Melrose Wing of International Art: Plain English Tour
Work 1 of 17
attributed to Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger and studio
Magdalen Poultney, later Lady Aston
Marcus Gheeraerts was Flemish.
A person born in what is now called Belgium.
He moved to England as a child.
In the 1500’s Marcus changed the way artists painted people,
also known as portraits.
He made the people look more lifelike.
He painted on canvas, a type of heavy cloth,
not wood. Canvas let him paint bigger paintings.
In 1592 Marcus painted Queen Elizabeth I.
He painted many Royal people after her.
When he painted this portrait in 1620 his way of painting was old.
But this painting still looks grand.
This is Magdalen Poultney. She is 20 years old, rich and single.
Magdalen has a firm look on her face.
She is wearing a silver dress with a red, soft raised pattern.
It has silver braid hem,
material used as edging on clothes.
And split sleeves.
Different parts of the dress are made with matching lace.
Magdalen has smooth and shiny shoes made from satin,
and a hat called a bonnet, with ostrich feathers.
She has earrings, bracelet and necklace of black beads.
Magdalen’s left hand is in the centre of the portrait.
Her hand, without a wedding ring, shows she is able to marry.
When Magdalen was 26 she married Sir Thomas Aston
Sir Thomas was a sheriff, or a law officer.
He also sat in parliament, a place where law is made.
Magdalen and Sir Thomas had 4 children.
All the children died young.
Magdalen died having a baby boy when she was aged 35.
There is a cracked window next to Magdalen’s face.
Maybe the cracked window next to Magdalen’s face is a sign of her death.
Also her family’s sadness.
The cracked window might have been added by another painter, John Souch.
John was paid to paint Magdalen, Sir Thomas and their son, at the time Magdalen died.