Unknown man, formerly known as Richard Hooker

1 portrait

Unknown man, formerly known as Richard Hooker, by Unknown artist, 16th century? - NPG 844 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Unknown man, formerly known as Richard Hooker

by Unknown artist
oil on panel, 16th century?
20 1/8 in. x 13 in. (511 mm x 330 mm)
Given by John Neale Dalton, 1890
Primary Collection
NPG 844


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  • Richard Hooker (1554-1600), Theologian and philosopher. Sitter associated with 17 portraits.

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This unusual object has rarely been displayed. It was given to the Gallery in 1890 when it was thought to be a portrait of the Protestant theologian Richard Hooker. The identity of the sitter is unknown but it is probably a Dutch or Flemish patron The composition on the other side was originally thought to be a fragment from an earlier painting that had been broken up and then reused in order to make the portrait. Re-examination of the portrait has shown that both sides of the wooden panel support were painted at the same time. Given the subject matter of the composition, which relates to resurrection, and the pose of the sitter, it seems most likely that this panel once formed the wing or door of a small triptych altarpiece. The monochrome painting would have been visible on the front of the altarpiece when it was closed. When opened, the sitter in the portrait would have faced towards a central composition depicting a subject such as the Crucifixion. The hinged panel would probably have been mirrored by a portrait of another donor on the other wing.

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