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New thoughts on Adrian Vanson and Adam de Colone: technical study of works attributed to two Jacobean émigré artists.

Religious persecution and fortuitous trade relationships led many Protestant Netherlanders to emigrate to Britain in the sixteenth century. Vanson and de Colone are notable amongst this group as they were patronised by the highest echelons of society: Vanson was James VI’s court painter before his accession to the English throne and de Colone arguably the most fashionable portrait painter in 1620s Scotland.

Thomson, whose publications remain a seminal source, constructed their core oeuvres in the 1970s. However, little technical examination has been undertaken on works attributed to either artist to date. Discussion of the comparative examination of 23 paintings undertaken during the speaker’s time as the Courtauld Institute of Art’s Caroline Villers Research Fellow will be presented (including thirteen focus portraits from the National Galleries of Scotland and National Trust collections and ten paintings which were examined in situ). Materials and techniques used to create these works were examined using established methods of technical art history with the aim of illuminating both artists’ workshop practices and clarifying issues of attribution and identity in relation to each. The discovery during the research of a hitherto completely unknown underlying portrait of Mary, Queen of Scots in X-radiography will also be discussed.

Reception to follow at 79 North Street, breakout space on the 2nd floor

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