Portrait of a Gentleman, probably James Howell




Cornelius Johnson, British, 1593-1661

Object Info

Object: painting
Currently on view
Object ID: TL-19849


Oil paint on canvas


Promised Gift of the Berger Collection Educational Trust

More Info


image height: 32 in, 81.2800 cm; image width: 25 in, 63.5000 cm; frame height: 39 5/8 in, 100.6475 cm; frame width: 33 3/16 in, 84.2963 cm; frame depth: 3 3/4 in, 9.5250 cm


European and American Art Before 1900


European and American Art Before 1900-European Art

Known Provenance

Sir Godfrey Thomas; by descent; sale, Christie’s, South Kensington, November 12, 1998, lot 9; from which acquired by William M. B. Berger and Bernadette Johnson Berger, Denver; Berger Collection Educational Trust; on loan to the Denver Art Museum, TL-19849. Provenance research is on-going at the Denver Art Museum and we will post information as it becomes available. Please e-mail provenance@denverartmuseum.org, if you have questions, or if you have additional information to share with us.


Cornelius Johnson 
Flemish, 1593–1661
Portrait of a Gentleman, probably James Howell, 1634
Oil paint on canvas
Signed with initials and dated at lower left, C.J. fecit. / 1634; inscribed at upper left, Cupias quodcunque necesse est
Promised Gift of the Berger Collection Educational Trust, TL-19849

Extended Info

One of the most prolific portraitists in London in 1620s and ‘30s, Cornelius Johnson worked in an elegant, somewhat conservative style, his compositions simple and unadorned and the details of his sitters’ features and dress closely observed. His subject here is thought to be James Howell (1594?-1666), who wrote numerous historical and political pamphlets and held diplomatic and administrative posts under Charles I. Johnson’s restrained style moderated with Sir Anthony van Dyck’s arrival in England in 1632, becoming more naturalistic, as here, with the inclusion of his subject’s right hand, an addition that enhances the portrait’s lifelikeness. 

Exhibition History

  • “Treasures from the Berger Collection: British Paintings 1400-2000” — Denver Art Museum, 10/2/2014 – 9/9/2018