Sitter in 1 portrait
Painter and portrait painter
Artist associated with 2 portraits
Politician and portrait donor
Donor of 1 portrait
James Bertie, first Earl of Abingdon
Artist: by Michael Dahl
Medium: oil on canvas
Measurements: height 2286 mm. (90 in.) width 1448 mm. (57 in.)
on column to left: 'Effigem hanc Honoratissimi/ Domini, Jacobi Bertie, Comitis/ de Abingdon, Baronus Nor/ reys de Rycott: Qui de Regno/ et Ecclesia Anglicana Sub tribus Regibus optime meruit; fuitque diu Forrestarum Reg/ iarum cis Trentam Justitia/ rius Capitalis, Oxoniensis/ Comitatus praefectus Fortissi/ mus; Urbis Seneschallus Fi/ delissimus; Adademiae Fautor Semper Amicissimus;/ Eidem Academiae Montagu,/ Filius Natu Maximus, Hono/ rum et Virtutum. Haeres/ Dono Dedit.'
Acquisition: gift from Montague Bertie, second Earl of Abingdon, 1700
Location: Examination Schools
Whole length, standing slightly to right; long dark wig; lace cravat; peers' robes: crimson velvet mantle lined with white silk and edged with miniver; deep ermine cape with three rows of sealskin spots over the same coloured velvet coat lined with miniver; black stockings and buckled shoes; sword-belt and sword; his right hand holds up a fold of his cloak, his left rests, the knuckles down, on a marble-topped gilt table on which lies his coronet; marble column in background to left; dark blue velvet curtain behind to right.
The portrait commemorates Bertie's creation in 1681 as Earl of Abingdon, and was painted sometime between 1682 when Dahl arrived in England, and Lord Bertie's death in 1699. It was given to the University in 1700 by the sitter's son, Montague Bertie, 2nd Earl of Abingdon, when it was itemized in the Vice-Chancellor's accounts: 'Item for the Carriage and frame of the Earle of Abington's picture £01:02:00' (Comptus Vice Can 1697-1735, 1 Oct 1700-5 Sept 1701, Expensae Extraordinariae, Oxford University Archives, Wpbeta/22/2).
In his list of portraits in the Bodleian Library compiled between 1742 and 1752, George Vertue included 'The late Earl of Abingdon by Dahl'. (G. Vertue, 'Note Books V', Walpole Society 26 (1938), p.17)
On a visit to the Bodleian Library Gallery in 1874, George Scharf, then Keeper of the National Portrait Gallery, noted of this portrait: 'M Dahl ... Extremely well painted very mellow & simple' (G. Scharf, 'Trustee Sketchbooks, Oxon II, p.15, 31 July 1874, National Portrait Gallery Archive, London)
A copy is in Oxford Town Hall (Lane Poole, 1, p.248, no.748).
A. Wood, History and Antiquities of the University of Oxford ed. by J. Gutch, 2 vols (1792-1796), II, Part II, p.961; G. Scharf, 'Trustee Sketchbooks', Oxon II, p.15, 31 July 1874 (National Portrait Gallery Archive, London); R. Lane Poole, Catalogue of Portraits in the possession of the University, Colleges, City, and County of Oxford, 3 vols (1912, 1925), I, pp.138-139, no.338; W. Nisser, Michael Dahl and the contemporary Swedish school of painting in England (Uppsala, 1927), p.1, no.1; G. Vertue, 'Note-books V', Walpole Society 26 (1938), p.17
Annette Peach, ‘OP4 James Bertie, first Earl of Abingdon ( bap. 1653, d. 1699)’, Portraits in Oxford, online edn, 2006,
[http://www.odl.ox.ac.uk/oxfordportraits/portrait.php?w=4, accessed 19th May 2013]