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The Somerset House Conference, 1604

1 of 5 portraits of Henry Howard, 1st Earl of Northampton

The Somerset House Conference, 1604, by Unknown artist, 1604 - NPG 665 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

The Somerset House Conference, 1604

by Unknown artist
oil on canvas, 1604
81 in. x 105 1/2 in. (2057 mm x 2680 mm)
Purchased, 1882
Primary Collection
NPG 665

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This group portrait commemorates the peace treaty between England and Spain in 1604 which brought an end to a war which had dragged on for almost twenty years. It may well record the appearance of the room in Old Somerset House where the negotiations were held. On the left are the members of the Hispano-Flemish delegation, on the right, the English commissioners. Between 20 May and 16 July 1604, eighteen conference sessions were held at Somerset House, and the treaty was signed on 16 August. Although it apparently bears the signature of the Spanish painter Juan Pantoja de la Cruz, this painting also bears an impossible date. It is generally thought that both signature and the date are false and that it is by a hitherto unidentified Flemish artist. It may be associated with John De Critz the Elder, whose paintings were probably the source for the portraits of Robert Cecil and Thomas Sackville.

Related worksback to top

  • NPG 5289: Sir Roy Strong (includes the portrait)
  • NPG x12533: Sir Roy Strong (includes the portrait)
  • NPG D23070: Charles Blount, Earl of Devonshire (appears within the portrait)

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