Portrait of a Gentleman, formerly William Parker

Portrait of a Gentleman, formerly William Parker

about 1605
John de Critz, British, 1551-1641
Oil paint on panel
Gift of the Berger Collection Educational Trust

John de Critz, Portrait of a Gentleman, formerly William Parker, about 1605. Oil paint on panel; 42 7/8 ×31 1/2 in. (108.9 × 80 cm). Gift of the Berger Collection Educational Trust, 2021.24

image height: 42 7/8 in, 108.9025 cm; image width: 31 1/2 in, 80.01 cm; frame height: 56 in, 142.24 cm; frame width: 46 in, 116.84 cm; frame depth: 4 1/4 in, 10.795 cm
European and American Art Before 1900
European Painting and Sculpture before 1900

This painting by the Flemish artist John de Critz has traditionally been thought to represent William Parker, 4th Baron Monteagle and 11th Baron Morley, famous in British history for uncovering the Gunpowder Plot, a Catholic conspiracy to blow up the Houses of Parliament and assassinate James I on November 5, 1605. Our picture was thought to date from about 1615, when Parker, who was born in 1575, would have been about age 40. However, recent research on the life of de Critz revealed that the artist lost his sight around 1605, so the picture could not have been painted later. Thus it is unlikely that the sitter is William Parker, who would have been only about 30 in 1605, while our picture portrays a man likely older than 50. The identification of the sitter as William Parker may have been the hopeful suggestion of a previous owner of the picture, a 19th-century antiquarian. 

Known Provenance
John Webb (1770-1869) by 1866; Christie’s, New York, November 14, 1979, lot 131 (attributed to Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger); private collection, UK; with Lane Fine Art, London; from which acquired by William M. B. and Bernadette Berger; Berger Collection Educational Trust; gifted to the Denver Art Museum, 2021. Provenance research is on-going at the Denver Art Museum and we will post information as it becomes available. Please e-mail provenance@denverartmuseum.org, if you have questions, or if you have additional information to share with us.

Some images in our online collection are at thumbnail size, in accordance with AAMD guidelines, because they are protected by copyright. The Denver Art Museum respects the rights of artists or their representatives who retain the copyright to their work. Other images represent the best photography available and should be used as reference images only. Please complete the Image Rights Request form if you want to request a high resolution image.