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In this impressive example of Elizabethan portraiture, George Gower has created a memorable likeness of Lady Philippa Coningsby. His bold and rather archaic style exemplifies the distinctive neo-Medieval taste of the late Elizabethan court. Gower's portrait style, with its bright colors and patterned surfaces, developed independently of contemporary European trends toward greater naturalism.
The cherries in Lady Philippa's hand are traditional symbols of transience. This meaning is reinforced by the inscription (in French): "Pleasure dies but honor endures."
Coninsby family, Hampton Court, Herefordshire, England; (Knight, Drank & Rutley, Hampton Court Sale, London, England), 16-20 March 1925, lot 556; (Francis Howard, London England); (Christie's, London), 25 November 1955, lot 65; (F. Kleinberger & Co., New York, New York); purchased by the John Herron Art Institute, Indianapolis, Indiana, now the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields, in 1956.