The Wrest Park Portrait


     This assessment replaces a previous essay written in 2007. In the interim, I have conducted considerably more research on the subject of portraiture of Lady Jane Grey, and that research has caused me to revise some of my opinions of those early days. The essay presented here is based on considerable additional research on this painting in particular, and the evidence led me in a somewhat different direction than expected.


Mary Nevill, Lady Dacre, circa 1545–1549
by Unknown Artist
Oil on wood panel
29 in. x 21.25 in.
Private Collection

     The London galleries of Philip Mould Ltd held an exhibition in 2007 entitled Lost Faces: Identity and Discovery in Tudor Royal Portraiture which included a painting on wood panel dating from the sixteenth century that included a painting on wood panel dating from the sixteenth century which was presented as potentially confirmable as an authentic likeness of Lady Jane Grey, England’s ‘Nine Days Queen’ of 1553.[1] The painting is often known among portraits of Jane Grey as the ‘Wrest Park Portrait’, a moniker derived from its being formerly held at Wrest Park House, a stately home in Bedfordshire owned since the thirteenth century by the Grey earls of Kent and their descendants. Despite the apparent connection to the Grey family, the identification of the sitter as Lady Jane is implausible. A careful review of the evidence indicates that the lady is actually Mary Nevill Fiennes, Lady Dacre (1524–1576).

     The Grey earls of Kent were just one branch of many in the ancient Grey family that included Lady Jane Grey. The closest common ancestor of both Lady Jane Grey and the Greys of Wrest Park was Reginald Grey, 3rd Baron Grey of Ruthyn, who died a century before Jane’s birth in 1536/7.[2] The Greys of Wrest Park stemmed from Reginald’s first wife, while Lady Jane’s family at Bradgate Park took Reginald’s second wife as their progenitor. Henry Grey, 12th Earl of Kent, descendant of Reginald’s first wife and owner of Wrest Park at the turn of the eighteenth century, purchased the portrait from the collection ‘Lady Dacre’ in 1701.[3]

     The Wrest Park portrait was already identified as a likeness of Lady Jane Grey prior to the sale of 1701. The seventeenth-century engraver Robert White had produced a line engraving of the painting in 1681, with some embellishment, for use as an illustration of Jane in Gilbert Burnet’s The History of the Reformation of the Church of England.[4] (below, left) Additionally, painted copies of the portrait were produced both late in the seventeenth century (below, right) and again in the eighteenth century for successive Earls of Stamford, each under identification as Jane Grey.[5] The Stamford copy at Enville Hall was, like the Wrest Park original, also engraved for use in book illustration. But unlike the earlier engraving by White, these later engravings reproduced the original more authentically, without creative enrichment of the sitter’s costume.[6] (below, right) The Wrest Park portrait, together with its later copies and engravings, has been thought for almost three and a half centuries to be an authentic depiction of Lady Jane Grey.

Called Lady Jane Dudley (née Grey)
by Robert White
line engraving, published 1681
10 in. x 6 3/8 in.
National Portrait Gallery, London


A lady called Lady Jane Grey
by English School
oil on canvas
29.5 in. x 23 in.
Dunham Massey Hall, Cheshire, UK
Lady Jane Grey
by Robert Cooper
line engraving, published 1824

     A careful study of the portrait and its history offers a more plausible identification for the lady, however. The first clue lies in the painting’s provenance. As noted in the catalogue for the Lost Faces exhibition, the work was acquired by the 12th Earl of Kent from the sale of the collection of ‘Lady Dacre.’[7] That ‘Lady Dacre’ was Dorothy North Lennard, second wife and widow of Richard Lennard, 13th Baron Dacre, whom she survived by sixty-eight years. At the time of her own death in 1698 at age 93, Lady Dacre claimed as her principal residences the Lennard estates of Herstmonceux Castle in Sussex and Chevening House in Kent, plus the Barrett estate of Belhus (or Belhouse) in Essex.[8] Dorothy, Lady Dacre divided her time between those three houses and others of the Lennard and Barrett estates.

     Upon the death of Dorothy’s only son Richard Lennard Barrett in 1696, an inventory was taken of his estate at Belhus. The inventory includes a separate listing of the personal property belonging to Richard’s surviving mother. Dorothy’s own collection of paintings held at just that one house numbered 49, though that was essentially only a secondary residence.
[9] No complete inventory for Herstmonceux Castle or Chevening House taken during Dorothy’s lifetime survives, so that it is not possible today to itemize the portraits in her larger collection.[10] It is known, however, that the combined collections at Herstmonceux, Chevening, and Belhus included a large number of Dacre ancestral portraits.[11]

     The Lennard-Dacre family portraits were often moved about between owners and their estates during the second half of the seventeenth century, which was a tumultuous period for the family. Intermarriages, intra-family feuds, and numerous lawsuits pitting mother against son or brother against sister resulted in the collection changing hands often.
[12] Dorothy remarried in 1650, for example, taking as her second husband Sir Chaloner Chute. She reportedly removed to her husband’s Hampshire seat, The Vyne, many of the Lennard family portraits, particularly those dating to the sixteenth century.[13] Chute died within months of the marriage, but the portraits initially remained at The Vyne. Sixteen years later, however, Dorothy became guardian of her Chute grandchildren (her own daughter Catherine had married Chute’s son) and trustee over The Vyne.[14] She thereupon returned her collection to her own houses, though copies of some of the paintings were made to leave behind at The Vyne, where they remain today.[15] Other portraits were carried away from the Lennard-Barrett estates when daughters married, only to be returned years later by means of re-purchase.[16] Finally, Dorothy herself ordered the removal of ‘certain pictures’ from Belhus to her London residence in Bedford Walk near Gray’s Inn in May 1696, just days after her son’s death.[17] This last move seems to have been in anticipation of the acrimonious lawsuit that pitted herself, her grandson Dacre Barrett, and several of her granddaughters each against the other for control over the estate of the deceased Richard Lennard Barrett. Dorothy no doubt wished to protect what she regarded as her personal property from being embroiled in the looming litigation and from potentially being seized from her.[18] It is likely that the identifications for the sitters in some of the Lennard-Barrett portraits were lost or changed as a result of any of these removals from their original context.

     One example of an early misidentification of a Lennard-Barrett family portrait has particular relevance to this study. By the time of Dorothy’s death in 1698, the sitters depicted in that portrait had become identified as Frances Brandon Grey, Duchess of Suffolk and her second husband, Adrian Stokes.
[19] (below) Frances Grey was, of course, the mother of Jane Grey, so that the Dacre collection thus included at least two portraits thought to depict members of the Grey family. At first glance, it might seem odd that the Dacres would claim to own portraits from a family to which they had no obvious connection. Yet a connection did exist, albeit a very remote one. Dorothy’s husband’s grandfather, Sampson Lennard, had married Margaret Fiennes, suo jure 11th Baroness Dacre, while Sampson’s sister Rachel had married Edward Nevill, 8th Baron Bergavenny. The daughter of Edward and Rachel Nevill (Sampson’s niece), Elizabeth Nevill, married Sir John Grey sometime before 1600. Sir John was in turn the grandson of Jane Grey’s uncle and of Frances Grey’s brother-in-law, Sir John Grey of Pirgo. The barons Dacre of the seventeenth century were thus distant cousins in the female line of the Greys of Bradgate Park.


Mary Nevill, Lady Dacre and Gregory Fiennes, 10th Baron Dacre
(formerly called Frances Brandon Grey, Duchess of Suffolk and her second husband, Adrian Stokes)
by Hans Eworth
oil on panel, 1559
19 3/4 in. x 28 1/8 in.
National Portrait Gallery, London

     The question arises as to how or why the Lennards would misidentify the sitters in two portraits as very distant cousins when they actually depicted direct lineal ancestors. Most obviously, the misidentifications may have occurred largely inadvertently during one of the periods during which the portraits were removed from the Dacre estates, such as the sixteen years when a portion of them were at The Vyne. The answer may also perhaps lie in the politics of the late seventeenth century. The White engraving indicates that the misidentification of the Wrest Park portrait occurred before 1681, the year that marked the end of the Exclusion Bill Crisis. That political movement began in the early 1670s with the Test Acts and peaked in 1679 with the introduction into Parliament of a bill to exclude from the royal succession James, Duke of York and younger brother of King Charles II. At issue was James’s Roman Catholic faith, which most English Protestants found unacceptable. A large body of religious propaganda emerged throughout the 1670s in support of what would become the Exclusion Bill, including Burnet’s aforementioned History of the Reformation of the Church of England. The narratives of Jane Grey and of the succession crisis of 1553 were deployed in that propaganda to support a Protestant succession. This resulted in Jane developing a renewed and enlarged popularity in English cultural expression, including in literature, drama, and art.[20] Jane became something of a historical icon around which individual Englishmen could affirm their political allegiance vis-à-vis the succession dispute of the 1670s and 1680s. And for an ambitious aristocratic family, claims of a blood relationship, however distant, to Jane Grey imparted not only ‘political correctness’ but also greater political and social capital than did any unremarkable direct ancestor. Ownership of purported ‘original’ portraits of Jane and her family served as concrete visual markers of claims to that valuable blood relation. It is thus possible, even probable, that both the portrait called ‘Lady Jane Grey’ and that called ‘Frances Brandon Grey and her second husband, Adrian Stokes’ were deliberately and consciously relabeled by the Lennards in service to a personal religious, political, and social agenda. In that context, it is noteworthy that the identifying inscription on the painted surface of the Wrest Park portrait is in a relatively modern hand rather than a sixteenth-century hand, clear indication that the inscription was added long after the work was created.

     Throughout the decade following the death of Dorothy, Lady Dare in 1698, her step-grandson Thomas Lennard, 15th Baron Dacre and 1st Earl of Sussex, was forced by an overly extravagant lifestyle and mounting gambling debts to sell off successive portions of the Dacre patrimony.[21] Among the first items to be liquidated were some of Dorothy’s pictures. While the double portrait labeled as Jane Grey’s mother eventually passed to the London picture restorer Isaac Collivoe, the portrait said to depict Jane was, as has been noted, purchased in 1701 by Henry Grey, Earl of Kent and a direct lineal descendant of the Greys of Bradgate Park. Ownership of such a portrait visually reinforced the Earl of Kent’s tenuous claim to distant royal ancestry. Apparently a man of little innate talent, he was actually rewarded for resigning his office as Lord Chamberlain in 1710 by being elevated to the dukedom of Kent. The Wrest Park portrait remained in the possession of the descendants of Kent’s granddaughter, Lady Jemima Campbell, who became successive Barons Lucas of Crudwell.

     Additional evidence, beyond the Dacre provenance, supports identifying the sitter in the Wrest Park portrait as Mary Nevill, Lady Dacre. Dendrochronological dating of the wood panel on which the painting is executed suggests that the tree from which the wood was taken was still growing in 1532, based on the pattern of heartwood rings present.[22] The report indicates that no sapwood rings were evident, yet for the species of wood involved – Baltic oak – sapwood rings may number as few as nine or as many as 19 to 24.[23] It is therefore possible that the tree was felled as early as 1541 or as late as 1556. Allowing two years for transport and seasoning of the processed wood, the earliest possible usage date for the wood is 1543, though the report indicates a most likely usage date of circa 1549.[24] Jane Grey was at most thirteen years old in 1549, having been born in the winter of 1536-37.[25] Yet the lady seen in the portrait is certainly an adult, though still reasonably young.

     Mary Nevill was born in about 1524 and was thus about 25 years old when the Wrest Park portrait was most likely painted. Mary had wed Thomas Fiennes, 9th Baron Dacre before 1538, but after giving birth to three children she became a widow in 1541. Baron Dacre was involved in an incident in that year while hunting and was shortly thereafter attainted and executed for murder. Not yet provided with a jointure, Mary was left penniless.[26] Henry VIII took pity on the young widow and her three children and so initiated a private act of Parliament investing Mary with the manors of Burham and Codham in Kent, Fromquinton and Belchwell in Dorset, and Nashall in Essex. The yearly revenue value of the five properties was placed at just 140l 17s 5d, about one-tenth of her deceased husband’s normal revenues.[27] The Sheriff of Sussex was also ordered on 2 July 1541 to pay her 50l immediately and to return to her ‘All her apparel of velvet, satin, pearls, stones or goldsmiths work pertaining to her head as to the rest of her body’.[28]

     Mary Nevill remarried twice before her death in 1576, both times to men of significantly lower social status.[29] Whether in spite of or because of her reduction in status, Mary spent the period between 1541 and 1558 seeking the restoration of the Dacre barony to her family. She finally succeeded when her sole surviving son Gregory was restored as 10th Baron Dacre upon the accession of Elizabeth I in 1558.[30] Although Mary’s income did steadily increase over the seventeen years between her husband’s attainder and the restoration of the Dacre barony, the 1540s in particular were undoubtedly a period of reduced circumstances for her.[31] The Wrest Park portrait reflects those circumstances.

     Bendor Grosvenor and David Starkey noted in the Lost Faces catalogue the simplicity of the sitter’s costume and the absence of significant jewelry, despite the propensity in portraiture of the period for overt displays of wealth. They argued that the austere nature of this depiction ‘conforms well to the pious image of Jane [Grey] as a virtuous protestant martyr, not least in the simple costume that we know she preferred.’[32] They further noted that the costume was seen even by early viewers as so plain that copyist-engravers like Robert White felt obliged to add jewels and fur trimmings in order to depict Jane Grey with sufficient queenly status.[33] That Jane dressed in such a somber, proto-Puritan style is, however, the product of later mythmaking based solely on a single apocryphal tale presented in John Strype’s Historical Collections of the Life and Acts of the Right Reverend Father in God, John Aylmer. First published in 1701, Strype’s account includes the story of ‘a great lady’ who rejected a gift of fine fabrics presented by Princess Mary, declaring instead her intent to follow the example set by Princess Elizabeth, who herself ‘followeth God’s word’.[34] It has usually been assumed that the ‘great lady’ was Jane Grey, whom Aylmer served as tutor, and that Elizabeth always dressed somberly prior to becoming queen.

     No evidence exists to corroborate Strype’s account, though Aylmer himself actually contradicts it elsewhere. In a letter to the continental Protestant reformer Heinrich Bullinger dated 23 December 1551, Aylmer asked Bullinger to write to Jane instructing her ‘as to what embellishment and adornment of person is most becoming in young women professing godliness.’ In contrast to the account as it appeared in Strype, Aylmer in his letter suggested to Bullinger that he (Bullinger)
bring forward [to Jane] the example of our king’s sister, the princess Elizabeth, who goes clad in every respect as becomes a young maiden; and yet no one [i.e., not even Jane] is induced by the example of so illustrious a lady, and in so much gospel light, to lay aside, much less look down upon, gold, jewels, and braidings of the hair.[35]
          Aylmer pleaded with Bullinger to ‘handle these points at some length, [so that] there will probably, through your influence, be some accession to the ranks of virtue’ made by Jane in future. Aylmer would hardly have needed to enlist Bullinger’s influence had Lady Jane already been in conformity with his own proto-Puritan expectations. Additionally, and as Grosvenor and Starkey implied in the Lost Faces catalogue, overt displays of wealth were the norm for persons of Jane’s social and economic status. Failure on Jane’s part to adhere to that norm would undoubtedly have elicited written comment by at least one of the many contemporaries who took careful note of her other actions, yet no such comment is found in the available historical record. Judged on the limited evidence available, Jane Grey seems to have been rather conventional in her attire. The costume worn by the lady in the Wrest Park portrait, however, is decidedly unconventional for a woman of Jane’s status, regardless of her religious outlook.

     The costume is far more consistent with Mary Nevill’s reduced social and economic status during the 1540s. That period in Mary’s life is encapsulated within the broader timeframe that can be delineated through an examination of the costume worn by the sitter. The style of headgear, for example, is seen as early 1540 in a portrait of Jane Small and as late as 1557 in a painting of Alice Barnham and her sons.[36] The cut and styling of the gown, including the standing open collar of the partlet and the slashed sleeves, were popular from at least 1528 until after 1555.[37] The kerchief worn over the shoulders — and here tucked into the back of the bodice — is usually limited to portraits of a somewhat earlier period. Margaret Tudor Douglas wears a similar kerchief in a portrait from the late 1520s.[38] They are also seen in numerous works by Holbein, all of which were created before his death in 1543.[39] Yet kerchiefs are rarely (if ever) seen in portraits of women of the gentry or aristocracy after about 1545. After that point, such kerchiefs were more commonly worn by women of status below that of upper gentry, such as merchants’ wives and small-householders. On the whole, the style of costume is entirely consistent with Mary Nevill’s period of widowhood and reduced economic status during the early to mid 1540s.

Mary Nevill, Lady Dacre
by Hans Eworth
oil on panel, ca.1555-1558
29 in. x 22 3/4 in.
National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa
     The flowers inserted into the lady’s bodice are likewise relevant to determining the lady’s true identity. Grosvenor and Starkey argued that ‘such floral prominence is rare in sixteenth century portraiture’.[40] Yet flowers do nonetheless appear with some regularity in portraits of both men and women of the Tudor period.[41] Particularly noteworthy among those is a solo portrait of Mary Nevill (above) in which she has a bundle of three or four different species of flowers, predominantly yellow in color, inserted into the neckline of her bodice. Barbara Harris has recently argued that Mary was very careful about what was included in her portraits, ‘consciously fashioning herself’ through her own considered choices in composing the scene.[42] Though Harris does not explore Mary’s flower selection in detail, flowers were deployed in art and other forms of cultural expression both before and after the sixteenth century as important symbols to be interpreted and understood by the viewer.[43] As such, they must be considered an important element in the commissioning sitter’s self-fashioning through portraiture.

     In regard to the above portrait of Mary Nevill, Elizabeth Honig indicates that the flowers are pansies and rosemary, the former symbolizing thoughts and the latter remembrance.
[44] Forget-me-nots are also present, and their symbolism is indicated by their name. As Honig further argues, the flowers in that image are intended to be ‘read’ by the viewer as symbolic of Mary Nevill’s faithful remembrance of her deceased first husband, even though the portrait was created after Mary had wed twice more.[45] Mary’s specific choice of flowers, coupled with the unusual inclusion behind her of a dated portrait of her first husband, make it clear that Mary wished to present herself not as the current wife of Master Francis Thursby of Congham and mother of six children by Thursby, but rather as the faithful and still-grieving widow of Baron Dacre.

     The flowers in the Wrest Park portrait serve a similar purpose in that the sitter used them to self-fashion an identity to be understood by the viewer. The three violets suspended from the necklace symbolize mourning, as exemplified by Act IV, Scene 1 of Shakespeare’s Pericles, Prince of Tyre. Marina, daughter of Pericles, mourns the death of her nurse, Lychorida, saying, ‘I will rob Tellus of her weed,/ To strew thy green with flowers: the yellows, blues,/ The purple violets, and marigolds,/ Shall as a carpet hang upon thy grave,/ While summer-days do last.’ Shakespeare again utilized violets in association with mourning in Act IV, Scene IV of The Winter’s Tale. Perdita refers therein to the mythological tale of Proserpina, abducted by the ruler of the underworld, Pluto, also known as Dis. Perdita describes the frightened Proserpina letting fall from Pluto’s chariot ‘violets dim’ as she is transported to Hades. And even in Christian religious art, the purple color of violets is itself associated with sorrow, mourning, and penitence, and thus was and still is used in the Roman Catholic tradition as the liturgical color for Lent.

     The large central flower in the Wrest Park portrait is a dianthus, most probably a clove pink (Dianthus caryophyllus), maiden pink (Dianthus deltoides) or cottage pink (Dianthus plumarius). Pinks, as a group, denote true love and are seen often in portraits of the Tudor period. Such symbolism is again appropriate for a woman devoted to the memory of her husband and to his surviving family, especially if that woman had not yet remarried, as may be the case here.

     The three long, slender clusters grouped with the flowers were assumed by Grosvenor and Starkey to be ears of wheat, symbolizing fertility. The ‘ears’ lack the characteristic spikelets extending upward from the wheat grain kernel, however, as well as the symmetric arrangement of the kernels on the stalk. Instead, these clusters are probably some type of herb-like flower such as hyssop, veronica (speedwell), or lavender (spikenard). Hyssop can denote ritual purification, veronica and lavender devotion and fidelity.
[47] Any and all of these would have been appropriate to convey the kind of posture Mary Nevill no doubt wished to adopt in seeking restoration of her family’s titles and estates.

     The book held in the left hand, forefinger inserted as if to mark a place, of the sitter in the Wrest Park portrait is, like the flowers, strongly reminiscent of the Canadian portrait of Mary Nevill. In the Canadian portrait, Mary holds the book in her left hand as well, though it is her thumb rather than her forefinger that marks her place. The nature of the book in the Wrest Park portrait cannot be readily identified, but Honig characterizes that in the Canadian portrait as a ‘devotional work’ based on a visible illumination.
[48] Honig argues that the presence of the book in the Canadian portrait aids in constructing Mary, albeit somewhat artificially so in light of her two remarriages, as a ‘Good Widow’ of the type Juan Luis Vives described in his Instruction of a christen woman.[49] Vive’s ‘Good Widow’ was, as Honig notes, devoted to her role as custodian of her husband’s goods. Vives was expanding on the instructions given by St. Paul in I Timothy 5 regarding widows, including the admonition to ‘trusteth in God, and continueth in supplications and prayers night and day.’ Paul further commands his followers, ‘ If any man or woman that believeth have widows, let them relieve them, and let not the church be charged; that it may relieve them that are widows indeed.’ In the context of the Wrest Park portrait, the sitter is presenting herself as a true widow with children who, with no means to support them, makes an appeal for relief from the monarch as both guardian of all his people, especially widows, and head of the church, a central function of which was relieving those in need. For Mary Nevill, the relief hoped for was the restoration to her son of the lands and titles stripped from her husband. This kind of self-representation as a ‘Good Widow’ symbolized in the Wrest Park portrait is again entirely consistent with and appropriate for Mary Nevill and her status in the mid 1540s.

     There is also a distinct physical resemblance between the face of the lady in the Wrest Park portrait and Mary Nevill as she appears in the two previously-known portraits of her. A viewer can readily discern that the former depicts the same person as the latter, especially upon considering the advance of more than a decade in age and the addition of two or three stone in weight. Both faces have a generally rounded bone structure, with fullness in the cheeks and jowls. The high foreheads and wide eyes are virtually identical. Only the tip of the nose is different, but Grosvenor and Starkey pointed out that the nose in the Wrest Park portrait has been ‘retouched to make the end smaller’.
     Upon careful consideration of the entire body of available evidence, the conclusion must be drawn that the sitter in the Wrest Park portrait is Mary Nevill, Lady Dacre. The painting most probably depicts her during her years of widowhood, circa 1541–1545, since she wears no wedding ring. During that period, her social and economic standing were at their nadir, and she was actively seeking restoration of both title and fortune. The portrait therefore served as an expression of personal humility, fidelity, and innocence, appropriate attitudes for an unmarried woman seeking favor from those who might aid her. By choosing to be depicted dressed in simple attire — it is tempting to interpret the costume as widow’s weeds — without significant jewelry, she elicits pity from any viewer aware of her former status as a wealthy baroness. When the Wrest Park portrait of Mary Nevill is juxtaposed against the two previously-known portraits of her, the trio creates a rare and valuable visual adjunct to the engaging narrative of an assertive woman beset by hardship who struggled successfully to regain that which had been lost. If Elizabeth Honig is correct in arguing that the symbolism of the Canadian portrait conveys an image of the ‘Good Widow’ and that of the NPG double portrait celebrates the same widow’s successes, then the Wrest Park painting portrays the beginning of that widow’s quest for restoration.
J. Stephan Edwards, Ph.D.
Palm Springs, California
28 March 2011
       NOTES :      
Bendor Grosvenor and David Starkey, Lost Faces: Identity and Discovery in Tudor Royal Portraiture (London: Philip Mould Ltd, 2007), 85–86. The portrait is labeled in the exhibition catalogue as ‘Portrait of Lady Jane Grey (d.1554)(?)’. The traditional identification as Jane Grey was, according to the catalogue, ‘dismissed ... following the misidentification of the Catherine Parr portrait in 1965’. Grosvenor and Starkey considered the traditional identification worth ‘revisiting’, and they concluded their re-visit by asking ‘Can we now look with confidence on the face of England’s “nine days queen”?’
Jane Grey was the great-great-great-great-granddaughter of Reginald Grey via his second wife, Joan Ashley. Jane was at most a third-cousin in the half blood to her contemporaries among the Wrest Park Greys.
Grosvenor and Starkey, Lost Faces, 85. The 12th Earl later became Marquess of Kent in 1706 and Duke of Kent in 1710.
Gilbert Burnet, The History of the Reformation of the Church of England, 3 vols (London: Printed by Robert Chiswell, 1681), II: 172. See also Called Lady Jane Grey by Robert White, line engraving, published 1681, 9 5/8 in. x 6 1/4 in., National Portrait Gallery (London), NPG D24991 et al. White added pearls to the headdress and ermine trim on the gown. He also gave the sitter a slightly thinner physique and facial structure.
National Trust Catalogue for Dunham Massey Hall (1999), DUN.P.31, A lady called Lady Jane Grey, English School, 17th Century, oil on canvas, 29.5 in. x 23 in.; National Trust Catalogue for Dunham Massey Hall (1999), DUN.P.12, ?Lady Jane Grey, English School, 18th Century, oil on canvas, 29 in. x 24 in. DUN.P.31 was probably commissioned by or for Thomas Grey, 2nd Earl of Stamford. Thomas was the great-great-grandson of Lord John Grey of Pirgo, younger brother of Lady Jane Grey’s father Henry Grey, Marquess of Dorset and later Duke of Suffolk. The Earl of Stamford could thus claim a nearer blood relation to Jane Grey than could his cousin the Earl of Kent.
See, for example, Edmund Lodge, Portraits of Illustrious Personages of Great Britain, 8 vols. (London: Harding, Triphook and Lepard, 1824), II: f.20v. The set was reprinted multiple times between 1824 and 1907, and eventually expanded to twelve volumes. Throughout the several editions, a variety of engravers received credit for the engraving, including Robert Cooper, T.A. Dean, and J. Thomson.
Grosvenor and Starkey, Lost Faces, 85.
Herstmonceux Castle was built in 1441 by Sir Roger Fiennes, husband of Joan Dacre, suo jure 7th Baroness Dacre. Chevening House was the seat of the Lennards, who later inherited the Dacre barony (Sampson Lennard had married in 1563 Margaret Fiennes, who was herself created suo jure 10th Baroness Dacre in 1604). Dorothy, Lady Dacre’s only son from her first marriage, Richard Lennard Barrett, inherited Belhus in 1645 from his distant cousin Edward Barrett, Lord Newburgh. Edward Barrett made it a condition of inheritance that Richard should assume the surname Barrett. Richard Lennard Barrett predeceased his mother, dying in 1696 without issue.
Essex Record Office (Chelmsford), D/DL/E8/1, ff. 1r–3v; D/DL/E8/2, f. 1r–v; D/DL/F156, ff. 1–10. Only two paintings are identified by subject: one of a dog and another of an old woman reading, both belonging to Richard. The paintings at Belhus apparently did include the well-known portrait of Mary Nevill, Lady Dacre seated before a painting of her deceased first husband, however. That picture remained at Belhus and in the possession of the Lennard-Barretts, properly labeled, until early in the 20th century. See The Second Annual Volume of the Walpole Society (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1913), frontispiece and 15. The portrait was eventually acquired by the National Gallery of Canada in 1925. See Mary Neville, Lady Dacre by Hans Eworth, circa 1555–1558, oil on wood panel, 29 in. x 23 in., National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa), accession number 3337.
Three inventories related to Dacre properties survive from the seventeenth century. The first two were taken at Herstmonceux Castle and at Chevening House in 1616 upon the death of Dorothy’s father-in-law, Henry Lennard. Those inventories include ‘certeyne pictures’ found in the parlor at Herstmonceux, but none are described in any detail. See Society of Antiquaries (London) Manuscript 706A. A third inventory, taken at Herstmonceux in 1673, describes only the possessions of the Hon. Thomas Lennard, younger son of Dorothy’s husband Richard by his first marriage. See Essex Record Office, AMS6326/34. Though Dorothy retained a life interest in Chevening House, the surviving inventories of that property, other than that of 1616 noted above, all post-date the sale of Lady Dacre’s goods in 1701.
See Thomas Barrett-Lennard, An Account of the families of Barrett and Lennard (privately printed, 1908), 591–592. Also Thomas Barrett-Lennard, ‘Family Pictures at Belhus’ in The Ancestor, edited by Oswald Baron, no. 5 (London: Archibald Constable, April 1903), 1–18. The latter describes the extensive collection of ancestral portraits, including many from the sixteenth century, still held at the last remaining seat of the Lennard-Barretts. If the number still in Lennard-Barrett hands at the turn of the twentieth century is any indication, Dorothy Lennard must have owned a substantial collection of family portraits.
See, for example, National Archives (Kew), Chancery 10/69/85, Francis, Margaret and Henry Lennard v. Lord Thomas Dacre, Thomas Lennard, et al, 1662; C 10/500/16, Francis and Henry Lennard v Thomas Lennard et al, 1687; Parliamentary Archives, HL/PO/JO/10/1/389/20, Dorothy Lennard Chute (then aged 74 years) v Chute (her second husband’s minor grandson).
Chaloner William Chute, A History of the Vyne in Hampshire (Winchester: Jacob and Johnson, 1888), 73–74 and 78.
Barrett-Lennard, An Account, 264.
A copy of a portrait of Mary Nevill, Lady Dacre by Hans Eworth was among those created to leave behind. See Christopher Wright, British and Irish Paintings in Public Collections (Bury St Edmunds: St Edmundsbury Press, 2006), 330. For the original portrait, see Mary Nevill, Lady Dacre by Hans Eworth, ca.1555–1558, oil on wood panel, 29 in. x 22 ¾ in., National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa), NGC 3337.
The original portrait of Mary Nevill cited in note 15 above passed to the Moores of Drogheda through the third marriage in 1725 of Anne Barrett-Lennard, suo jure 16th Baroness Dacre, to the Hon. Roger Moore (younger son of the 3 rd Earl of Drogheda), but was re-purchased by the 18th Baron Dacre in 1784. See Barrett-Lennard, An Account, 592.
Barrett-Lennard, An Account, 521.
It is perhaps as a direct result of this last removal that Isaac Collivoe of London was able to acquire the double portrait of Mary Nevill and her son Gregory sometime between 1701 and 1725, as discussed in the next paragraph of the main text and note 19 below.
The portrait then identified as Frances Brandon Grey and Adrian Stokes was acquired sometime before 1725 by the picture restorer Isaac Collivoe (or Collevous) Sr of Covent Garden, London. It was at that time attributed to Hans Holbein the Younger. Following Collivoe’s death in 1726, the painting was purchased at auction in February 1727 by Edward Harley, 2nd Earl of Oxford. The Harley-Oxford collection was itself auctioned in 1741, and the portrait was sold to the art collector-historian Horace Walpole for his collection at Strawberry Hill. See Horace Walpole, Anecdotes of Painting in England, 4th edition (London: J. Dodsley, 1786), I: 8. The picture was subsequently attributed to Lucas de Heere and was engraved in 1748 by George Vertue, becoming well known as a portrait of Frances and her second husband. Former National Portrait Gallery Director Sir Roy Strong accepted the identification as Frances Grey as late as 1966. See Roy Strong, ‘Hans Eworth Reconsidered’, The Burlington Magazine 108, no.758 (May 1966), 222–233. Not until twenty years later were the sitters re-identified as Mary Nevill, Lady Dacre and her son Gregory Fiennes, 10th Baron Dacre. See Susan Foister, ‘Nobility Reclaimed’, Antique Collector 57, no.4 (April 1986), 58–60. The portrait entered the collection at the National Portrait Gallery, London, in 2008. See Mary Nevill, Lady Dacre and; Gregory Fiennes, 10th Baron Dacre by Hans Eworth, oil on panel, 1559, 19¾ in. x 28 1/8 in., NPG 6855. The portrait has been studied extensively by a wide variety of historians. In addition to the works cited above, see, for example, Elizabeth Honig, ‘In Memory: Lady Dacre and Pairing by Hans Eworth’ in Renaissance Faces: The Human Figure in English Culture c.1540–1660, edited by Lucy Gent and Nigel Llewellyn (London: Reaktion Books Ltd, 1990), 60–85; Karen Hearn, ‘Eworth and His Contemporaries’ in Dynasties: Painting in Tudor and Jacobean England, 1530–1630, edited by Karen Hearn (London: Tate Publishing, 1996), 63–76; Barbara J. Harris, ‘Defining Themselves: English Aristocratic Women, 1450–1550’, Journal of British Studies 49, no. 4 (October 2010), 734–752.
See J. Stephan Edwards, ‘Jane the Quene: A New Consideration of Lady Jane Grey, England’s Nine-Days Queen, unpublished PhD dissertation (University of Colorado at Boulder, 2007), 257–260 and Appendix Two: Lady Jane Grey Represented in Various Cultural Forms. Jane Grey was such a central figure in the debate over religion and the succession during the period that King George I, Protestant successor under the Act of Settlement of 1701 in place of the deposed James II’s Catholic son, named Nicolas Rowe as Poet Laureate in 1715 specifically in recognition for Rowe’s pro-Protestant-succession play, Lady Jane Grey: A Tragedy in Five Acts.
See Barrett-Lennard, An Account, 101. Thomas Lennard, 15th Baron Dacre, was the son of Francis Lennard, 14th Baron Dacre, who was in turn the eldest son of Dorothy’s husband Richard Lennard by his first wife, Elizabeth Throckmorton.
My thanks to Bendor Grosvenor of Philip Mould Ltd for generously providing me with a data extract from the dendrochronology report. Electronic communication, 22 December 2010, Bendor Grosvenor, Philip Mould Ltd.
Peter Ian Kuniholm, ‘Dendrochronology (Tree-Ring Dating) of Panel Paintings’, Appendix X to W. Stanley Taft and James W. Mayer, The Science of Paintings ( New York: Springer Verlag, 2000), 206–215.
Alternatively, the wood may have not have been used until 1558, or later if it was stored for longer than the minimum two years.
J. Stephan Edwards, ‘On the Date of Birth of Lady Jane Grey Dudley’, Notes and Queries 54, no. 3 (Sept 2007), 240–242; ‘A Further Note on the Date of Birth of Lady Jane Grey Dudley’, Notes and Queries 55, no. 2 (June 2008), 146–148.
Fiennes failed to create a jointure for his wife prior to his attainder.
Barrett-Lennard, An Account, 206–207; Journal of the House of Lords, Volume 1: 1509–1577 (London, 1767–1830), 191–192.
Barrett-Lennard, An Account, 206–207; Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, of Henry VIII, Volume 16: 1540–1541, edited by James Gairdner and R.H. Brodie (London, 1898), 465.
Mary Nevill Fiennes married John Wooton/Wotton sometime before 1546. After his death, date unknown, she married Francis Thursby of Congham. Neither man was of sufficient status to merit mention in the surviving governmental documents and archives from the period. Indeed, nothing is known about either man, though Mary reportedly had as many as six additional children by Thursby. See Barrett-Lennard, An Account, 206–207.
The unusual double portrait of mother and son discussed above was commissioned in the following year, apparently in recognition of the restoration of the baronial title. See n. 19 above, especially Foister.
Mary’s eldest son, Thomas Fiennes, predeceased her in 1553. At his death, Thomas’s estates were worth 1180l 18s 7 ¾ d per annum, a considerable increase over Mary’s mere 140l per annum income in 1542. Since Thomas was not more than 16 years of age at his death, the increase can be attributed entirely to Mary Nevill Fiennes. Barrett-Lennard, An Account, 207.
Grosvenor and Starkey, Lost Faces, 85.
Grosvenor and Starkey, Lost Faces, 85, caption to Fig. 55.
John Strype, Historical Collections of the Life and Acts of the Right Reverend Father in God, John Aylmer (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1821), 195–196.
John Aylmer to Heinrich Bullinger, 23 December 1551, Original Letters Relative to the English Reformation, written during the reigns of King Henry VIII, King Edward VI, and Queen Mary: chiefly from the archives at Zurich, translated by Hastings Robinson (Cambridge, 1846), 1: 278–279.
Jane Small, also called Jane Pemberton by Hans Holbein, circa 1540, bodycolour on vellum, 2.1 in. diameter, Victoria and Albert Museum (London); Portrait of Alice Barnham and her sons Martin and Steven by Hans Eworth, oil on panel, 38 in. x 33 in., Denver Art Museum. Coincidentally, Francis Barnham, the future son of the child Martin Barnham depicted in the Barnham family portrait, went on to marry Elizabeth Lennard, a daughter of Sampson Lennard and Margaret Fiennes, 11 th Baroness Dacre. See John Burke, A genealogical and heraldic history of the extinct and dormant Baronetcies of England, Ireland, and Scotland, 2 nd edition (London: John Russell Smith, 1844), 42.
The standing open collar is seen in a portrait of Margaret Tudor Douglas of about 1528. See Called Margaret Tudor with Duke of Albany by unknown artist, before 1528, private Scottish collection. It is still seen a quarter-century later in numerous portraits of Mary I in the first years of her reign. Sleeves with bulbous forearms and slashing likewise remained popular until the reign of Mary I and are seen in numerous portraits of that period.
See note 37 above, Called Margaret Tudor.
A Lady with a Squirrel and a Starling (Anne Lovell?) by Hans Holbein the Younger, 1526–28, oil on wood panel, 22 in. x 15 1/3 in., National Gallery (London), NG6540; A Woman by Hans Holbein the Younger, tempera and oil on panel, 15 ½ in. x 13 1/3 in., Detroit Institute of Arts, accession number 77.81; Wife of an official at the court of Henry VIII by Hans Holbein the Younger, 1534, 4.6 in. diameter, Kunsthistoriches Museum (Vienna), GG-6272; Jane Small, also called Jane Pemberton by Hans Holbein the Younger, circa 1540, bodycolour on vellum, 2.1 in. diameter, Victoria and Albert Museum (London).
Grosvenor and Starkey, Lost Faces, 86.
See, for example, Queen Katherine Parr (holding a pink in one hand) by Master John (NPG 4451), circa 1545, National Portrait Gallery, London; Mary Wooten, Lady Guildford (with flower at the neckline) by Hans Holbein, circa 1527, Saint Louis Art Museum; Portrait of Simon George (holding a red carnation and with yellow dianthus or wallflowers affixed beneath his hat badge) by Hans Holbein, circa 1533, Städelsches Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt; Portrait of Jane Small (red flower at bodice, lavender in hand) by Hans Holbein, circa 1540, Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Called Margaret Tudor with the Duke of Albany (with multiple flowers at Margaret’s bodice) by unknown artist, before 1541, private Scottish collection; Elizabeth Fitzgerald (holding an unidentified flower) by Steven van der Muelen, 1560, collection of JB Gold; Unknown Man (with yellow flowers, probably dianthus, pinned to hat), attributed to Lucas Horenbout or Hans Holbein, undated, Yale Center for British Art (B 1974.2.58).
Barbara J. Harris, ‘Defining Themselves: English Aristocratic Women 1450–1550’, Journal of British Studies 49, no. 4 (October 2010), 735–736.
See, for example, George Wells Ferguson, Signs and Symbols in Christian Art: with illustrations from paintings of the Renaissance (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1972); Jessica Kerr, Shakespeare's Flowers (New York:  Thomas Y. Crowell company, 1969); Lizzie Deas, Flower favourites: their legends, symbolism and significance (London: George Allen, 1898).
Elizabeth Honig, ‘In Memory: Lady Dacre and Pairing by Hans Eworth’ in Renaissance Bodies: The Human Figure in English Culture, c.1540–1660, edited by Lucy Gent and Nigel Llewellyn (London: Reaktion Books Ltd, 1990), 60.
Honig, ‘In Memory’, 66.
Ferguson, Signs and Symbols, 152.
For the symbolism of hyssop, see Old Testament Psalm 51: 7; for veronica or speedwell, see John Ingram, The Language of Flowers, or Flora Symbolica (London: Frederick Warne and Co., 1887), 249–250; for lavender (also known as spikenard), New Testament John 12: 3.
Honig, ‘In Memory’, 61.
Honig, ‘In Memory’, 63–66; Juan Luis Vives, Instruction of a christen woman (1523).
Grosvenor and Starkey, Lost Faces, 86.
    Introduction to Portraiture of Lady Jane Grey
    The Althorp Portrait     The Anglesey Abbey Portrait  
    The Bodleian Library Portrait     The Chawton House–Hever Castle Portrait  
    The Elliot–Gedling House Portrait     The Fitzwilliam Museum Portrait  
    The Houghton Hall Portrait     The Jersey Portrait  
    The King’s College Portrait     The Madresfield Court Portrait  
    The Melton Constable Hall Portrait     The Norris Portrait  
    The Northwick Park Portrait     The Portland Portrait  
    The Rotherwas Portrait     The Somerley Portrait  
    The Streatham Portrait     The Syon House Portrait  
    The van de Passe Engraved Portrait     The Yale Miniature  
    Other Portraits Called
‘Lady Jane Grey’


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