Historic paintings

Adriaen van Cronenburgh
Katheryn of Berain

British School, 17th century
Portrait of Philip Proger

National Museum Cardiff celebrated the acquisition of Portrait of William Herbert, 1st Earl of Pembroke by an Unknown Artist of the Netherlandish School (c.1560–5) by re-displaying our other early Welsh portraits. Most of the surviving paintings from the sixteenth century in Wales are portraits painted on wooden panels. They mainly depict wealthy members of the nobility and gentry who could afford to travel to London to have their likenesses taken by the immigrant Netherlandish artists who ran large portrait workshops there. The display includes the portrait Katheryn of Berain (who was known as 'The Mother of Wales' because of her numerous marriages connecting her to many important Welsh families) by Adriaen van Cronenburgh, probably painted abroad in about 1568, the double portrait Sir Thomas Mansel and his wife Jane, showing them touchingly holding hands, of about 1625 and the charming Portrait of Philip Proger, a courtier depicted holding a leek as was common for Welshmen celebrating St David's Day at Court in London.

The collection also includes an important display of early miniatures by artists such as Hilliard, Isaac Oliver and John Hoskins. These works can be compared with the paintings produced throughout Europe during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, including superb examples of the work of Cima da Conegliano and Amico Aspertini, working in Italy in the sixteenth century, important European landscape paintings of the seventeenth century including works by Poussin, Claude, Van de Cappelle, Aelbert Cuyp and Jan Asselyn, and Northern European paintings by Rubens, Van Dyck, Frans Hals and Mathieu Le Nain.