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Jan Gossaert (Jean Gossart), 'A Man holding a Glove'

Jan Gossaert (Jean Gossart)
A Man holding a Glove
Oil on oak panel, 25.0 x 17.4 cm, painted surface 24.3 x 16.8 cm

Provenance and exhibitions


Jan Gossaert, 'Man holding a glove'

fig.1 Detail from the reverse of NG946, CR brand of King Charles I
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Jan Gossaert, 'Man holding a glove'

fig.2 Detail from NG946, bottom right corner with inventory number
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The portrait was in the collection of Charles I, King of Great Britain, whose CR brand is on the reverse (fig.1). It can be identified in van der Doort’s catalogue of the king’s pictures as a ‘Mantua piece’ which hung in the Cabinet Room off the Privy Gallery in the Palace of Whitehall.1 It was therefore purchased by Charles I from Mantua and must have belonged to Vincenzo II Gonzaga (1594–1627), Duke of Mantua; but it has not been identified in the 1627 inventory of his collection.2It was presumably sold from the Royal Collection during the Commonwealth but it was recovered for Charles II and placed in the King’s Closet at Whitehall, which was apparently arranged to imitate Charles I’s Cabinet Room.3 It remained at Whitehall in the reign of James II4 but appears to have been moved to Kensington Palace by William III and in 1697 and 1700 to have been hanging on the staircase there.5 It was certainly among the pictures removed by William III (died 1702) to the United Provinces and it was included in a list drawn up by Alexander Stanhope in 1702 of ‘pictures which were carryed to Holland’.6 By 1712 it was in the palace of Het Loo,7 near Apeldoorn (west of Deventer and north of Arnhem), where it formed part of the estate of the Stadholder Johan Willem Friso, Prince of Orange (died 1711). In 1712–13 Robert Du Val, curator of the Stadholder's collections, drew up another list of pictures claimed as Crown property by Queen Anne. No. 88 was ‘Een dito [sc. Een Pourtrait van Holbeen]’ (a ditto [Portrait by Holbein]); and 'n88' is written in white in the lower-right corner of NG946 in a characteristic script found on other paintings included in Du Val's list (fig.2).8 It subsequently passed to Johan Willem Friso’s son Willem IV (died 1751) and to his son Willem V (deposed 1802, died 1806); and it was still at Het Loo in 1757.9

How and when it returned to England are not known but it belonged to William Wells (1760–1847) of Redleaf in Kent (Landseer’s friend and patron) and was sold with the rest of his collection at Christie’s on 12 May 1848 (40). It was bought by Evans for Scarisbrick: Charles Scarisbrick (1801–1860) of Scarisbrick Hall and Wrightington Hall in Lancashire. His collection was dispersed at Christie’s in May 1861. NG946 was sold on 12 May 1861 (456) to the dealer Emery. It was afterwards, probably by 1863, in the collection of Wynn Ellis (1790–1875). On 18 November 1875 he made a will bequeathing his collection to the National Gallery. NG946 was one of two pictures, both described as ‘Holbein. Portrait of a Gentleman’, which were then in the library of his residence at 30 Cadogan Square;10 it was among the paintings accepted by the Trustees in 1876.


Probably London BI 1863 (88);11 NG 1975 (15); Lisbon 1983; New York 2010–11 (60); NG 2011 (60).

Further Sections

1. 'A mantua peece. Item the Picture of an indifferent auncient Gentleman in a blac Capp standing at the right side of his head - in a grey Coney skin coullor’d furr’d gowne, and in his left hand a paire of gloves and wth his right hand - upon a Table being redd, in a woodden frame painted upon the right lighte.’ The measurements are given as 10 ½ x 8 in., 26.7 x 20.3 cm. See Millar 1958–60, p. 90 (73). ‘Painted upon the right lighte’ means that the light falls from the spectator’s left (ibid., p. xix). For the Cabinet Room, see Millar 1977, p. 47.

2. For the purchase of the Mantua pictures, see ibid., pp. 40–2; the 1627 inventory is printed in Luzio 1913.

3. Inventory of Charles II's pictures at Whitehall and Hampton Court, MS of c.1666–7 in the office of the Surveyor of The Queen's Pictures, Whitehall No. 346: ‘An olde man in a black cap & a furr’d gowne holding his gloves in his lefte hand’, measurements given as 9 x 7 in., 22.9 x 17.8 cm. For the King’s Closet, see Millar 1977, pp. 67–9.

4. BL, MS Harl. 1890, fol. 61v (510): ‘Holben. A mans head in a black Cap Gloves in his hand’; ‘A Catalogue of the Pictures, &c., Belonging to King James the Second’, London 1758, No. 680.

5. BL, MS Harl. 7025, A List of his Majestie’s Pictures as they are placed in Kensington House, 1697, fol. 193 (30): ‘Holben, A Mans head small life’; or (32): ‘Holben, A Man at ½ length with two hands’. BL, MS Harl. 5150, List of His Majesties Pictures as they are now Placed in Kensington House, 1700, fol. 10 (29): ‘Holben, Mans head Smal Life’; or (30): ‘Holben, A Mans head Small Life’; or (31): ‘Holben, Man ½ length with 2 hands’.

6. MS at Blenheim (transcript by Oliver Millar in the office of the Surveyor of The Queen's Pictures), No. 23: ‘A Small mans Head, with Gloves in his Hand, by Holben’. For a similar list in BL, MS Add. 61359, fols 80–1, and for a French translation sent to The Hague, see Brenninkmeyer-de Rooij et al. 1988, pp. 65–123. Alexander Stanhope (1638–1707) was Queen Anne's envoy to the States General.

7. 1712 valuation of Het Loo (43); ‘Een portret van Holben’ (Drossaers & Lunsingh Scheurleer 1974-6, vol. I, p. 697; Brenninkmeyer-de Rooij et al. 1988, p. 107); 1713 inventory of Het Loo, ‘in ’t cabinet van schilderijen’: ‘Een pourtrait van een persoon hebbende een handschoen in de hand, van Holbeen’ (Drossaers and Lunsingh Scheurleer 1974-6, vol. I, p. 679 [895]; Brenninkmeyer-de Rooij et al. 1988, p. 107).

8. Brenninkmeyer-de Rooij et al. 1988, pp. 53, 60, 107.

9. ‘Het schilderijcabinet … Een dito [sc. portrait] van Holbeen’, measurements given as 9 ½ x 6 ½ in., 24.1 x 16.5 cm’ (Drossaers and Lunsingh Scheurleer 1974–6, vol. II, p. 645 [118]; Brenninkmeyer-de Rooij et al. 1988, p. 107).

10. Extracts from the will, codicil and schedule in the NG archive, NG 5/193/1875.

11. As ‘Portrait of a Man. Holbein’, lent by Wynn Ellis; but he owned another picture (now NG947) which might have been so described.