This project will cast significant new light on the earliest portraits of the Tudor dynasty and the development of royal imagery in Britain, using cutting-edge technical research to, for the first time, make firm attributions to the overlooked but enormously important court artist, Meynnart Wewyck (c.1450-1526).
For art historians, Wewyck’s artistic production has long been elusive, in part because so little documentary evidence survives, and because painters in Britain did not sign their works during this period. However, in 2018 a discovery made in the archive of St John’s College at Cambridge provided solid evidence that the monumental portrait of Lady Margaret Beaufort hanging in the Master’s Lodge was commissioned from Wewyck in c.1510. This portrait is presently being conserved and investigated at the Hamilton Kerr Institute (HKI) by the project team, and the data collected is forming the foundation for the expanding comparative study with other early portraits thought to have originated in Wewyck’s workshop.
This research will substantially expand our knowledge of Wewyck’s oeuvre and for the first time facilitate firm attributions to him via technical analysis of a number of pivotal portraits linked to Wewyck’s practice. The results are expected to form the basis of a display at the Fitzwilliam Museum, which will showcase this research and be the first display ever to present Wewyck’s hitherto undefined oeuvre in relation to the self-fashioning of the early Tudors.
This project aims to support an exhibition, an exhibition catalogue, an interactive online resource, and an online seminar.
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