Piper: Dudley Carleton, 1st Viscount Dorchester (1574-1632)

Extract from an out-of-print National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue, David Piper, Catalogue of 17th-century portraits in the National Portrait Gallery, 1625-1714, Cambridge, 1963, pp.108-9. Subject to funding, it is hoped to make the full text of this catalogue available online.

Dudley Carleton, 1st Viscount Dorchester (1574-1632)
Diplomat. Educated at Westminster and Christ Church, Oxford, he entered Gray's Inn, and sat in the Parliament 1604-11. He was successively ambassador to Venice (1610); the United Provinces (1616), where he had the duty of providing entertainment for the exiled Queen of Bohemia, the daughter of James I; and France (1625), where he joined Richelieu in his endeavours to stop the war between England and France. In 1628 he was recalled, made a Viscount, and appointed Secretary of State. As a minister he supported Buckingham, whose assassination he witnessed, and showed a great knowledge of foreign affairs, but he had little influence at home. A well-known art connoisseur, he was a friend of the painter Rubens. He died a poor man, 'having gained nothing but a barren honour from his lifelong services'.

3684 by Michiel Jansz van Miereveldt, circa 1620
Panel (oak), 25 x 19 3/4 in. (635 x 502 mm), short half-length to right; very dark hair brushed back from his forehead; trimmed point beard and moustache fairer in colour; grey eyes looking at the spectator; gold neckchain, fluted lace ruff, black figured doublet with sleeves elaborately embroidered with gold.

Collections: Said to have come from the collection of Prince Koudacheff; presented by Mrs Harry Burton, February 1950, in memory of her husband, Harry Burton.

This portrait-type was engraved by W.J. Delff with the date 1620 (copied by Sturt for Ward's History of the Rebellion, 1713, and by Rivers for Walpole's Royal and Noble Authors, 1803). A version appeared in the A.W.M. Mensing sale (F. Müller, 28 May 1918, lot 171), and the portrait sent to Sir T. Roe in Constantinople in 1622 was perhaps of the same type (Vertue, Notebooks, vol.4, p.188). No signature is visible, though the work is of good quality; possibly a replica.

110 from the studio of Michiel Jansz van Miereveldt (1625)
Panel (oak), 25 x 21 in. (635 x 533 mm), half-length to right, wearing black figured satin doublet and falling ruff; very dark brown hair receding from the forehead, moustache and small pointed beard; grey-blue eyes looking at the spectator; dark background, lit from the left.

Inscribed by his shoulder on the left: Ætatis 52/ Ao 1625. An old inscription on the back: Lord Carleton/ Painted by/ C. Janssens 162(?).

Collections: Presented by Felix Slade, November 1860; earlier history unknown.

Probably studio work; a version signed by Miereveldt, dated 1628, belongs to Mr John Carleton; other versions are in the Bacon collection, Raveningham, and in the Musée de Ghent. This is probably the type represented in Miereveldt's inventory, 1641, no.48 (no doubt the pattern for replicas). Whole-lengths based on this portrait are at Christ Church, Oxford (Poole, vol.3, p.21, no.53; repr. pl. III) and in the collection (1944) of D. Minlore.

Listed by A.J. Finberg as by Johnson, Walpole Society, vol.10 (1922), no.16, pl. XI; H. Harvard, M. van Miereveldt (1894), p.112 (wrongly identifying this type with that engraved by Delff).

Abbreviations
Poole  Mrs R.L. Poole, Catalogue of Portraits in the Possession of the University, Colleges, City and County of Oxford, 3 vols. (1912-25).
Vertue  The Notebooks of George Vertue relating to artists and collections in England, published by the Walpole Society, 7 vols (1930-55).