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Artist Unknown

Cornelius Janssen van Ceulen

British, b.1593, d.1661 (After)

Portrait of the poet Edmund Waller, Esq.

  • Purchased, 1978
  • Oil on canvas
  • 900 x 775 x 35mm
  • 79/292
  • c. 17th Century

This portrait has recently been identified as a copy of an original portrait of the seventeenth century English poet Edmund Waller (1606 - 1687) an identification which is confirmed by inscriptions on the canvas. The original by Cornelius Janssen van Ceulen (1593- 1661, also known as Cornelius Johnson) was painted in 1629.

Edmund Waller was a well-known English poet and statesman and just 23 when the original 1629 portrait was made. He was also at that time one of the twelve wealthiest men in England. Another copy is known to be in the collection of the Bodleian Library, England.

earlier labels about this work
  • The name of this man is not known, but his extravagant clothing, such as the densely pleated ruff collar, suggests that he was a young nobleman of some standing, possibly Flemish or Dutch rather than English. Cornelius Johnson often painted an oval round his subject’s head, rather like a miniature portrait, and this became a hallmark of his paintings. Johnson worked in a highly detailed, meticulous style, influenced by the Flemish painter Van Dyck (1599-1641) after his visit to London in 1620. Johnson’s parents travelled to England as refugees from Antwerp. He was born in London but is believed to have trained in Holland. Johnson returned to London c.1618 and established a successful practice specialising in portraits of court nobility and the wealthy. Johnson was sworn in as the King’s Painter in 1632. However, the English Civil War began in 1642 and he left for Holland in1 643. Johnson was reportedly ruined by an extravagant second wife and died in poor circumstances in Utrecht. (Label from 2003)