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Sir Robert Walpole, 1st earl of Orford [1676-1745], Houghton Hall, Norfolk; by inheritance to his son, Robert Walpole, 2nd earl of Orford [1700-1751], Houghton Hall; by inheritance to his son, George Walpole, 3rd earl of Orford [1730-1791], Houghton Hall; sold 1779, through Count Aleksei Semonovich Musin-Pushkin, Russian ambassador to England, to Catherine II, empress of Russia [1729-1796], Saint Petersburg; Imperial Hermitage Gallery, Saint Petersburg, inv. no. 418; sold July 1930, as a painting by Velázquez, through (Matthiesen Gallery, Berlin; P. & D. Colnaghi & Co., London; and M. Knoedler & Co., New York) to Andrew W. Mellon, Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C.; deeded 30 March 1932 to The A.W. Mellon Educational and Charitable Trust, Pittsburgh; gift 1937 to NGA.

Exhibition History

Spanish Painting, The Toledo (Ohio) Museum of Art, 1941, no. 66.
Houghton Hall: The Prime Minister, The Empress and The Heritage, Castle Museum Norwich; Kenwood House, London, 1996-1997, no. 52, repro., as Ascribed to Diego Velázquez.
Houghton Revisited: The Walpole Masterpieces from Catherine the Great's Hermitage, Houghton Hall, King's Lynn, 2013, no. 14, repro.
Houghton Hall: Portrait of an English Country House, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; California Palace of the Legion of Honor, The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco; Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville, 2014-2015, unnumbered catalogue, repro. (shown only in Houston and San Francisco).
Velázquez, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna; Galeries nationales du Grand Palais, Paris, 2014-2015, no. 72, repro. (shown only in Paris).

Technical Summary

The picture is on loosely woven plain-weave fabric which has had all tacking edges removed and is attached to a plain-weave lining fabric. The paint is of rather freely and broadly applied oils, ranging in consistency from rich pastes to heavy glazes of red. Under the visible image is an earlier composition of a man dressed in a fur-trimmed mozzetta, wearing a close fitting, fur-trimmed cap. His features are slightly lower than those of the man in the visible image. The eyes of the underlying portrait are blue, rather than black/brown as in the finished portrait. The paint used for the visible image is not noticeably more recent than the paint utilized for the underlying portrait. The paint and ground present an overall branched crackle pattern, which is shared by the upper and lower layers. There are scattered flake losses in the upper paint layer which extend only as far as the lower layer. Deeper, larger losses, which have fill or inpaint applied, are in the upper and lower left corners. It is unlikely that the portrait would present so uniform an appearance if the upper layer were added at a date much later than the original portrait. The varnish has an independent crackle pattern and is slightly opaque.


Walpole, Horace. Aedes Walpolianae: or a Description of the collection of pictures at Houghton Hall in Norfolk, the seat of Sir Robert Walpole, Earl of Orford. London, 1752: 67 (also 1767 ed.: 67).
Stirling-Maxwell, William. Velázquez and His Works. London, 1855: 248 (also French ed. 1865: 286, no. 194).
Curtis, Charles B. Velázques and Murillo, a Descriptive and Historical Catalogue .... London and New York, 1883: 77, no. 186.
Justi, Carl. Diego Velázquez und sein Jahrhundert. Bonn, 1888: 2:191 (rev. ed. 1903; 3d ed. 1933: 580; also English rev. ed. 1889: 580.
Lefort, Paul. Velázquez. Paris, 1888: 86.
Bruiningk, E. and Andrei Somoff. Ermitage Impérial: catalogue de la galérie des tableaux, I; les écoles d'Italie et d'Espagne. Saint Petersburg, 1891: 225-226, no. 418.
Stirling-Maxwell, William. Annals of the Artists of Spain. 3 (1848): 1402 (also 1891 ed., 4: 1586).
Beruete y Moret, Aureliano de. Velázquez. Paris, 120-121, 207 (also English ed. 1906: 86, 88, 159, pl. 60).
Somoff, Andrei Ivanovich. Ermitage Impérial: catalogue de la galérie des tableaux, I; les écoles d'Italie et d'Espagne. Saint Petersburg, 1899: 189, no. 418 (also 1909 ed.: 189-190, no. 418).
Gensel, Walther. Velázquez: des Meisters Gemälde. Klassiker der Kunst. Stuttgart and Leipzig, 1905: repro. 74.
Stevenson, R.A.M. Velázquez. London, 1906: 148.
Calvert, Albert F., and C. Gasquoine Hartley. Velázquez: An Account of His Life and Works. London, 1908: 114-115, 218.
Wrangell, Baron Nicolas. Les Chefs-d'Oeuvre de la Galérie de Tableaux de l'Hermitage Impérial à St-Pétersbourg. London, 1909: x, xxxi, fig. 45.
Mayer, August L. Geschichte der spanischen Malerei. 2 vols. Leipzig, 1913: 2:173 (also 1922 ed.: 414).
Gensel, Walter, and Valerian von Loga. Velázquez, des Meisters Gemälde. Klassiker der Kunst. Stuttgart and Berlin, 1914: 264, n. 168, repro. 168.
Mayer, August L. Diego Velázquez. Berlin, 1924: 141-144, fig. 80.
Gensel, Walter, and Juan Allende-Salazar. Velázquez: des Meisters Gemälde. Klassiker der Kunst. Berlin and Leipzig, 1925: 130, 282.
Kehrer, Hugo. Spanische Kunst von Greco bis Goya. Munich, 1926: 132-133.
Kehrer, Hugo. "Koepfe des Velázquez." Estudios eruditos in memoriam de Adolfo Borilla y San Martín. Madrid, 1930: 2:373.
Lunacharsky, A. V. Selected Works of Art from the Fine Art Museums of the U.S.S.R: Pictures by European Masters and Russian Painters of the XVII and XIX Centuries. Moscow, 1930: unpaginated, color repro.
Mayer, August L. Velázquez: A Catalogue Raisonné of the Pictures and Drawings. London, 1936: 96, no. 411, pl. 138.
Cortissoz, Royal. An Introduction to the Mellon Collection. Boston, 1937: 9, 41-42, repro. facing 42, as by Velazquez.
Jewell, Edward Alden. "Mellon's Gift." Magazine of Art 30, no. 2 (February 1937): 82.
Mayer, August L. Velázquez. Paris, 1940: 20.
Preliminary Catalogue of Paintings and Sculpture. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1941: 207, no. 80, as by Diego Velázquez de Silva.
Book of Illustrations. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1942: 240, repro. 216, as by Diego de Silva y Velázquez.
Sánchez Cantón, Francisco J. "Como vivía Velázquez: inventario descubierto por D.F. Rodríguez Marín." Archivo Español de Arte y Arqueologia 15 (1942): 75, 81.
Lafuente Ferrari, Enrique. Paintings and Drawings of Velázquez: Complete Edition. London and New York, 1943: 27, no. 97, pl. 122.
Cairns, Huntington, and John Walker, eds. Masterpieces of Painting from the National Gallery of Art. New York, 1944: 78, color repro., as by Velazquez.
Cook 1945, 76-78, fig. 7.
Soria, Martin S. Review of The Paintings and Drawings of Velázquez by Enrique Lafuente Ferrari. In The Art Bulletin 27 (September, 1945): 214.
López-Rey, José. Review of Archivo Español de Arte (1940-1946). In Gazette des Beaux-Arts 33 (January-June 1948): 60.
Paintings and Sculpture from the Mellon Collection. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1949 (reprinted 1953 and 1958): 44, repro.
Pantorba, Bernardino de [José López Jiménez]. La vida y la obra de Velázquez: estudio biográfico crítico. Madrid, 1955: 178-180, no. 99, fig. 99.
Kapterewa, Tatjana. Velázquez und die spanische Porträtmalerie. Leipzig, 1956: 93, fig. 98.
Gerstenberg, Kurt. Diego Velázquez. Würzburg, 1957: 155-156, repro. 153, no. 138.
Gaya Nuño, Juan Anotonio. La pintura española fuera de España; historia y catàlogo. Madrid, 1958: 324-325, no. 2861.
Harris, Enriqueta. "Velázquez en Roma." Archivo Español de Arte y Arqueologia 31 (1958): 187.
Evans, Grose. Spanish Painting in the National Gallery of Art. Washington, D.C., 1960 (Booklet Number Ten in Ten Schools of Painting in the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.): 28, color repro., as by Diego Velazquez de Silva.
The National Gallery of Art and Its Collections. Foreword by Perry B. Cott and notes by Otto Stelzer. National Gallery of Art, Washington (undated, 1960s): 26, repro., as by Velazquez.
Walker, John. "Velázquez and Visualistic Painting." In Varia Velázqueña. Madrid, 1960: 174.
López-Rey, José. Velázquez: A Catalogue Raisonné of His Oeuvre. London, 1963: 274-275, no. 448, pl. 360.
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. New York, 1963 (reprinted 1964 in French, German, and Spanish): 166, repro.
Camón Aznar, José. Velázquez. 2 vols. Madrid, 1964: 2:730, 940, 1005, repro. 730.
Summary Catalogue of European Paintings and Sculpture. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1965: 134.
Cairns, Huntington, and John Walker, eds. A Pageant of Painting from the National Gallery of Art. 2 vols. New York, 1966: 1:206, color repro., as by Velázquez.
Gandolfo, Giampaolo et al. National Gallery of Art, Washington. Great Museums of the World. New York, 1968: 13-14, 121-122, color repro.
López-Rey, José. Velázquez' Work and World. London, 1958: 126.
National Gallery of Art. European Paintings and Sculpture: Illustrations. Washington, 1968: 121, repro.
Asturias, M.A., and P.M. Bardi. L'opera completa di Velázquez. Milan, 1969: 107a, repro.
Crombie, Theodore. "The Legacy of Victoria: Spanish Paintings at Apsley House." Apollo 98 (September, 1973): 213.
Finley, David Edward. A Standard of Excellence: Andrew W. Mellon Founds the National Gallery of Art at Washington. Washington, 1973: 23, 27 repro.
Gudiol y Ricart, José. Velázquez: 1559-1660. Translated by Kenneth Lyons. New York, 1974: 267, 281, 337, no. 137, fig. 207.
Hendy, Philip. European and American Paintings in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Boston, 1974: 272-273.
European Paintings: An Illustrated Summary Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1975: 360, repro.
López-Rey, José. Velázquez; the Artist as Maker. Lausanne and Paris, 1979: 128.
McKim-Smith, Gridley. "On Velázquez's Working Method." The Art Bulletin 61, no. 4 (December 1979): 594-597.
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. Rev. ed. New York, 1984: 247, no. 314, color repro, as by Diego Velazquez.
European Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1985: 418, repro.
Brown, Jonathan. Velázquez, Painter and Courtier. New Haven and London, 1986: 297, n. 24.
Brown, Jonathan, and Richard G. Mann. Spanish Paintings of the Fifteenth through Nineteenth Centuries. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. Washington, D.C., 1990: 124-127, repro. 123.
Hand, John Oliver. National Gallery of Art: Master Paintings from the Collection. Washington and New York, 2004: 171, no. 131, color repro.
Odom, Anne, and Wendy R. Salmond, eds. Treasures into Tractors: The Selling of Russia's Cultural Heritage, 1918-1938. Washington, D.C., 2009: 91, 96, 97, 99, 135 n. 62.
Semyonova, Natalya, and Nicolas V. Iljine, eds. Selling Russia's Treasures: The Soviet Trade in Nationalized Art 1917-1938. New York and London, 2013: 138, 139, 180, repro.
Jaques, Susan. The Empress of Art: Catherine the Great and the Transformation of Russia. New York, 2016: 397, color fig.

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