In the van Dyck tradition

The Hon Edith Helen Chaplin (1878–1959), Marchioness of Londonderry, DBE, with her favourite greyhound Fly, by Philip de László, 1913. Accepted in lieu of inheritance tax and allocated to the National Trust for display at Mount Stewart. ©National Trust, image supplied by the Public Catalogue Foundation

The Hon Edith Helen Chaplin (1878–1959), Marchioness of Londonderry, DBE, with her favourite greyhound Fly, by Philip de László, 1913. Accepted in lieu of inheritance tax and allocated to the National Trust for display at Mount Stewart. ©National Trust, image supplied by the Public Catalogue Foundation

Following the mention in the previous post of the van Dyck self-portrait which the National Portrait Gallery is trying to acquire, I was struck by how some of the portraits at Mount Stewart are very much in the van Dyck tradition.

The 7th Marquess of Londonderry sitting in front of a portrait of his ancestor, Lord Castlereagh, by Philip de László, 1927. ©National Trust Images/John Hammond

The 7th Marquess of Londonderry sitting in front of a portrait of his ancestor, Lord Castlereagh, by Philip de László, 1927. ©National Trust Images/John Hammond

One of these, the Diana-esque portrait of Edith, Marchioness of Londonderry by de László, has just been accepted in lieu of tax and allocated to Mount Stewart, along with a portrait by Lavery of her husband, the 7th Marquess, and a number of other objects associated with Mount Stewart and the Vane-Tempest-Stewart family.

Edward Charles Vane-Tempest-Stewart (1902–1955), Lord Stewart, later 8th Marquess of Londonderry, as a page at the coronation of King George V, by Philip de László, c.1911. ©National Trust Images/John Hammond

Edward Charles Vane-Tempest-Stewart (1902–1955), Lord Stewart, later 8th Marquess of Londonderry, as a page at the coronation of King George V, by Philip de László, c.1911. ©National Trust Images/John Hammond

The National Trust already owned a number of other family portraits at Mount Stewart, including a de László of the 7th Marquess draped with splendid van Dyckean nonchalance across a sofa in front of a portrait of his famous ancestor, Lord Castlereagh.

Lady Mairi Stewart (1921–2009), later Lady Mairi Bury, at the age of two, by Philip Alexius de László, 1923. ©National Trust, image supplied by the Public Catalogue Foundation

Lady Mairi Stewart (1921–2009), later Lady Mairi Bury, at the age of two, by Philip Alexius de László, 1923. ©National Trust, image supplied by the Public Catalogue Foundation

The are also two charming portraits by the same artist of Lord Edward and Lady Mairi Stewart as children. Lady Mairi lived at Mount Stewart until her death in 2009.

6 Responses to “In the van Dyck tradition”

  1. George aka OperaCreep Says:

    The first portrait strikes me in that it adopts a composition very similar to Diana of the Uplands (1903-4) by Furse, which was an extremely popular work in that decade. But de Laszlo alongside Sargent are the ones we’d think of painting in the Van Dyck mode nowadays.
    An image of the work here: http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/furse-diana-of-the-uplands-n02059

  2. Emile de Bruijn Says:

    George, that is fascinating. Perhaps greyhounds were a fashionable Edwardian accessory? :) Hilarious to read in that Tate caption how the artist and his wife carefully staged this ‘spontaneous’ image. And Interesting, too, that the influence of Gainsborough is mentioned.

  3. Susan Walter Says:

    I see George Lambert and a bit of Rupert Bunny in this painting too — they are more or less contemporaries with de Lazlo and I guess were referencing the same influences. I’m surprised to see Diana referred to as the ‘Goddess of Love’ in the Tate blurb for the Furse picture. To me this is at best simplistic and at worst incorrect. Although the mistresses of powerful men habitually presented themselves as Diana, especially after Diane de Poitiers from the 16th C onwards, it was a very complicated set of messages they were sending. They show themselves in the guise of Diana the Huntress, the Chaste (in the sense of pure) and as the one who protects the woman in childbirth, thereby protecting the succession. It seems to me that she took over from the Madonna as the ideal female role model — beautiful, independent, sporty, wise, and though desirable, extremely choosy as to whom and how far she extended her favours.

    PS I want to know exactly how Gertrude ‘helped with the wind’ in the Furse picture. I’m afraid my mind is boggling…

  4. Emile de Bruijn Says:

    Susan, thank you for your insightful comments on the associations of Diana – as a slightly more respectable although still exciting version of Venus.

    I have to assume that Gertrude was manipulating a big bellows, but even then it conjures up a rather hilarious scene. :)

  5. Andrew Says:

    Closer than you may have thought, Emile. Read the Tate’s catalogue entry – http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/furse-diana-of-the-uplands-n02059/text-catalogue-entry – “my stepmother-in-law Gertrude was brought in to try the bellows under the skirt, which was tied up to a support to help the “wind”. “

  6. Emile de Bruijn Says:

    How wonderfully ‘Heath Robinson’ – thank you Andrew!

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