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Dorothy, Lady Browne (née Mileham); Sir Thomas Browne

1 portrait of Dorothy, Lady Browne (née Mileham)

Dorothy, Lady Browne (née Mileham); Sir Thomas Browne, by Joan Carlile, circa 1641-1650 -NPG 2062 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Early Stuart Portraits Catalogue

Dorothy, Lady Browne (née Mileham); Sir Thomas Browne

attributed to Joan Carlile
circa 1641-1650
7 1/4 in. x 9 in. (184 mm x 229 mm)
NPG 2062

This portraitback to top

Justly assessed by Piper as the 'earliest and liveliest portrait of Browne'. The identities were reasonably established in 1923 by Tildesley, following her close examination of Browne’s skull which was found to agree with Browne’s head as seen in NPG 2062. Dated according to the apparent ages of the sitters; Browne married in 1641 when his bride was twenty and he thirty-five, and his reputation as a writer had been established by 1650; [1] details of costume and hairstyle would confirm a date in the 1640s. The only known portrait of Dorothy Browne, who bore twelve children, of whom only four survived their parents.
The attribution to Carlile, first tentatively proposed by R. W. Goulding in 1924, [2] seems supported by comparison with the wide-eyed heads in her authenticated portraits of Figures at a Stag Hunt (Lamport) and Group including Sir Lionel Tollemache (Helmingham). [3] Possible connections between Carlile and Browne, primarily through Thomas Knyvett of Norfolk, were closely examined by Toynbee in 1957. [4]

Footnotesback to top

1) See G. Keynes, A Bibliography of Sir Thomas Browne, 2nd ed., 1968, p 51.
2) R. W. Goulding, letter to Francis Wellesley, dated 10 Jan. 1924 (on file).
3) Illus. Burl. Mag., XCVI, 1954, pp 275-77, illus. p 274, figs.7 & 8.
4) M. Toynbee, Norfolk Archaeology, XXXI, iv, 1957, pp 377-94.

Referenceback to top

Tildesley 1923
Miriam L. Tildesley, ‘Sir Thomas Browne: His Skull, Portraits, and Ancestry’, Biometrika, XV, 1923, front., p 76bis (as the L’Estrange Portrait from the collection of Hammond Le Strange of Hunstanton, – a statement corrected in an erratum by Karl Pearson).

Toynbee and Isham 1954
M. Toynbee and G. Isham, Burl. Mag., XCVI, 1954, pp 274, fig.6, 277.

Piper 1963
D. Piper, Catalogue of the Seventeenth Century Portraits in the National Portrait Gallery 1625-1714, 1963, p 38.

Conservationback to top

Cleaned 1923 and 1984. Edges worn; slight retouching.

Provenanceback to top

Charles Allix,1 Swaffham Prior House sale, October 1922 (as Van Dyck, Charles I and his Queen); J. Wordingham, dealer, Norwich, from whom bt. by Francis Wellesley;2 purchased 1924.

1 The Allix family had owned Swaffham Prior Manor since 1751.
2 Illus. as front. to G. Keynes, A Bibliography of Sir Thomas Browne, 1924 as in a private collection.

Exhibitionsback to top

Browne 300, Sir Thomas Browne, His Family and Friends, Castle Museum, Norwich, 1982 (10); Family & Friends, Norwich, 1992, no.24.

This extended catalogue entry is by John Ingamells, one of a limited number of entries drafted in 2010 for the incomplete catalogue, Early Stuart Portraits 1625-1685, and is as written then. For the most up-to-date details on individual Collection works, we recommend reading the information provided in the Search the Collection results on this website in parallel with this text.

View all known portraits for Sir Thomas Browne


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