Gallery of prints for sale

Monday 28 September 2020

Jacob Houbraken’s etching and engraving, “Portrait of John Maitland, Duke of Lauderdale”, 1740, after Peter Lely


Jacob Houbraken (aka Jacobus Houbraken) (1698–1780)

“Portrait of John Maitland, Duke of Lauderdale”, 1740, from the series, “Birch's Heads” (aka “The Heads of Illustrious Persons of Great Britain, Engraved by Mr Houbraken and Mr Vertue, with their Lives and Characters by Thomas Birch, A.M.F.R.S.”), after the painting by Peter Lely (aka Sir Peter Lely; Pieter van der Faes) (1618–1680) in the National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh (inv. no. 2128), engraved in Amsterdam and published in London in 1740 (as inscribed on plate) by John Knapton (fl.1735–1789) and his brother Paul Knapton (1703–1755).

Regarding the auricular styled frame around the portrait, the Curator of the British Museum advises that Hubert-François Gravelot (aka Hubert François Bourguignon Gravelot; Hubert François Bourguignon) (1699–1773) “was responsible for the ornamental surrounds which were engraved first” (see (

Etching and engraving on laid paper trimmed close to the platemark.

Size: (sheet) 39.8 x 24.3 cm; (image borderline) 37.6 x 23.8 cm.

Inscribed on plate within the image borderline: “IOHN DUKE OF LAUDERDALE”.

Lettered on plate below the image borderline: (left) “P. Lely pinx.”; (left of centre) “In the Collection of Right Hon: the Earl of Dysert”; (right of centre) “Impensis I. & P. Knapton Londini 1740.”; (right) “J. Houbraken Sculps. Amst. 1740.”

State ii (of ii) with the addition of publication details.

Ver Huell 59 (Alexander Ver Huell 1875, “Jacobus Houbraken et Son Oeuvre”, Arnhem, P. Gouda Quint, p. 112, cat. no. 59); O'Donoghue 4 (Freeman O'Donoghue 1908–25, “Catalogue of Engraved British Portraits Preserved in the Department of Prints and Drawings in the British Museum”, 6 vols., London, cat. no. 4).

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:

“Portrait of John Maitland, Duke of Lauderdale, bust directed to left but looking at the viewer, wearing a neckerchief and brocaded jacket with star of the Order of the Garter; in an ornamental oval; an owl and books below; state with publisher's address; after Peter Lely. 1740”


See also the description of this print offered by the Rijksmuseum:

Condition: well-printed, near faultless impression, trimmed close to the platemark as published. There is a hole (from binding?) at lower-left in the margin and a pencil note from a previous collector at upper-right margin; otherwise the sheet is in excellent condition with no tears, folds, abrasions, stains, foxing or signs of handling.

I am selling this remarkable portrait showing collaboration between the engraver of the Baroque frame surrounding the portrait (viz. Hubert-François Gravelot) and Houbraken who engraved of the portrait of John Maitland—a Scottish politician who achieved “notoriety for his repressive rule in Scotland during Charles II’s reign” (—for AU$254 (currently US$179.85/EUR154.06/GBP139.91at the time of posting this print) including Express Mail (EMS) postage and handling to anywhere in the world, but not (of course) any import duties/taxes imposed by some countries.

If you are interested in purchasing this fascinating portrait where the portrayed frame acts to give symbolic and psychological meaning to the sitter—in my personal reading I see the symbolic attributes of scholarly wisdom ( viz. books, scrolled documents, owl and tree of knowledge) as anchoring a blustery storm of the sitter’s temperament—please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This print has been sold

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