Attracting Anthony

Anthony van Dyck, The Continence of Scipio, 1620–1621, Oil on Canvas,
183 x 232 cm, Oxford, Christchurch Picture Gallery

The Countess was a passionate admirer of Italy and of Italian art. Lady Arundel’s father, Gilbert Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury, had already visited Venice around 1570 when he, like Lady Arundel’s sons, had studied at the University of Padua. He shared his admiration for the arts with his wife Mary Cavendish. On her first trip to Italy, Lady Arundel was in regular contact with artists and art agents. During her visit to Rubens’ workshop, Lady Arundel also met his already famed colleague, Anthony van Dyck. Just three months later, a letter from England to William Trumbull, an English envoy in Brussels, announced Van Dyck had arrived in London. In the letter, Lord Purbeck appears as the driving force behind the painter’s invitation to England: „[…] The yong Painter Van Dyke is newly come to the towne and brought lres from Sgr. Rubens; I am tould my Lo: of Purbeck sent for him hither but hee is out of towne, but it may be if he bee any thing well hee may hee may come hither upon this occasion.“ (Letter from Thomas Locke on 28 October 1620, BL Trumbull Mss).


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