circle of Herman Verelst, A Young Woman, traditionally called Anne Poole, Lady Horner

Photo courtesy of Dave Penman (All Rights Reserved)


Country House
Mells Manor
A Young Woman, traditionally called Anne Poole, Lady Horner
Medium and support
Oil on canvas
Overall height: 73 cm, Overall width: 59 cm
circle of Herman Verelst (c.1641-c.1690)
Catalogue Number


This portrait draws on costumes and poses used in portraits by Sir Peter Lely, principal painter to Charles II, and Willem Wissing, who had been Lely’s studio assistant. Wissing purchased studio props from Lely after his death in 1680 and continued to use similar poses until his early death in 1687. His portraits were widely reproduced and this portrait is similar to that of Catherine Sedley, Countess of Dorchester, reproduced in mezzotint by Robert Williams (National Portrait Gallery, London, NPG D1770). The execution, however, does not resemble Wissing’s work but that of the Dutch painter Herman Verelst, who moved to London in 1683. The face has been finely modelled, while the brushstrokes of the draperies are much looser, suggesting different hands and that the artist, whether Verelst or another artist working in his manner, was operating a workshop practice. 

This portrait has traditionally been known as of Anne Poole (d. 1678), daughter of Sir Neville Poole and wife of Sir George Horner (MM32). Her exact date of birth is unknown but it appears to have been between 1620 and 1630. If she was, therefore, the subject of the present portrait she would have been aged at least sixty at the time it was painted. As the woman in the portrait is a young woman, probably in her twenties, she cannot be identified as Anne Poole. The sitter is unknown but may possibly be Elizabeth Fortescue (1658–1693), daughter of Colonel Robert Fortescue (MM38) who married Anne and George Horner I’s son, George Horner II (MM42).

 Sir Oliver Millar, who viewed the portrait at Mells in 1994, commented briefly, ‘“Anne Poole”; c. 1690 and near Hawker; bust of girl ful. [sic] front in painted oval, c. 1690’.1 ‘Hawker’ was Thomas Hawker (c.1640–c.1722). Little is known of him, other than that he moved into Sir Peter Lely’s house in London following his death in 1680, and may have been a studio assistant.

by Amy Lim


  1. Oliver Millar, ‘Mells Manor (11 July 1994)’, Journal XII, p. 37, Paul Mellon Centre Archive, London, ONM/1/2/22.


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