Samuel Cooper, Philip Herbert (1584–1650), 4th Earl of Pembroke and 1st Earl of Montgomery, wearing black robes and lace edged falling collar

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Lot 27
Samuel Cooper, Philip Herbert (1584–1650), 4th Earl of Pembroke and 1st Earl of Montgomery, wearing black robes and lace edged falling collar

Sold for £ 40,800 (US$ 54,403) inc. premium
Samuel Cooper (British, c.1608-1672)
Philip Herbert (1584–1650), 4th Earl of Pembroke and 1st Earl of Montgomery, wearing black robes and lace edged falling collar.
Watercolour on vellum, signed on obverse with initials SC, original gold frame with pierced spiral cresting.
Oval, 50mm (1 15/16in) high


  • Philip was the younger son of Henry, 2nd Earl of Pembroke and his third wife Mary Sidney. He first attended court in April 1600 and four years later married Lady Susan De Vere, daughter of Edward 17th Earl of Oxford. They had an elaborate ceremony attended by King James I who gave them lands to the value of £1500 a year.

    Philip became a favourite of James I and the Earl of Clarendon later wrote that the young Philip Herbert "had the good fortune, by the comeliness of his person, his skill and indefatigable industry in hunting, to be the first who drew the King's eyes towards him with affection". James bestowed a quick succession of honours on his young protegé and willingly cleared his extensive debts in 1606-7. Despite this royal favour, Herbert was gaining a reputation for his bad behaviour and fighting. None of this had any effect on the King's affections and he continued to give Herbert further titles and offices. Towards the end of his life James recommended Herbert to his son Charles, who appointed him to accompany his bride-to-be Henrietta Maria from Paris to England and then had him carry the spurs at his coronation as Charles I in 1626.

    In 1629 Herbert's wife died and the following year he married Anne, daughter of George, 3rd Earl of Cumberland and widow of Richard, 3rd Earl of Dorset. The same year Herbert became 4th Earl of Pembroke, following his brother's death. With this came a large income, estimated at £30,000 a year which enabled him to live lavishly, both in London and at Wilton House in Wiltshire. Like Charles I, Herbert loved the Arts and was a great patron to Sir Anthony Van Dyck and was active as a literary patron. He received dedications in over forty publications and with his brother a further ten, of which the most important was as "the incomparable pair of brethren" to whom the first folio of Shakespeare's work was dedicated in 1623.

    Herbert's relationship with Charles was not a smooth as that which he had maintained with his father. He was disliked by Henrietta Maria and his religious tendencies were at odds with those of the King. From 1640 he became more alienated from the court but wielded considerable electoral influence due to his offices and extensive lands. He was involved in the trial of the Earl of Strafford (see lot 18) and offended Charles by announcing to the anti-Strafforidan demonstrators that they would get the speedy execution that they wanted. For Charles, this was the final straw and soon after he demanded Herbert's resignation, which ended his connections with the court.

    From 1642, Herbert became more allied to Parliament as a result of his alientation from the court, his religious views and the fact that his great rivals for local dominance in Wiltshire, the Seymours had chosen to become Royalists. He was however still moderate in his politics and was used as a negotiator between King and Parliament and successfully managed to sit on the fence throughout the years of the Civil war. Despite his changeable political associations, Herbert remained trusted within the Houses of Parliament and was appointed to a number of important positions. In the Autumn of 1648 he was among the commissioners appointed to negotiate the Treaty of Newport followed by the Denbigh initiative. Cromwell was keen to culivate Herbert's support and in 1648 he was appointed Constable of Windsor Castle which effectively made him the King's gaoler. However when he was appointed to the high court of justice to try the king, he reportedly "swore he loved not to meddle with businesses of life and death and (for his part) hee would neither speake against the ordinance nor consent to it". Despite this prevarication he was still appointed a member of the newly established council of state in 1649, but months later he became ill and died at his Westminster lodgings in January 1650. He was buried at Salisbury Cathedral.

    The present lot would appear to date to the period just after Samuel Cooper had established himself as a miniaturist in his own right having ended his partnership with his uncle John Hoskins. Like Herbert, Cooper successfully maintained supporters in both camps during the Civil War. Similar in pose to Cooper's self-portrait of 1644-5 (see Graham Reynolds, The Sixteenth and Seventeenth Century Miniatures in the Collection of Her Majesty the Queen, p.129, no.106) the present lot shows Cooper's unsurpassed ability to show his sitters as living persons.
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