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Portrait of an Elderly Woman

Not on view

Portrait of an Elderly Woman

After: Peter Paul Rubens (Flemish, 1577-1640)

Engraver: James Watson (English, 1740 - 1790)

After?: Cornelis de Vos (Flemish, 1584 - 1651)

Date: 1778
Medium: Mezzotint
Overall: 18 7/16 x 12 3/8in. (46.8 x 31.4cm)
Image: 16 1/8 x 12in. (41 x 30.5cm)
Plate: 18 x 12in. (45.7 x 30.5cm)
Credit Line: Owen D. Young Collection. Gift of Mrs. Josephine Young Case and Mr. Richard Young
Object number: 66.221
Label Text
This print reproduces a picture that in the 18th century was believed to have been painted by the great 17th-century Flemish artist Peter Paul Rubens. The work then was in the private collection of the English statesman Robert Walpole, 1st Earl of Orford (1676-1745). The art collection Walpole assembled at his country house, Houghton Hall, Norfolk, was one of the century's most famous. Twenty years after Walpole died, his grandson sold more than two hundred works from this collection, including this one, to Empress Catherine the Great of Russia. James Watson's mezzotint, made from a copy of the picture executed by the artist Joseph Farington, is part of a series of prints issued by the enterprising publisher John Boydell (1719-1804) when there was a public outcry that the sale of Walpole's paintings to a foreign buyer would deprive England of a collection that could form the basis of a national public collection. The painting now hangs in the Hermitage Museum, Moscow, attributed to Rubens' Flemish contemporary, Cornelis de Vos.

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