About this artwork
Like many Dutch artists working in late 17th-century England, Gerard Soest catered to members of the upper social classes and aristocracy. The subject of this portrait, Norfolk gentleman Thomas Bulwer, likely hired Soest because of the painter’s ability to convey a sitter’s authority with directness and simplicity. Here, Soest depicted Bulwer clutching a scroll to signal his intellectual interests and influence. Likewise, the subject’s hand poised on the chair’s armrest suggests that he is about to rise, an indication of his active nature. The inscription and date, which were uncovered during cleaning, were added in the 18th century.
- Gerard van Soest
- Portrait of Thomas Bulwer
- Oil on canvas
- Inscribed at top center: Thomas Bulwer: 1654
- 101.7 × 86.7 cm (40 1/16 × 34 1/8 in.)
- Alexander A. McKay Fund