Elizabeth Fanshawe

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Elizabeth Fanshawe's Geni Profile

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About Elizabeth Fanshawe

Portrait notes:

This picture belongs to a set of portraits of the family of Thomas 'Customer' Smythe (1522-1591), the collector of customs duties in the Port of London and one of the wealthiest merchants and financiers of his day. Karen Hearn highlighted the significance of this group in the exhibition catalogue to Dynasties: Painting in Tudor and Jacobean England 1530-1630, which included three portraits from the set, stating that: 'no comparable contemporary group of English paintings, of such extent and quality and by a securely identified artist has survived' (exhibition catalogue, Tate Britain, London, 1995, p. 108).

The attribution of this group to Ketel was first suggested by Dr. Malcolm Rogers, who noted that the inscriptions began with the artist's very distinctive serpentine 'A' for 'Anno'. Each portrait bears the date '1579' and the sitter's age. While the present inscription and date clearly reads '1573' it would appear to have been mistranscribed from '1579' when the background and inscription underwent restoration.

The portrait of Thomas Smythe only survives in a copy, however the portraits of his wife, Alice; three of their sons, Thomas (b. 1558), Richard (b. 1563) and Robert (b. 1567); and three of their daughters, Ursula (b. 1555), Joan (b. 1560) and Alice (1564), have descended in the sitters' family; while portraits of their eldest son, John (b. 1557) is in the Yale Center for British Art and daughter Mary (b. 1554) is in a private collection. Given this sitter's recorded age in 1579, this portrait almost certainly depicts Thomas and Alice's youngest child, Elizabeth (b. 1572).


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Elizabeth Fanshawe's Timeline

February 10, 1572
Age 21
November 16, 1596
Age 24
Age 28
Age 36
June 3, 1631
Age 59
June 1631
Age 59