Portrait of Sir Edward Lord Littleton, First Baron Littleton (1589-1645)

Oil on canvas
Image size: 37 3/4 x 30 inches (95.75 x 76.25 cm)
Hand carved auricular frame



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Sir Edward Littleton was Solicitor-General to Charles I, 1634-40; Chief Justice of Common Pleas, January 1640-January 1641; Lord Keeper, 1641-45.

Painted in his robes, and wearing the chain of office, of the Chief Justice of the Commons Pleas; the dress of the sitter dates the painting to the last eighteen months of van Dyck’s life. The picture was probably painted to celebrate Littleton’s preferment to the Chief Justiceship; various copies were undertaken for circulation among friends.

Autograph versions of this work exist in a private collection (see Barnes, et al., Van Dyck, p. 553), and at Hagley Hall, Staffordshire. There are four known copies: in the Harvard Law School Art Collection; the Inner Temple, London; the National Portrait Gallery; and this present version of the head and shoulders (noted in Barnes, et al., Van Dyck, p. 553).

Lionel Cust, Anthony van Dyck: An Historical Study of his Life and Works (London, 1900), p. 278; this version listed Susan J. Barnes, Nora de Poorter, Oliver Millar, and Horst Vey, Van Dyck: a Complete Catalogue of the Paintings (New Haven and London, 2004), pp. 553-4.