circle of Michael Dahl, Anne Prideaux

Photo courtesy of Dave Penman (All rights reserved)


Country House
Anne Prideaux
? c.1737
Medium and support
Oil on canvas
Overall height: 74 cm, Overall width: 61 cm
circle of Michael Dahl (1659-1743)
Catalogue Number


Anne Prideaux (1718–1782), was the daughter of Sir Edmund Prideaux (1675–1728), fifth Baronet of Netherton, and Anne Hawkins (1687–1741), daughter of Philip Hawkins senior. In 1737 she married John Pendarves Basset (1713–1739; TN26) of Tehidy, Cornwall.1 After the death of her parents Anne commissioned from Henry Cheere a monument to their memory, erected in Westminster Abbey, ‘out of a due filial & affectionate regard to the memory of both of them’ (fig. 1). On the base of the monument is inscribed, ‘The above John Pendarves Bassett died 19th August 1739 leaving his said wife ensient of a son born 22nd May 1740 baptized John-Prideaux who dying in May 1756 lies interred in the same vault with his father at Illogen in Cornwall, the burying place of their ancestors; and the said Anne dying 10th December 1782 aged 42 lies buried in the same vault’. Anne Prideaux’s son, John Prideaux Basset (TN72), as the monument inscription indicates, was born after the death of his father.

Marble. Westminster Abbey Library.

Figure 1.
Henry Cheere, Monument to Sir Edmund Prideaux, Nave, north choir aisle, Westminster Abbey, Marble. Westminster Abbey Library.

Digital image courtesy of Dean and Chapter of Westminster. (All rights reserved)

In the inventory of 1828, when it hung in the Main Corridor, the present portrait was ascribed to the Swedish painter Michael Dahl, who arrived in England in the early 1680s and made his career there following several years in Paris and Rome. It has also been attributed to the circle of Enoch Seeman (c.1694–1744). Although the portrait cannot be attributed confidently to Seeman or Dahl (who had retired by 1737), it appears to be by an artist working in Dahl’s circle, possibly Hans Hysing, who had served as Dahl’s assistant. Comparison can be made to a full-length portrait, attributed to Dahl, of an unknown woman, very similar in its upper-body pose, and style of drapery (fig. 2). Significantly, the subject holds in her right hand a sprig of blossom identical to that attached to the dress of Anne Prideaux. It is possible that this picture is a full-length version of the Trewithen half-length portrait of Anne Prideaux.

undated. Oil on canvas, 199.4 × 133.7 cm. Private Collection.

Figure 2.
Attributed to Michael Dahl, Portrait of a Lady, full-length, in an Oyster Satin Dress and Blue Wrap, a sprig of orange blossom in her right hand, in an interior, an orange tree beyond, undated. Oil on canvas, 199.4 × 133.7 cm. Private Collection.

Digital image courtesy of Christie’s. (All rights reserved)

by Emily Burns


  1. CRO J/1/256: marriage settlement of ‘John Pendarves Basset of Tehidy, esq., and Anne Prideaux, dtr. of Sir Edmund Prideaux of Netherton, Devon, Bt. Decd., and his wife Anne. 1737’.


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