Sir Henry Hobart, 1st Bt. (c.1554 – 1625)
Painted Dated ‘1616’ and inscribed with the sitter’s coat-of-arms, upper right; and with inscription: ‘Sir Henry Hobart’, lower right
Oil on panel: 44 ¾ x 33 ½ in. (113.7 x 85 cm.)
By descent to Sir Heneage Finch (1580 – 1631);
thence by descent to William Henry Montague Finch (1883 – 1939), Burley-on-the-Hill, Rutland; thence by descent to his cousin
Col. James Robert Hanbury (1914 – 1971), Burley-on-the-Hill, Rutland;
by whom sold, Christie’s London, 20 June 1947, lot 34, (for 20 gns.);
with Spink and Son; by whom sold to
Sir Leonard Caplan QC (1909 – 2001), 1 Garden Court, Temple, London;
by whom sold, Christies London, 18 November 1983, lot 30, (for £6,480);
with Lane Fine Art, Pimlico, London;
private collection, until 2018.
Roy Strong, Tudor & Jacobean Portraits, 1969, p. 167, pl. 328.
Sir Henry Hobart was a prominent judge and M.P. An ambitious and successful man, he was created a baronet in 1611 and had his portrait painted several times. Our portrait is listed by Sir Roy Strong in Tudor and Jacobean Portraits (op. cit.), as the earliest example of Hobart’s iconography, by an unknown hand, dating to circa 1610. This was, of course, before restoration revealed the date of 1616, the year Sir Henry also commissioned the renowned architect Robert Lyminge to build his seat at Blickling Hall in Norfolk (now a National Trust property). Strong suggests that later portraits of Hobart dating from circa 1615 – 1620 were painted by James I’s court painter, John de Critz (engraved by Simon van de Passe), with a third type by Daniel Mytens at Blickling Hall, a copy of which is also known to be in a private collection, both dateable to circa 1620.
Sir Henry Hobart joined the bar in 1584 and was M.P for St. Ives, Yarmouth and Norwich successively between 1588 and 1610. He became Sergeant-at-law in 1603 and was Attorney-General between 1606 and 1613. He was Chief Justice of Common Pleas from 1613 until his death.
He married Dorothy (d. 1641), daughter of Sir Robert Bell of Beaupre, Chief Baron of the Exchequer. Her niece, Frances, daughter of Sir Edward Bell and wife of Heneage Finch (and one of Sir Henry’s three executors), was the mother of ‘Finch’, 1st Earl of Nottingham, builder of Burley-on-the-Hill in Rutland.
Sir Henry’s impressive estate at Blickling Hall was designed in the high Jacobean style that Lyminge had used some twelve years earlier in his construction of Hatfield House for Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury. These two buildings represent the crowning achievements of that period, even as a new era of Baroque design took root.
 A three-quarter length formerly in the Hastings collection and sold at Sotheby’s 1 February 1950, lot 97, and another three-quarter-length in the collection of the Earl of St. Aldwyn).
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