An image of Portraits of Cornelius Duplicius de Scheppere and his wife Elizabeth Donche

Ambrosius Benson

(Flanders, Belgium late 15th century, before 1500 – pre 12 Jan 1550)

Portraits of Cornelius Duplicius de Scheppere and his wife Elizabeth Donche

15th–19th c European art
Further information

Although born in Lombardy, the principal activity of this Netherlandish painter and portraitist was in Bruges, the northern city which supplied his audience and his livelihood. A prolific author of devotional panels in the tradition of Jan van Eyck, Gerard David and even Hugo van der Goes, Benson had a miniaturist's capability and love of detail. His religious images - by far the bulk of his output and frequently made for export to France and Italy - possess a note of introspection which carries over to his secular efforts. In the case of this flawlessly preserved pair of pendant portraits, the sitters seem as alert to their own interior imaginings as to any dialogue with each other or the external world. Small in scale, they were designed primarily for ease of storage, transport and display. Benson's typically warm palette is well demonstrated, especially in the clothing.

AGNSW Handbook, 1999.

circa 1540
diptych: oil on panel
30.1 x 54.0 cm overall :
a - portrait of Cornelius Duplicius de Scheppere; 21.6 x 18.5 cm; sight
a - portrait of Cornelius Duplicius de Scheppere; 30.1 x 27 cm; panel
b - portait of Elizabeth Donche; 21.2 x 18.6 cm; sight
b - portait of Elizabeth Donche; 30.1 x 27 cm; panel
Signature & date

Not signed. Not dated.

Gift of James Fairfax AC 1994
Accession number
Baron Albert von Oppenheim, circa 1898-19 Mar 1918, Cologne/North Rhine-Westphalia/Germany, as Hans Holbein the younger
Rudolph Lepke's Kunst-Auctions-Haus, 19 Mar 1918, Berlin/Germany, Oppenheim sale, announced for 27 October 1914 but postponed until 19 March 1918, nos.1 and 2, reproduced in catalogue as 'Hans Holbein d.j. oder Ambrosius Benson'.
Koninklijke Kunstzaal Kleykamp, 10 Jun 1924, The Hague/Netherlands, anon. (Kirchner) sale, lot no.1 as by Benson
Ralph Harman Booth, 1929-1931, Detroit/Michigan/United States of America, by 1929, Exhibited in 'Flemish primitives' Kleinberger Galleries, New York 1929, nos. 63 and 64 - lent by Ralph H. Booth, Esq.
Mary Booth, 1931-1951, Detroit/Michigan/United States of America, Mrs Ralph Harman Booth
Booth Family Collection, 1951-1988, Detroit/Michigan/United States of America, by descent to a granddaughter of Ralph and Mary Booth by 1957, remaining in her collection until 1988 when Robert Holden Ltd, London was asked to sell the paintings.
Dover Street Gallery, London, 1988-Jul 1989, London/England, Purchased by David Fyfe-Jamieson, Dover Street Gallery, through Robert Holden Ltd, London 1988. Sold to James Fairfax, July 1989 through Consultart, A.G., Geneva
James Oswald Fairfax AC, Jul 1989-30 Jun 1994, Bowral/New South Wales/Australia, Gift of James Fairfax 1994. Purchased by James Fairfax 1989 through Consultart, A.G., Geneva.