The British Academy and the National Portrait Gallery are launching a British Academy publication called Painting in Britain, 1500-1630 today (Thursday 10 September).
Edited by Dr Tarnya Cooper (National Portrait Gallery), Professor Maurice Howard (University of Sussex) and Professor Aviva Burnstock (Courtauld Institute of Art), Painting in Britain unearths new discoveries using technical analysis and new archival studies of paintings and artists.
Some of the key discoveries in the book have been brought to light by recent extensive analysis of 'The Portrait of Sir Henry Unton (c.1558 – 1596)', which currently hangs in the National Portrait Gallery. This highly unusual narrative portrait of Sir Henry Unton was commissioned as a posthumous commemoration of his life by his widow, Dorothy Unton. One example of the major findings explored in Painting in Britain focuses on the jeweled cameo that Unton wears on a chain around his neck. It had been thought that this cameo depicts Elizabeth I, however closer inspection, photography and technical analysis suggests that the cameo is Henry IV.
This painting, and others featured in Painting in Britain, as well as the new techniques used to analyse these works, will be discussed at a sold-out panel event at the National Portrait Gallery tonight.
Read Under the microscope: New discoveries in British Renaissance art by Tarnya Cooper and Charlotte Bolland in the British Academy Review, Issue 26, Summer 2015.