- Museum number
- Series: The Countesses
Portrait of Elizabeth, Countess of Castlehaven, three-quarter length, facing front, her right hand on the chest, wearing a silk dress, in an ornate frame; first state before all lettering; after Van Dyck
- Production date
Height: 350 millimetres
Width: 259 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- For an impression of the second state see 1868,0822.846.
The portrait is based on Van Dyck's painting, now kept in Wilton House, Wiltshire, see S. Barnes, N. de Poorter, O. Millar and H. Vey, 'Van Dyck: A Complete Catalogue of the Paintings', Yale & London, 2004, cat.no.IV.42.
(Text from Antony Griffiths, 'The Print in Stuart Britain', BM 1998, cat. 119: see also entry for cat.120, under P,3.350)
Lombart's most famous work was the series of twelve portraits after van Dyck that he engraved around 1660, often known as the 'Countesses' from the Latin of their titles. Mariette in his entry on Lombart in his Abecedario stated that this set alone would suffice to place him 'au rang des premiers graveurs'. All twelve plates are the same size, and show three-quarter-length figures, ten women and two men, in 15mm wide borders that imitate frames of the period. Walpole described them as 'too well known to be particularised', but the complete list is not easily accessible (though see now New Hollstein, van Dyck, nos.250-261). It is given here with references to Oliver Millar's catalogue of the paintings of Van Dyck, of 2004. The women were Anne Carr, Countess of Bedford (IV.22); Lucy, Countess of Carlisle (IV.38); Margaret, Countess of Carlisle (later Manchester) (IV.39); Anna Sophia, Countess of Carnarvon; Elizabeth, Countess of Castlehaven (IV.42); Elizabeth, Countess of Devonshire (IV.90); Rachel, Countess of Middlesex (a title she gained on her re-marriage in 1655) (IV.A4); Penelope, Lady Herbert (IV.A28); Dorothy Sidney, Countess of Sunderland (IV.223); and Elizabeth, Countess of Morton (IV.A24). The two men were Henry Howard, Earl of Arundel (IV.12), and Philip Herbert, Earl of Pembroke (IV.185).
Four of the paintings that he copied were in Northumberland House in London, for which they had been commissioned from van Dyck by the 10th Earl of Northumberland (see Jeremy Wood in 'Van Dyck 350', Washington 1994, pp.281-324), of which most are today in Petworth. Presumably the paintings Lombart used for the rest of the set were also available to him in London.
The impression shown here is one of two proofs before letter in the British Museum, the other being of the Countess of Middlesex (1927,1008.374, ex-Masterman Sykes). The issuing of proofs before letter was virtually unheard of in British print publication at this date, although long established on the Continent. The importing of this practice is a sign of the dignity and standing that Lombart wished to give his series. Another sign is the existence of impressions on a most unusual superfine, almost tissue, paper: examples are to be found in the Bute Granger (eg. IX 47 and 50).
It is curious that Lombart never had any link with Lely, and never engraved any of his female portraits made in the tradition of van Dyck.
(Supplement) See Simon Turner in 'Van Dyck and Britain' Tate 2009, cat.105. The plates were frequently republished in London. The set was advertised by Simon Gribelin in the 'London Gazette' for 25 November 1708, as being 'very proper to adorn rooms, closets etc.'. They re-appeared in Boydell's catalogue for 1767 at a price of 1 shilling each or 8 s. for the set.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number