Behind the Scenes at the DAM

Are You Related to The Woman in This Painting?

Are you related to this woman? A young Ohio woman named Carmen Dale is.

She wrote to tell us that Alice Barnham (1523–1604), pictured here with her eldest sons, Martin, right, and Steven, left, is her great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great (that's 12 greats) grandmother. An unknown artist created the painting, part of the Berger Collection at the Denver Art Museum, in 1557. Alice Barnham lived in London and was married to a merchant, Francis Barnham. Carmen Dale is descended from Alice’s son Martin. Martin grew up to marry Ursula Rudston, and they are Carmen’s great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great (that's 11 greats) grandparents. Carmen tells us that her Barnham ancestors lived in England until her great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great (that's nine greats) grandfather Thomas Barnum (the spelling of the name had changed) came to America and settled in Connecticut, purchasing land in Fairfield in 1673.

The painting is on view on level six of the North Building, in the Berger Collection gallery, and more information on it is on the Berger Collection website.

Image credit: English School. Alice Barnham and Her Sons Martin and Steven, 1557. Oil on panel. Berger Collection at the Denver Art Museum, TL-19034

Kathleen Stuart is curator of the Berger Collection of British art, on view in the Berger gallery within the European and American art galleries. Kathleen has been with the Denver Art Museum since 2007, and she recommends you look for the surprising portrait of a young, slender Henry VIII in the exhibit Tudor and Jacobean Portraiture in the Berger Collection.