Friday, February 5, 2016

1500s Woman Artist - Levina Bening Teerlinc or Teerling c 1510-1576

Levina Teerlinc was a Flemish miniaturist who served as a painter to the English royal courts of Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I. Teerlinc was the oldest daughter of the Simon Bening (1483-1561)  (Benninc or Benninck), the renowned illuminator of the Ghent-Bruges school. Bening probably trained his daughter as a manuscript painter. Teerlinc may have worked in her father’s workshop before her marriage.

Levina Teerlinc (Flemish-born artist, 1510-1576) Thought to be Princess Elisabeth Tudor (1546) Also suggested to be Lady Jane Grey & Amye Robsart (1532-1560)

In 1545, Levina moved with her husband, George Teerling of Blankenberge, to England. She then served as the royal painter to Henry VIII, whose royal painter, Hans Holbein the Younger, had recently died. Her annuity for this position was £40 - rather more than Holbein had been paid. 

Levina Teerlinc (Flemish-born artist, 1510-1576) Elizabeth I 1565

Little is known about her early career or training, but in 1545 she was invited to the court of Henry VIII, and named royal "paintrix". After Henry's death, she continued in this role under Queen Mary I and Queen Elizabeth I.

Levina Teerlinc (Flemish-born artist, 1510-1576) Elizabeth I c 1565

It is thought, that she limited her output to portrait miniatures, which are personal mementos that tend to become widely dispersed and are not formally displayed like full-sized paintings are. As a result, she is less well known than her predecessors, and it is more difficult to attribute her works authoritatively. In fact, despite the fact that she is known to have painted many members of the court, there are only a handful of works which are attributed to her, none which is definitively known to be by her hand.

Some attribute this painting to Levina Teerlinc (Flemish-born artist, 1510-1576) Elizabeth I when Princess c 1559

Levina Teerlinc (Flemish-born artist, 1510-1576) Portrait of Lady Katherine Grey, c 1555-60. Lady Katherine Grey & her sisters Jane & Mary were the granddaughters of Henry VIII's sister. In 1560, Elizabeth I imprisoned Katherine in the Tower of London for secretly marrying without her permission.

Levina Teerlinc (Flemish-born artist, 1510-1576) Portrait of an Unknown Woman

Levina Teerlinc (Flemish-born artist, 1510-1576) Portrait of Mary Dudley, Lady Sidney (d 1586)