The provenance of this panel is unknown. It is only first mentioned in connection with the Borghese Collection in 1893. Most likely executed in the first years of the 17th century, this half-length portrait depicts an anonymous gentleman in uniform against a dark background, which allows his long, wavy hair to emerge delicately. The vague resemblance to Sir Thomas Lucy has led critics to suggest that it was painted by an unknown English artist. The work shows cracks at the points where the pieces of wood were originally joined to form the panel.
Frame, 44.6 x 34.6 x c.3.5 cm
Rome, Borghese Collection 1893 (A. Venturi 1893). P urchased by Italian state, 1902.
The first information we have about this painting dates to 1893, when Adolfo Venturi described it in his Catalogo as a work by the Dutch artist Francis van Mieris. His attribution was accepted by both George Lafenestre (1905) and Roberto Longhi (1928) but partially rejected by Paola della Pergola (1959), who following a comparison with the Portrait of Sir Thomas Lucy ascribed to William Larkin (Charlecote Park, Warwickshire, inv. no. 533854) wrote of an anonymous English master of the early 17th century.
Yet even if we accept Della Pergola’s attribution, a number of uncertainties still surround this work, beginning with the fact the man portrayed here only vaguely resembles Sir Thomas Lucy.