09/04/19: PRESS RELEASE: Coming Home: Lady Anne Clifford
Abbot Hall Art Gallery presents 400-year-old masterpiece
A portrait of a woman who fought the most famous legal battle of the Jacobean age has returned to Cumbria.
COMING HOME: Lady Anne Clifford has just gone on display at Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Kendal.
Press image here.
The work dated 1618 by William Larkin is the finest portrait of Lady Anne (1590-1676).
The painting is on loan from the National Portrait Gallery as part of its COMING HOME project which sees 50 portraits of iconic individuals from the national collection travelling to towns and cities most closely associated with their subjects.
Visitors can see this stunning portrait until 22 June 2019.
Anne fought for more than four decades for her rightful inheritance. When she was 15, her father George Clifford died. The Clifford family owned vast estates including several castles. Yet Anne was devastated to not inherit any of this.
George left the lands and titles to his brother Francis Clifford, leaving Anne just £15,000 in compensation.
This was a direct breach of an entail which stated that the Clifford estates should descend lineally to the eldest heir, whether male or female.
Helen Watson, Lakeland Arts’ Director of Programming, said: “Not only is this portrait by William Larkin - one of the most accomplished portrait painters of the period - but it also has a magnificent story attached to it.
“Lady Anne Clifford was an incredibly strong woman who came up against every obstacle including King James. She finally came into her inheritance in her 50s - but only after spending her entire life fighting for what was rightfully hers.
“This is an important portrait of a key figure in Cumbrian history. We are delighted to show it at Abbot Hall.”
The painting of Anne is paired with another William Larkin portrait - but there is some mystery around who the sitter is.
The subject of Larkin’s Portrait of a Young Woman is said to be that of Anne Clifford but is open to debate.
Helen Watson added: “The painting was originally believed to be that of Lady Anne’s mother - Lady Russell, Countess of Cumberland. But some scholars believe it is Lady Anne herself. We are letting visitors see both paintings and decide for themselves…”
Dr Nicholas Cullinan, Director of the National Portrait Gallery said: “We are delighted to lend Lady Anne Clifford to Abbot Hall Art Gallery as part of our exciting new COMING HOME initiative. We hope that sending portraits ‘home’ in this way will foster a sense of pride and create a personal connection for local communities to a bigger national history; thus helping us to fulfil our aim of being truly a national gallery for everyone, in our role as the nation’s family album.”
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National Portrait Gallery’s COMING HOME Project:
The National Portrait Gallery has been collecting portraits of men and women who have made a significant contribution to British life and history since 1856.
As part of COMING HOME, the Gallery will be working with local museums, galleries and other venues to help choose portraits that are special to them, providing communities across the country with the opportunity to celebrate their local heroes.
COMING HOME will enable 50 portraits from the national Collection to travel to towns and cities across the UK from 2019 onwards and has been made possible by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, and generous contributions from The Thompson Family Charitable Trust and funds raised at the Gallery’s Portrait Gala in 2017.
Visit npg.org.uk to find out more about Coming Home #PortraitsComingHome
Lakeland Arts has a portfolio of galleries and museums in the Lake District. It’s venues are Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Museum of Lakeland Life & Industry, Blackwell, The Arts & Crafts House. A new museum: Windermere Jetty Museum of Boats, Steam and Stories opened on 23 March 2019. www.lakelandarts.org.uk
Abbot Hall Art Gallery:
Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Kendal opened in 1962. It has built up an outstanding collection and a strong reputation for showing exhibitions of national and international artists of the highest quality. In 2018 it showed work ranging from Claude Monet and Auguste Rodin to contemporary artists Elisabeth Frink and Alison Watt. The gallery and surrounding estate will undergo a major redevelopment planned to start in 2020. www.abbothall.org.uk
Museum of Lakeland Life & Industry:
Abbot Hall also houses the Museum of Lakeland Life & Industry in the former coach house and stables. The Museum opened in 1971. Immerse yourself in Lake District history, discover the region’s past in farming, mining and tanning. Find out about Swallows and Amazons author Arthur Ransome and stroll down a Victorian Street. The Museum also has a regular programme of exhibitions. www.lakelandmuseum.org.uk
Blackwell, The Arts & Crafts House:
Blackwell is situated in Bowness-on-Windermere and is architect MH Baillie Scott's greatest house. Built as a Lake District rural holiday retreat for the Manchester brewery owner, Sir Edward Holt, today it is an outstanding example of an Arts & Crafts House. Retaining most of its original decorative features. It is a perfect setting for exhibitions of historical and contemporary craft. www.blackwell.org.uk
Windermere Jetty Museum of Boats, Steam and Stories:
Windermere Jetty Museum of Boats, Steam and Stories opened on 23 March 2019. Designed by Carmody Groarke architects, this is a new world-class museum in a stunning setting on Windermere displaying an internationally important collection of boats which are all associated with Windermere. Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) is the major funder for the Museum. HLF grants are made possible by National Lottery players. The project is also supported by Regional Growth Fund and Northern Cultural Regeneration Fund. www.windermerejetty.org
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- Anne, Countess of Pembroke (Lady Anne Clifford) by William Larkin, c. 1618, © National Portrait Gallery, London.