after Peter Paul Rubens, Self-Portrait

Photo courtesy of Tom St Aubyn (All rights reserved)


Country House
Raynham Hall
18th or 19th century
The Red Saloon
Medium and support
Oil on canvas
Overall height: 58 cm, Overall width: 48 cm
after Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640)
Catalogue Number


This picture is derived from a self-portrait by Rubens in the Royal Collection Trust (RCIN 400156) given to Charles I when he was Prince of Wales. The original painting by Rubens of 1623 was engraved by Paulus Pontius and published in Antwerp in 1630, making it the first self-portrait of a European artist to be engraved during the painter’s lifetime. As the original painting is rectangular and the present version is painted in oval format, it is possible that the reference source for RN10 was one of the later eighteenth- and nineteenth-century engravings that reproduce the portrait in an oval with Rubens’s head facing right (see British Museum 1891,0414.92; 1891,0414.934; 1888,0716.145).

A self-portrait of Rubens matching precisely the dimensions and oval format of RN10 is recorded in the 1904 Raynham Hall Heirlooms sale, purchased by the art dealer, Edward Foster, for £9 9s.1 It is possible that the present work is a copy after the one that was sold, though it may in fact be the original picture, retained all the while, or having re-entered the collection at a subsequent date.

Sir Peter Paul Rubens (1577–1640) was a leading European artist and diplomat during the early seventeenth century. Although trained in the Flemish manner of painting in Antwerp, his art was imbued with the learnings of classical and Renaissance art that he studied first-hand in Italy and Spain. In 1609 he became court painter to the Archduke Albert and his wife Isabella, the Catholic rulers of the Spanish Netherlands. Over the next few decades he travelled to courts across Europe as a diplomat for the Spanish Netherlands’ cause, alongside taking painting commissions for patrons such as Marie de Medici of France, Charles I of England and Philip IV of Spain.

by Emily Burns


Prince Frederick Duleep Singh, Portraits in Norfolk Houses, ed. Rev. Edmund Farrer, vol. 2, Norwich : Jarrold and Sons, 1928, vol. 2, p. 208, no. 69 (‘PETER PAUL RUBENS’)


  1. Townshend Heirlooms sale, Christie’s, London, 7 March 1904, p. 34 (132).


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