About this artwork

This image of Robert Kerr has a sensuous beauty. The sitter's face, framed by a flowing wig and beautifully painted fabrics, is tilted to one side as he gazes side-long out of the canvas with a melancholy expression. The portrait was painted during one of his business trips to London, by the Dutch artist Simon Verelst, who was best known for his still lifes of fruit and flowers. Kerr was an enthusiastic supporter of William of Orange and held high office during the reign of William and Mary.

Simon Verelst

Simon Verelst

Simon Verelst was born in The Hague and came from a family of painters. When he settled in London in 1669 he already had a reputation as a painter of still-lifes, especially flower pieces. He was extremely successful, very expensive and latterly went mad, painting gigantic roses and peonies. He also painted some portraits.