Lot 189: John M. Wright Portrait of Sir Willoughby Aston
May 18, 2013
Knoxville , TN, USALive Auction
Description: John Michael Wright (British, 1617-1694), portrait of Sir Willoughby Aston, 2nd Baronet (1640-1702). The subject, in brown satin attire, is seated in front of an open window with landscape visible beyond. Housed in an elaborate carved gilt frame. Frame with several old labels en verso including one for Thomas Agnew, a 19th century frame carver, gilder and retailer for art. This label reads "Thomas Agnew/Late Agnew & Zanetti/Carver, Gilder/Sterling, (illegible), Picture Frame, (illegible)/Printseller, Publisher/ (illegible)/18 Exchange Street/(illegible)/old paintings cleaned, restored in an imprexed (sic) manner". Another label for James Bourlet & Sons Ltd., established in 1828, reads "James Bourlet & Sons, Ltd/Fine Art Packers, Frame Makers/A1314/17 & 18, Naussau Street, Mortimer Street, W./Phone, Museum 1871." A label for Old Bond St. Galleries in London and Exchange Art Gallery, Dale Street, in Liverpool is also en verso. An old fabric label has "20" but illegible handwriting. Sight - 47 7/8"; H x 39 1/4" W. Framed - 58" H x 49 1/4" W. Provenance: Featured in both the Aston collection, United Kingdom and the Dulin Gallery of Art (predecessor to the Knoxville Museum of Art) collection, Knoxville, TN. Biography : John Michael Wright was an English Baroque portrait painter. He was apprenticed to George Jamesone in Edinburgh, 1636-41, then spent a long period abroad, chiefly in Rome, where in 1648 he became a member of the Accademia di S. Luca - the only British painter of the 17th century to have this distinction. On his return to England in 1656, he won many patrons among his fellow Catholics and became Lely's chief rival. His style was less glossy than Lely's but more penetrating and individual in characterization, his sitters tending to look thoughtful rather than merely glamorous. Wright was a collector, antiquarian, and scholar, and a man of considerable culture: in 1685 he accompanied an embassy from James II to Pope Innocent XI and wrote an account of it in Italian, published in 1687. However, he never had great worldly success and died in modest circumstances. Source: The Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists.
Condition Report: Condition: Relined in the 19th century. Subject has been aggressively cleaned in the past. Blacklighting reveals inpainting in background of shoulder area and upper right corner.