2 of 13 portraits of John Evelyn
by Robert Walker
oil on canvas, 1648
34 5/8 in. x 25 1/4 in. (879 mm x 641 mm)
Purchased with help from The Art Fund, the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Dame Helen Gardner Bequest, 1992
Click on the links below to find out more:
Sitterback to top
- John Evelyn (1620-1706), Diarist and virtuoso. Sitter associated with 13 portraits, Artist associated with 2 portraits.
Artistback to top
- Robert Walker (1599-1658), Painter. Artist associated with 130 portraits, Sitter in 3 portraits.
This portraitback to top
Evelyn records in his Diary that he sat to Walker on 1 July 1648, and that his portrait was intended to accompany a treatise on marriage which he had written for his young wife Mary Browne. The portrait originally showed him holding a miniature or medal of his wife. The skull was substituted some years later, with the Greek motto (top) signifying: 'Repentance is the beginning of Wisdom', and the quotation in Latin from Seneca on the importance of preparing for death.
Linked publicationsback to top
- Audio Guide
- Ingamells, John, Later Stuart Portraits 1685-1714, 2009, p. 87
- Jordanova, Ludmilla, Defining Features: Scientific and Medical Portraits 1660-2000, 2000 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 14 April to 17 September 2000), p. 12
- Ollard, Richard, Character Sketches: Samuel Pepys and His Circle, 2000, p. 40
- Saumarez Smith, Charles, The National Portrait Gallery: An Illustrated Guide, 2000, p. 61
- Saumarez Smith, Charles, The National Portrait Gallery, 1997, p. 61
- Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 211
- Various contributors, National Portrait Gallery: A Portrait of Britain, 2014, p. 84
Exhibitions and displays
- Hidden: An unseen portrait of Oliver Cromwell
Until 19 October