This study illustrates the use of a frame stamp, costume, and the sitters’ vital dates to examine the identification of the sitters.


Of fine quality, this painting was given to Pembroke in 1993 as a double portrait of the College’s co-founder, Thomas Tesdale (1547-1610), and his wife, Maude 1545-1616). Recent examination revealed a Christie stamp ‘590BJ’ on the back of the frame. The number cross-references to the catalogue of a sale held at Christie’s on 30 March 1908, p.15 (lot 99) for which the entry reads: ‘Flemish School. Portrait of a Nobleman and his Wife, in black slashed dresses. On panel 33 in. by 45 in. Vendor: Shepherd Bros., King Street, St James’s; Sold to Wright for £25 4/1d.’


The entry confirms that by 1908 the portrait had lost its identification. Costume evidence, which supports the sale catalogue description of ‘a nobleman and his wife’, indicates that the portrait was painted c.1610-14, by which time Tesdale was deceased and his widow was over sixty-five years old.


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