A Portrait of Lady Anne Carr (1615-1684) after Sir Anthony van Dyck (1599-1641).

Oil on canvas, 121.9cm by 96.5cm.

Lady Anne Carr was born in the Tower of London where her parents Robert Carr, later 1st Earl of Somerset, and his wife Frances Howard had been imprisoned, charged with murdering Sir Thomas Overbury, a poet and courtier and Robert Carr’s erstwhile friend.

A noted beauty, she became the wife of Lord William Russell, later 5th Earl of Bedford in 1637.

The following year Sir Anthony van Dyck painted at least two portraits of her, the most celebrated of which is at Petworth House, West Sussex.

Other versions are at Knole and Woburn and van Dyck’s drawing for the painting is in the British Museum.

The portrait came to Burghley as part of a magnificent bequest from Elizabeth, Countess of Devonshire (1619-1689), to her daughter Anne, Countess of Exeter (1649-1703).

The bequest, recorded in an inventory known as the 1690 Devonshire Schedule, lists: ‘Oyle Colour pictures….A picture of the Countesse of Bedford in a Guilt fframe.’


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