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IIIF Actions
Willem Wissing, ca. 1656–1687, Dutch, active in Britain (by 1676)
and background by Jan Wyck, ca. 1645–1700, Dutch, active in Britain (from ca. 1664)

An Unknown Man, Probably the ninth Earl of Derby

Former Title(s):

An Unknown Man, Probably the 9th Earl of Derby

Oil on canvas
49 3/4 x 40 3/8 inches (126.4 x 102.6 cm)

Signed, lower left: "W. Wissing fecit. C24"

Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Fund
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
Paintings and Sculpture
Subject Terms:
battle | costume | earl | horses (animals) | men | nobleman | portrait | smoke
Associated People:
Stanley, William (1655-1702), ninth earl of Derby
On view in the galleries
IIIF Manifest:

After moving to England from The Hague at age twenty, Willem Wissing worked as an assistant to Sir Peter Lely before establishing himself as an independent portrait painter. This impressive martial portrait almost certainly represents William Stanley, ninth Earl of Derby (1655–1702), who inherited the office of Lord Lieutenant of Cheshire and Lancashire in 1676. As Lord Lieutenant, Lord Derby was responsible for commanding the local militia, and here he is represented heroically in full armor, standing nonchalantly before a fierce skirmish below a fort. It is striking that Restoration portraits such as this often represented male sitters and their accessories with the same sensuousness that we find in the eroticized depictions of female sitters. Painting in this period was also often collaborative. In this example, the skirmish in the background was painted by Jan Wyck, a fellow Dutch artist and a specialist in battle scenes.

Gallery label for installation of YCBA collection, 2016

Art in Focus : The British Castle - A Symbol in Stone (Yale Center for British Art, 2017-04-07 - 2017-08-06) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Art in Focus : William III (Yale Center for British Art, 2011-04-08 - 2011-07-31) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Malcolm Cormack, A Concise Catalogue of Paintings in the Yale Center for British Art, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 1985, pp. 256-257, N590.2 A83 (YCBA) [YCBA]

The British Castle : A Symbol in Stone, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, 2017, p. 17, cat. 12, V2722 [ORBIS]

William III, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 2011, p. 22, V2340 [ORBIS]

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