George Gower, Serjeant Painter

Rica Jones, Senior Conservator of Paintings, Tate

Making Art in Tudor Britain

Abstract of a paper presented at Tudor and Jacobean Painting: Production, Influences and Patronage
Funded by the British Academy and The Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art

The Tate Gallery owns two paintings that are firmly documented as being by George Gower, Sir Thomas Kytson and Lady Kytson, both of 1573. Examination has revealed that these portraits have some distinctive technical characteristics (as first reported in a paper I gave in Amsterdam in January 2009 at an ICN meeting on Tudor panels). This paper illustrates these characteristics and shows information and samples taken from other paintings that are either known to be by Gower or are attributed to him on stylistic grounds. The paper also discusses the interpretation of cross-sections and how far we can use technical information in the attribution of paintings.