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The first owners of NG1888

On 28 August 1568, Maximilien Morillon wrote to his patron Cardinal Granvelle to inform him that he had received from the executors of Pierre Damant, who died on 19 July 1568, various legacies, including ‘a small Virgin done by Jennin of Maubeuge, the one that you had copied by Pierre d’Argent’.29 If this was a small full-length ‘Virgin’, it might well have been NG1888. Pierre d’Argent was a young painter from Besançon who frequently copied pictures for Granvelle.30

Pierre Damant was by 1526 a trusted member of the household of Margaret of Austria and became in 1536 Keeper of the Crown Jewels, a post that he retained until his death.31 Damant may have obtained his picture from Gossart himself. Gossart had worked for Margaret in 1523 and apparently in 1526, when he painted his portrait of the children of Christian II of Denmark who were then living under Margaret’s care. It was probably Margaret who commissioned Gossart to paint their portrait.32 The picture bequeathed by Damant to Granvelle may have passed out of his possession in the 1570s, when his residences in Brussels and Mechlin were plundered and his goods were confiscated or auctioned.33 All that is known for certain is that by 1589 NG1888 was engraved by Crispijn de Passe, who was then living in Aachen or Cologne. There he engraved designs by Marten de Vos.34 The tracing on which he based his engraving of Gossart’s painting had probably been sent to him from the Low Countries.

Further Sections

29. ‘une petite Nostre Dame faicte par Jennin de Maubeuge que aultrefois aves faict copier par Pierre d’Argent’: see Piquard 1947–8, p. 140. Morillon (1517–1586) became in 1561 Granvelle’s First Vicar General in his Archdiocese of Mechlin.

30. Campbell and Dunkerton 1996, p. 173 and references (note 29).

31. Michelant 1871, 1872; Campbell and Dunkerton 1996, p. 173 and references (notes 26–28).

32. The portrait is in the Royal Collection: Campbell in Ainsworth et al. 2010, pp. 272–3.

33. Campbell and Dunkerton 1996, p. 173 and references (note 30).

34. Campbell and Dunkerton 1996, p. 173 and references (notes 32–34).