office where his achievements included the instigation of the National Debt in 1692 by proposing to raise a million pounds by life annuities; and establishing the Bank of England in a bill that came into effect in 1694. In 1700 he was created Baron Halifax, a title that was raised to Earl in 1714, as well as being created Viscount Sunbury and given the Garter knighthood. A President of the Royal Society between 1695-98, he was a close friend of Sir Isaac Newton, whom he met originally at Trinity College, and whom he appointed Master of the Royal Mint after first coming to power. Newton was so fond of him that he kept a portrait of him in his room. It was through Newton that Halifax met the great scientist's niece, Catherine Barton, who also acted as Newton's housekeeper. By 1703 Halifax and Catherine Barton were lovers and the two probably lived together at his London house.
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