Joining Junius

Franciscus Junius, Dedication of The Painting of the Ancients, London 1638.

Lord Arundel’s collection and commitment to the arts is the subject of numerous studies. The research of ancient art, through the patronage of studies such as John Selden’s Marmora Arundelliana and De Pictura Veterum by Franciscus Junius, is counted among the most outstanding achievements of Lady Arundel’s husband. In 1638, Junius dedicated the English edition of his studies of the ancient theory of painting, The Painting of the Ancients, to Lady Arundel. Like Rubens (and of course Vorsterman) Junius praises her noble and heroic virtues, which had made her famous throughout Europe.

Wenceslaus Hollar after Anthony van Dyck, Franciscus Junius the Younger, 1641, Etching, 167×126 mm, London, British Museum

He thanks her for asking for an English translation:
“Madame, As the sweet and glorious harmony of your heroicall vertues, in so high a birth , most happily conjoyned and matched with the most illustrious Lord your husband, the very patterne of true Nobilitie, enforceth the world farre and neere with honor and admiration to behold and renowne you (…).”
The close relationship between Junius and Lady Arundel is shown in a different way in a letter to Elizabeth Junius, in which Countess asks him to send some particularly good butter from the Netherlands to England. The letter is dated March 10, 1629 and has been edited by Sophie van Romburgh in her collection of Junius’ correspondence (‘For my worthy Freind Mr Franciscus Junius’ 2004). Junius was the antiquarian for Lord and Lady Arundel, however, the need for the particularly high quality Dutch butter, which formed the basis for many creams and ointments, was as valid as Lady Arundel’s interest in art theory.

Franciscus Junius, Titlepage of The Paintings of the Ancients, London 1638

In Lady Arundel’s lifetime the spheres of art and knowledge were not separate. Rather, there was a lively exchange between the various forms of dealing with nature, its exploration through experience, amazement and imitation. A large number of studies have shown the many entanglements. Alexander Marr’s literature review is a good introduction into the discourse (Knowing Images 2016). Other very useful studies are Philip Ball’s on curiosity (Curiosity: How Science Became Interested in Everything 2013) and Eileen Reeves’ handbook article (The New Sciences and the Visual Arts 2013).

Lady Arundel should be not only considered as an actor in a global context and a patron of the arts, as the dedications to the Battle of the Amazons, the Titian biography and The Painting of the Ancients show, but also as a natural philosopher, albeit, as to be expected, foremost of the domestic sphere. Her large collection of various medical and cosmetic prescriptions went to print in 1655.


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