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Geldorp, George (DNB00)

GELDORP, GEORGE (fl. 1611–1660), portrait-painter, is usually stated to have been born in Antwerp, but it is possible that he was really born in Cologne, and that he was the son of the well-known painter, Geldorp Gortzius. He was at all events apprenticed in Antwerp, and in 1611 was admitted to the freedom of the guild of St. Luke in that city. He was a member of the ‘Violieren’ guild. On 5 Feb. 1613 he married Anna, daughter of Willem de Vos, the painter, and from 1615 to 1620 resided in a house called ‘De Keyser’ on ‘De Meir,’ subsequently moving to the ‘Happartstraat’ before leaving Antwerp for England. Geldorp seems to have come to England before 1623 if he painted the portrait of the Duke of Lenox, who died in that year. In December 1628 a return was ordered of the names, qualities, and conditions of all recusants resident in London; among the names was that of ‘George Geldropp, a picture-drawer.’ Geldorp numbered among his intimate friends the great painter Anthony Vandyck [q. v.], and it was perhaps owing to Geldorp that Vandyck came to England for the second time in 1632 and took up his residence in this country. The following incident throws some light upon this event. In December 1631 Sir Balthasar Gerbier [q. v.], then resident in behalf of Charles I at the court of Brussels, presented to the king a picture alleged to be by Vandyck, but discovered by Geldorp, who was in constant correspondence with Vandyck, to be only a copy. Gerbier angrily quoted Rubens to vouch for its authenticity. Vandyck came over in March or April 1632 to settle the matter, and lodged first in Geldorp's house. Geldorp had obtained the royal patronage, and had some share in the charge of the royal collections. He rented from the crown a large house and garden in Drury Lane. This house was much resorted to, for Mr. Rose, son-in-law of Richard Gibson the dwarf, told Vertue that Geldorp ‘was mighty great with people of Quality in his Time, & much in their favor, he usd to entertain Ladies and Gentlemen with wine & hams & other curious eatables, & carryd on intreagues between them.’ After the king's death Geldorp moved to a house in Archer Street, Westminster. As a painter Geldorp was much decried by his contemporaries. Sandrart says that he drew so badly that he used the drawings of others to make his portraits, pinning them over his own canvas and tracing through with prepared chalk. Lely worked for Geldorp when he first came to England. The portraits that bear his name are by no means discreditable, and he made numerous copies of portraits by Vandyck, which are now no doubt often taken for originals. Geldorp was employed by William Cecil, second earl of Salisbury, to paint portraits of himself and other members of his family; the portrait of the earl (painted about 1626) is still at Hatfield House, where Geldorp's original receipt for the paintings, frames, and gilding (the latter being done by his wife) is also preserved. He also painted portraits of George Carew, earl of Totnes (now in the National Portrait Gallery), Lodovick Stuart, duke of Richmond and Lenox (exhibited at the Stuart Exhibition in January 1889, perhaps a copy, as the duke died in 1623), James Stuart, duke of Richmond and Lenox (engraved by Robert van Voerst), Robert Bertie, earl of Lindsey (also engraved by Van Voerst), George, marquis of Huntly, and others. In July 1637 Geldorp was employed by the great Cologne art-patron, M. Jabach, to negotiate with Rubens for his last completed work, the ‘Martyrdom of St. Peter,’ now in St. Peter's Church at Cologne. Geldorp was alive at the Restoration. According to Vertue numbers of works of art from the royal collection were stored for safety in his house. He is stated to have been buried at Westminster.

[Merlo's Kunst und Künstler von Köln; Vertue's MSS. (Brit. Mus. Addit. MSS. 23069, &c.); Van den Branden's Geschiedenis der Antwerpsche Schilderschool; Rombouts and Van Lerius's Liggeren der Antwerpsche Sint Lucasgilde; Carpenter's Pictorial Notices of Vandyck; Guiffrey's Vandyck; Cal. State Papers (Dom. Ser.), 1628; Redgrave's Dict. of Artists; information from G. Scharf, esq., C.B.]

L. C.