Thomas Howard, 14th Earl of Arundel
Thomas Howard, 14th Earl of Arundel
by Sir Peter Paul Rubens
oil on canvas, 1629
27 in. x 21 in. (686 mm x 533 mm)
Sitterback to top
- Thomas Howard, 14th Earl of Arundel, 4th Earl of Surrey and 1st Earl of Norfolk (1585-1646), Patron of art and collector. Sitter associated with 68 portraits.
Artistback to top
- Sir Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640), Painter. Artist or producer associated with 40 portraits, Sitter associated with 13 portraits.
This portraitback to top
This magnificent portrait of the Earl of Arundel shows him not only as a connoisseur- he acquired one of the most important seventeenth-century collections of painting and sculpture, but also with a certain braggadocio, as befitted his status as Earl Marshal. It was painted in 1629, when Rubens came to London as an emissary of Philip IV of Spain, and was a study for a larger three-quarter length portrait of him (now in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston, Massachusetts). As a sketch it has an exceptional liveliness in its characterisation of a man with a worldly and perhaps slightly cynical mind.
Related worksback to top
Linked publicationsback to top
- Audio Guide
- Smartify image discovery app
- Cooper, John, A Guide to the National Portrait Gallery, 2009, p. 19 Read entry
Rubens made this vivid portrait of Arundel while in London on a diplomatic mission. Dramatic lighting and strong textures define the celebrated connoisseur and collector.
- Cooper, John, Visitor's Guide, 2000, p. 31
- John Cooper, National Portrait Gallery Visitor's Guide, 2006, p. 31
- MacLeod, Catharine (preface, appreciation) Wilks, Timothy (introduction) Smuts, Malcolm (appreciation) MacGibbon, Rab (appendix), The Lost Prince: The Life and Death of Henry Stuart, 2012 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 18 October 2012 to 13 January 2013), p. 122
- Piper, David, The English Face, 1992, p. 72
- Piper, David, Catalogue of Seventeenth Century Portraits in the National Portrait Gallery, 1625-1714, 1963, p. 15
- Saumarez Smith, Charles, The National Portrait Gallery: An Illustrated Guide, 2000, p. 55
- Saumarez Smith, Charles, The National Portrait Gallery, 1997, p. 55 Read entry
The magnificent portrait of the Earl of Arundel shows him not only as a connoisseur - he acquired one of the most important seventeenth-century collections of paintings and sculpture - but also with a certain braggadocio, as befitted his status as Earl Marshal. It was painted in 1629, when Rubens came to London as an emissary of Philip IV of Spain, and was a study for a larger, three-quarter-length portrait of him (now in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston) As a sketch, it has an exceptional liveliness in its characterisation of a man with a worldly and perhaps slightly cynical mind.
- Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 19
- Various contributors, National Portrait Gallery: A Portrait of Britain, 2014, p. 77 Read entry
This outstanding portrait represents the most influential connoisseur of his age, Thomas Howard, Earl of Arundel. He was heir to one of the great noble families in England but at the time of his birth it had fallen into disrepute due to his father’s involvement in Catholic plots against Elizabeth I. The Arundel title was restored by James I, and Howard rose to become one of Charles I’s most trusted courtiers. His impact on English art was considerable; he owned the first major collection of classical antiquities in London and fostered the careers of the architect and theatre designer Inigo Jones, and the artists Wenceslaus Hollar and Anthony van Dyck.
This portrait was painted in 1629, when the Flemish painter Peter Paul Rubens (1577–1640) was in London on a diplomatic mission. It was also during this visit that Rubens began work on the monumental ceiling paintings for the Banqueting House, Whitehall. Rubens admired Arundel’s collections and, according to a letter to Arundel from his secretary, called him ‘one of the four evangelists, and a patron of our art’. This portrait focuses on the sitter’s imposing and dignified character. He wears the sash of the Order of the Garter and a glimmering suit of armour, befitting his status as Earl Marshal.
Linked displays and exhibitionsback to top
Events of 1629back to top
Current affairsIn Parliament, opponents of Charles I issue a protestation condemning his policies; Charles subsequently orders the Speaker, Sir John Finch, to adjourn Parliament, and after much turmoil, the House is dissolved. Charles I would now govern for eleven years without recourse to Parliament, known as his Personal Rule.
Art and scienceApothcary and herbalist, John Parkinson publishes Paradisi in sole paradisus terrestris, the first published book on British gardening, describing over 1000 plants. In dedicating it to the queen, Henrietta Maria, Parkinson is given the title, botanicus regius primarius by Charles I.
InternationalPhilip IV of Spain sends Dutch painter, Sir Peter Paul Rubens as
an emissary to open peace negotiations with England. His mission is hailed a success by both countries. While in England he painted several portraits, including Thomas Howard, Earl of Arundel.
The Treaty of Suza ends the Anglo-French conflict.
Watch our playlist exploring scientific techniques used by the Gallery to unlock the secrets behind our Tudor portraits.
Subjects and themes
Search the collection by themes - from pets to weddings!
Black History Month
Take a tour exploring our Collection created by Alayo Akinkugbe for Black History Month in 2020.
A Picture of Health
Learn about pioneers in medicine, health and social reform from 1840 to 1920.
- Icons and Identities: Shakespeare to Winehouse
Until 17 July
Tell us more
Framed & unframed prints
Choose your favourite portrait from our Collection as a framed or unframed print for your home.