Anthony van Dyck (1599–1641)
Edmund Verney, ca. 1640
Oil on canvas
53 3/8 × 42 5/8 in. (135.5 × 108.2 cm)
Private collection, on long-term loan to the National Portrait Gallery, London
Sir Edmund Verney rose to the office of knight marshal and standard-bearer to Charles I before falling at the Battle of Edgehill in the English Civil War. Here, Verney’s head appears against an unfinished backdrop, framed by a halo of paint that marks the border between Van Dyck’s own contribution to the painting and the secondary areas probably meant to be completed by an assistant. These halos, more visible now than they would have been in Van Dyck’s day, are a trademark of portraits from his English period. The composition draws upon Van Dyck’s earlier portraits of military figures, usually accompanied by the attributes of baton and helmet.