2 of 14 portraits of John Fletcher
by Unknown artist
oil on oak panel, circa 1620
36 1/8 in. x 28 in. (918 mm x 710 mm)
Purchased with help from the Portrait Fund, the Art Fund, L.L. Brownrigg, Sir Harry Djanogly, Laurence Chase, the Garfield Weston Foundation, the Fletcher tearooms at Rye, E.A. Whitehead, the Dame Helen Gardner Bequest, Mrs A. Campbell, the Pidem Fund, proceeds of the 150th anniversary portrait gala, and numerous supporters of a public appeal, 2008
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This portraitback to top
This is the only known portrait of Fletcher from life. The verse written on the paper beside him pays a compliment to his wit and expresses conventional sentiments about the inability of painting, as opposed to poetry, to convey the mind of the sitter.
Events of 1620back to top
Current affairsThe beginning of a severe economic depression in England is widely blamed on the East India Company whose export of bullion on each voyage financed their trade. Additionally, despite efforts by Lionel Cranfield, Earl of Middlesex, to reduce the royal household's expenditure, James I's debt is historically high.
Art and scienceFrancis Bacon publishes his major philosophical work Novum Organum, which presents his account of the correct method of acquiring natural knowledge using inductive reasoning. Inventor and mechanical engineer, Cornelis Drebbel builds an early type of submarine which he demonstrates on the Thames.
InternationalThe Catholic League's invasion of Bohemia and victory at the battle of the White Mountain, forces Frederick V, king of Bohemia and his family into exile in the Hague, after less than a year reigning.The Pilgrim Fathers sail for America in the 'Mayflower', escaping religious persecution in England.
See this portrait
On display in Room 4 at the National Portrait Gallery
Exhibitions and displays
- Framing the Face: Collars and Ruffs
Until 31 December
- Portrait of the Day: Augustus Pugin
19 December, 12:30