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Robert Peake the Elder, ca. 1551–1619
Portrait of a Woman, possibly Elizabeth Pope (ca. 1585; living 1624)
Former Title(s):

An Unknown Woman Called Elizabeth, Wife of Edward, Lord Montagu of Boughton [1985, Cormack, YCBA Concise Catalogue]

Portrait of a Woman, Possibly Frances Cotton, Lady Montagu, of Boughton Castle, Northamptonshire
ca. 1615
Materials & Techniques:
Oil on canvas
Frame: 36 × 29 3/8 × 2 1/2 inches (91.4 × 74.6 × 6.4 cm), 30 × 23 1/4 inches (76.2 × 59.1 cm)

Inscribed in yellow paint, center left: "Eliz. Wife of Edwd I Ld Montagu of Boughton | Dar. of Sr. Iohn Ieffery | Ld. Chief Baron of the | Exchequer."; Label on verso, upper left: “[underlined] Robert Peake | Elizabeth, Wife of Lord | Montagu of Boughton. | On loan from Hugh Leggatt. | (Lent anonymously) - Leggatt. | Bros. 30 St. James St, S.W.1. | Registrar, April, 1970.”; upper right: “Tate Gallery 145 | Artist <...> Title | Owner Date | Address Robert P[...] | Reason for arrival Leggatt”; upper right: “Fanfare for Europe | British Art Market | 1973 Exhibition | No: 21”; lower left: “[handwritten] B-15S | [typed] Owner | The Yale Center for British Arts | and British Studies (12/26/74) | Artist Peake, The Elder, | Robert | Title Portrait of a Lady | National Gallery of Art PM 7407”

Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
Paintings and Sculpture
Subject Terms:
costume | curtains | feather | gray | Jacobean | jewelry | lace | portrait | Tudor | woman
Not on view
IIIF Manifest:

Despite the later and erroneous inscription, this young woman wears fashions from the later 1610s and bears a striking resemblance to portraits of Elizabeth Watson, the daughter and heir of Sir Thomas Watson of Halstead in Kent. Portraits were often painted to mark significant events in a life, and this example may mark her marriage to Sir William Pope (1596–1624) of Wroxton Abbey, Oxfordshire, in 1615. Gallery label for installation of YCBA collection, 2016

This cannot be Elizabeth Jefferys (ca. 1568-1611), the first wife of Sir Edward Montagu (later 1st Baron Montagu of Boughton) (1562/63-1644). Lady Montagu died in middle age in 1611, whereas the woman in the portrait is not only young but dressed according to court fashions of the late 1610s. She is possibly Frances Cotton, Lord Montagu's second wife, whom he married in 1611 soon after the death of his first. The portrait may have been commissioned in 1616 to celebrate the birth of a male heir.

Gallery label for installation of YCBA collection, 2005

Hearst The Collector (Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 2008-11-09 - 2009-02-01) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

C. H. Collins Baker, Lely & the Stuart Portrait Painters : a study of English portraiture before & after Van Dyck, vol. 1, London, 1912, pp. 76-79, ND1314 B25 + (YCBA) [YCBA]

C. H. Collins Baker, Lely & the Stuart Portrait Painters : a study of English portraiture before & after Van Dyck, vol. 2, London, 1912, p. 113, cat. 7, ND1314 B25 + (YCBA) [YCBA]

Christie's sale catalogue : Pictures by old Masters : 23 & 24 October 1969, Christie's, London, 1969, lot. 281, Auction Catalogues (YCBA)

Malcolm Cormack, Concise Catalogue of Paintings in the Yale Center for British Art, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 1985, pp. 176-177, N590.2 A83 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Mary L. Levkoff, Hearst, the Collector, New York, 2008, pp. 97, 99, 239-40, cat. 130, N5220 H437 L48 2008 + (HAAS) [ORBIS]

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