The Berger Collection

English School
Alice Barnham and Her Sons Martin and Steven, 1557
Oil on panel
38 x 33 in. (96.5 x 83.8 cm)

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This is one of the earliest family group portraits in British art. Although the woman pictured here traditionally was known as Lady Ingram, recent scholarship has convincingly argued that she is Alice Bradbridge Barnham, wife of Francis Barnham, a London merchant. Like many merchants’ wives of the day, she was a businesswoman, directing a silk production business that catered to an elite clientele. Some products of her profession are depicted here: the blackwork embroidery on her cuffs and collar and those of her sons, the ribbon around Martin’s waist, and the tablecloth with its appliquéd ribbons. Alice Barnham lived to age eighty.


Boughton Monchelsea Place, Kent; Christie's, South Kensington, January 21, 1998, lot 670


Lena Cowen Orlin, Locating Privacy in Tudor London, Oxford, 2008, passim

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