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The valiant Scottish Earl Douglas, also called 'Black Dudley', in a black cap with a little medal, profile - or is it?

In the early 16th century Charles II D'Amboise commissioned Bernardino de' Conti to do a portrait painting for him in 1505 AD. Although a friend and patron of Leonardo Da Vinci, D'Amboise picked de' Conti for his traditional style of oil painting.

Prominently inscribed on the top left the painting reads, "The Earl of Douglas surnamed Black Dudley" (referring to James, Lord of Douglas c.1286-1330).

It is unknown how many renditions de' Conti created, but there is one that resides in the Seattle Art Museum, another once owned by Henry VIII belongs to the Royal Family (Hanging notes: above the door of the Coffer Chamber; Location: Privy Gallery), and at least one belongs in a private collection.

A 'little picture' appears in the inventory of Henry VIII in 1542, Whitehall Palace no. 774. It is recorded as: Sold to: R [reserved], sold; Witchard Sold for: £2 10s; Sale date: 22/03/1649 or 50

Below - the inscription

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Comment by William Douglas on September 22, 2021 at 11:26

The Seattle art Museum promotes a challenge:



ITALIAN, MILAN, CA. 1470 - CA. 1522

The French nobleman Charles d’Amboise became the governor of the Duchy of Milan after it was conquered by France. The collar of scallop shells and knots denotes the Order of Saint Michael, granted to him about 1505, perhaps the occasion for commissioning this portrait.

D’Amboise was a friend and patron of Leonardo da Vinci, but he hired a more conservative artist for his portrait and chose to be portrayed in a classic profile view, which records his features but provides no psychological insight. He most likely wanted to link his image with the great rulers of the ancient past, depicted in side views on coins and medals like those shown in the case nearby. D’Amboise himself was an avid coin collector, as he proudly demonstrates here.
Oil on panel, 13 3/4 x 12 1/2 in. (34.9 x 31.8 cm), Samuel H. Kress Collection, 61.150
Provenance:King Henry VIII of England (1491-1547), by 1542 (as listed in Westminster Palace wardrobe accounts); by inheritence to King Edward VI of England (1537-1553); by inheritence to Mary I, Queen of England (1516-1558); by inheritence to Elizabeth I, Queen of England (1533-1603); by inheritence to James I, King of England (1566-1625), by inheritence to Charles I, King of England (1600-1649) (mentioned in the Inventory of the Collection of Charles I, published by Vertue, 1757, thought to represent the valiant Scottish Earl Douglas, called Black Dudley); [probably Charles I (Commonwealth) sale, 1649-1651]; John Sholto Douglas, 9th Marquess of Queensberry (1844-1900) (exhibited National Portrait exhibition, South Kensington Museum, London, 1866, no. 12, as portrait of James, Earl of Douglas, by an unknown artist); [Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland, by 1866 (exhibited, National Portrait exhibition, South Kensington Museum, London, 1866, no. 12, as "portrait of James, Earl of Douglas, by an unknown artist); Charles Alexander Douglas-Home, 12th Earl of Home (1834-1918), the Hirsel, Borders, Scotland, by 1909 (exhibited, Burlington Fine Arts Club, London, 1909, no. 47, as “An Italian Nobleman” by Bernardino de’Conti); [Frank T. Sabin (d. 1915), London]; [Paul Drey, New York]; purchased from Drey’s by Samuel H. Kress Foundation, New York, 1948 (exhibited Themes and Variations, Baltimore Museum of Art , Apr 15-May 23 1948, p. 12 of catalogue; Leonarda da Vinci, Los Angeles Country Museum , Los Angeles, CA, June 3- July 17 1949, no. 45 of catalogue by W.E. Suida); Seattle Art Museum, since 1952, accessioned 1961

Making conections

The more information you can give about the people you mention, the more chance there is of someone else connecting with your family.

Dates and places of births, deaths and marriages all help to place families.

Professions also help.

'My great-grandmother mother was a Douglas from Montrose' does not give many clues to follow up! But a bit of flesh on the bones makes further research possible. But if we are told who she married, what his profession was and where the children were baptised, then we can get to work.

Maybe it is time to update the information in your profile?

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