FOLLOWER OF GILBERT JACKSON
PORTRAIT OF JAMES BOEVEY, AGED 11, FULL LENGTH IN A GREEN DOUBLET AND HOSE, HOLDING A GLOVE, BY A TABLE WITH AN OPEN BOOK IN A CURTAINED INTERIOR
Oil on canvas (in an 18th century frame)
Dated 'AN.O DOM: 1634/AETATIS SUAE II' with identifying inscription
146 x 99cm (57¼ x 38¾ in.)
Possibly commissioned by Andreas Boevey (1566-1625), and by descent at Flaxley Abbey, Gloucestershire, until sold Flaxley Abbey, Gloucestershire: Catalogue of the Valuable Contents, Bruton, Knowles & Co., 29 March - 5 April 1960, lot 1295
Bought by Mr and Mrs Frederick Baden-Watkins and thence by descent at Flaxley Abbey
Compiled by: Arthur W. Crawley-Boevey, 'The Perverse Widow': Being Passages from the Life of Catharina, wife of William Boevey, Esq., London, 1898, p. 37.
Arthur W. Crawley-Boevey, A Brief Account of the Antiquities, Family Pictures and Other Notable Articles at Flaxley Abbey, co. Gloucester , Bristol, 1912, pp. 11-12, no. 2.
J. Lees-Milne, 'Flaxley Abbey, Gloucestershire - III: The Home of Mr. and Mrs. F.B. Watkins', Country Life, 12 April 1973, p. 982, fig. 5, The Morning Room.
This full-length painting is a companion piece to lot 51, Joanna Boevey (1605-64), aged 11, daughter of Andreas Boevey (1566-1625) and his first wife, Esther Fenne. This portrait probably depicts James Boevey (1622-96), Joanna's half-brother, son of Andreas and his second wife, Joanna (née de Wilde). The two portraits were probably painted to mark the children's coming of age when they were eleven.
James, merchant and philosopher, was, in later life, only five feet tall, 'slenderly built with extremely black hair curled at the ends, an equally black beard, and the darkest of eyebrows hovering above dark but sprightly hazel eyes' ( com accessed 14 June 2022). His early career was as a 'cashier' for the banker Dierik Hoste, and for the Spanish ambassador in London, while in the employ of the Dutch financier Sir William Courten. A known figure in Restoration London, Samuel Pepys described him as: 'a solicitor and a lawyer and a merchant altogether who hath travelled very much; did talk some things well, only he is a Sir Positive; but talk of travel over the Alps very fine' (Pepys, 9.206). Although his writings on 'Active Philosophy' were never published, they circulated widely amongst his friends and acquaintances. In 1642, James Boevey and his half-brother, William, made a joint-purchase of Flaxley Abbey.
In 1912, it was argued that the painting was in fact a portrait of Abraham Clarke the Younger rather than James Boevey (A.W. Crawley-Boevey, A Brief Account of the Antiquities, Family Pictures and Other Notable Articles at Flaxley Abbey, co. Gloucester , Bristol, 1912, pp. 11-12, no. 2). This was based on a discrepancy between the date of the painting and the age of the sitter - in 1634, Joanna Clarke's son (née Boevey), Abraham the Younger, born in 1623, was aged 11 while his uncle and Joanna's half-brother, James, born in 1622, would have been 12 years old when the portrait was painted. In the 'old Flaxley List', the painting was recorded as 'Mr. Clarke' and attributed to Van Dyck. However, in retrospect, it seems more likely that Andreas Boevey would have commissioned a portrait of his children, Joanna and James. The Van Dyck attribution seems unlikely if he is to be credited with the companion portrait of Joanna, painted in 1616, as Van Dyck did not arrive in England until 1620 ( ibid. ).
A 19th-century copy of this portrait was painted and published in Crawley-Boevey, A.W.C., The Perverse Widow, Being Passages from the Life of Catharina, Wife of William Boevey, 1898, p. 34.
Overall in good condition. Canvas has been relined and mounted on a later stretcher, providing good support. A layer of surface dirt and discolouration of the varnish. A few areas of very fine craquelure. Some abrasions around the edges from contact with the frame.
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