I’ve got lots of art crushes – something that I want to explore further here when I have time. Suffice to say, however that I absolutely love portraits. If fact, I think I’d like to specialise in them one day.
My art crush for this month is William Dobson. I discovered him in a roundabout way – via Charles II, his cousin Prince Rupert and the lovely artist Van Dyck. When I say discover – I heard about Dobson painting a ‘lost’ portrait of Prince Rupert in Charles Spencer’s biography of him – I love anything about him, especially portraits and there are quite a lot of those (and not just by Dobson).
Van Dyck is another hero of mine, a very accomplished (and flattering) court painter for Charles I, and Dobson replaces him when he dies. The other interesting thing about him is that he painted so few art works before his premature death, and these were during one of the most turbulent times – the English Civil War.
Some of you will have come across Dobson due to the 400th anniversary of his birth this year, and there is a lovely website on him here. There was also a great documentary linked to this site shown on BBC Four, and this is well worth seeing if you can. It is also well worth picking up a second hand copy of the exhibition catalogue from the last major exhibition in the 1980s (which I have, it’s lovely), though it has gone up a lot in price recently!
So when are we getting an up to date exhibition on William Dobson? I’m waiting!
A great book on Rupert – Prince Rupert: the Last Cavalier by Charles Spencer
William Dobson Exhibition Catalogue 1611-1646 by Malcolm Rogers
An engraving of the lost Dobson portrait of Rupert can be seen here. An old photograph of an unfinished version of the portrait can also be seen here (as well as in the exhibition catalogue). Scroll down to number 37 for Rupert, but the others are equally interesting.
The is also an interesting book about Endymion Porter (a court subject, who was painted by both Van Dyck and Dobson), from an exhibition from the 1970s. Endymion Porter and William Dobson is by William Vaughan, and I viewed it via a local Library.
Whilst many Dobson portraits remain in private hands, here are a just a couple of galleries you can view his work:
The Tate Gallery
National Portrait Gallery
So, who else likes Dobson then? Any favourite portraits? I also love his portrait of Colonel John Russell.