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IIIF Actions
Cornelius Johnson, 1593–1661
Martha Temple, Lady Penyston (1595-1620)
Former Title(s):

Portrait of a Woman, traditionally identified as the Countess of Arundel

A Lady Called the Countess of Arundel
Materials & Techniques:
Oil on panel
29 x 26 inches (73.7 x 66 cm)

Inscribed in a later hand in yellow paint, lower left: "COUNTESS OF ARUNDEL."

Signed and dated in black paint, lower right: "Cornelius Johnson | fecit 1619"

Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
Paintings and Sculpture
Subject Terms:
bird | collar | Cornish chough | costume | earrings | gold | Jacobean | lace | oval | portrait | red | Tudor | white (color) | woman
Associated People:
Temple, Martha, Lady Penyston (1595–1620)
Not on view
IIIF Manifest:

Cornelius Johnson was born to a family that had immigrated to London in the sixteenth century but traced its roots back to Cologne in Germany. It is not known where Johnson trained as an artist, and it is possible that he traveled to mainland Europe to receive instruction. Like other artists active in London during the second decade of the seventeenth century, Johnson followed the fashion for depicting his sitters within a feigned oval, signing his name either in full (as in this picture) or by using his initials (as on the portrait of Sir Alexander Temple nearby) in the bottom right of the painting. Johnson would continue this practice throughout his long career, and later in life, after he left England for the Netherlands, he described himself variously as “of London” and “of Cologne.”

Gallery label for installation of YCBA collection, 2016

Inscriptions were occasionally added to family portraits long after they were finished, spelling out the name and age of the sitter for the benefit of descendants. These interventions were not always deceitful-the work of forgers or unscrupulous picture dealers-but bona fide inscriptions often perpetuate the very mistakes they were intended to avoid. This sitter looks nothing like other portraits of Alathea Talbot, who was Countess of Arundel in 1619. Instead, she was probably Lady Elizabeth Stuart, who became Countess of Arundel when her husband, Lord Maltravers (1608-1652), succeeded the 14th Earl in 1646.

Gallery label for installation of YCBA collection, 2005

Malcolm Cormack, Concise Catalogue of Paintings in the Yale Center for British Art, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 1985, pp. 128-129, N590.2 A83 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Cornelius Johnson, 1593-1661 : painter to king & country, The Weiss Gallery, London, 2016, p. 22, fig. 5, NJ18.J26225 A12 2016 (LC) OVERSIZE (YCBA) [YCBA]

A. J. Finberg, A Chronological List of Portraits by Cornelius Johnson, or Jonson, Volume of the Walpole Society, vol. 10, London, 1921-1922, p. 7, cat. 1, N12 W35 A1 + (YCBA) [YCBA]

Karen Hearn, Cornelius Johnson, London, 2015, p. 15, fig. 6, NJ18 J26225 H43 2015 (YCBA) [YCBA]

John Matthews, The Temple Family portaits by Cornelius Johnson and others, Genealogists' Magazine, vol. 31, March 2013, pp. 10-11, Vertical File v 2587 (YCBA) [YCBA]

John Rushout Northwick, Catalogue of the collection of pictures at Northwick Park, Chiswick Press, London, 1921, p. 125, cat. 317, N5247 N67 A55 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Roy C. Strong, The Stuart Image : English portraiture 1603 to 1649, The Boydell Press, Woodbridge, 2023, p.122, fig. 4.20, ND1300 .S87 2023 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Ian Tyers, The tree-ring analysis of 23 panel paintings from the Yale Center for British Art , New Haven : dendrochronological consultancy report 470, , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, 2011, pp. 13, 16, 28, 75-77, fig. 44, CC78.3 .T94 2011 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Ellis Waterhouse, The Dictionary of 16th & 17th Century British Painters, Antique Collectors' Club, Woodbridge, Suffolk, 1988, p. 144, ND464 W38 1988 (LC) (YCBA) [YCBA]

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