17th-Century Dutch School

Portrait Of Archdeacon Samuel Rutter

17th-Century Dutch School

Portrait Of Archdeacon Samuel Rutter

This charming mid-17th-century Dutch School portrait depicts Archdeacon Samuel Rutter (d.1663), the chaplain and trusted confidante to James Stanley, 7th Earl of Derby. He was also a keen writer and occasional poet.

Born in Lancashire, little is known about Rutter’s early years but it’s believed he was educated at Westminster School and Christ Church, Oxford. His grandfather was John Rutter, a miller on the Derby estate at Burscough, which could explain why his education was funded by the Stanley family.

James Stanley was a staunch Royalist and as such, due to his close connection, Rutter was involved in a violent siege of Lathom House, the family seat, in 1642. Stanley was ordered by King Charles to fortify the Isle of Man and left his wife, the Countess Charlotte de la Tremoüille, in charge. The Parliamentarians, having discovered this, launched an attack, seeking to capitalise on the Earl’s absence.

However, despite various efforts, including offering the Countess a safe passage, they were unable to capture the property. Charlotte’s determination was such that her forces held on until reinforcements arrived. Rutter was instrumental in defending Lathom - offering advice and support to the Countess during her darkest hour. From this point on, she considered him a most loyal friend.

Alongside his duties as chaplain, Rutter produced poetry for the amusement of those around him. His best-known collection bears the rather verbose title of “A choice collection of songs composed by Archdeacon Ryter (afterwards Bishop of Sodor and Mann), for the amusement and diversion of the Right Hon. James Earl of Derby, during his retreat into his Island of Mann, in the time of the Oliverian usurpation." It probably served to entertain the boisterous cavaliers who surrounded the Earl and included titles such as "A Song in Praise of Ale" and “On the Direful Effects of the Rebellion". Examples of his poems can be found in our blog, which have been translated from Manx.

Samuel Rutter's Poetry

The artist of this piece is unknown but the fine brushwork and genteel characteristics align with the Dutch School more than the British. It bears some resemblance to the oeuvre of Cornelis Janssens van Ceulen (1593-1661) who also produced a portrait of James Stanley.

Medium: Oil on canvas
Overall size: 31” x 35½” / 79cm x 91cm
Year of creation: c. 1650
Labels & Inscriptions: Christie’s (probably) stencil, Sotheby’s chalk, inscription with sitter’s name.
Provenance: Christie’s / Sotheby’s (55436/138) / Private collection, England.
Condition: Assessed and approved by our conservator. Cleaned. Revarnished. Canvas relined. Fine and settled craquelure, as you would expect. The paint layer is stable. Historic repairs. Frame restored.
Our reference: BRV1600

Conservation & History

We care profoundly about our role as custodians and every piece in the collection has been assessed by our conservator. When required, we undertake professional restoration carefully using reversible techniques and adopt a light touch to retain the aged charm of each work. We also restore frames rather than replace them as many are original and selected by the artists themselves.

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