The key to the solution lies in a version of the painting that is – according to the scarce information I can find about it – in a private collection in Australia.
I do not know about the current when, where or what of the portrait but I can reconstruct a little bit of its past with the help of some books I have lying around and scattered information on the internet.
The portrait was part of the Edward Speelman collection, London (Edward Speelman was an art dealer). In the 19th century it was considered to be a portrait of Charles the Bold. It was forgotten about until it was published by Lorne Campbell.
The damaged backside allows to identify the sitter. It shows a barbican containing a flaming brand, surrounded by a golden cord with tassels. Above it are the letters. N.I.(?) E., letters which, as far as I know, have not been identified yet. Below is the device: “AINSI LE VEUL”, which is the second part of Antony’s device. (The first part is “NUL NE SI FROTE”.)
The portrait appears in two catalogues of local exhibitions I have here so I assume it was on display during those exhibitions. The first occasion was during The Brussels Millenium from October 6 – November 18, 1979: “Rogier van der Weyden – Rogier de le Pasture”, City Museum of Brussels. The painting bears number 15 in the catalogue and it is stated that is on loan from the Getty Museum, Malibu, Speelman collection.
The best image of it I have seen so far is in the catalogue of “De eeuw van Van Eyck 1430-1450. De Vlaamse Primitieven en het zuiden.” The exhibition took place in the Groeningemuseum, Bruges, 15 March until 30 June 2002. The portrait bears number 58 and the owner is listed as “Private collection”. With regard to provenance, the catalogue entry lists the following extra information: Before 1895: Robert Jackson, England. In this catalogue it is suggested that both paintings, The Man with the arrow and this one may be based on the same portrait sketch and were executed simultaneously by the atelier of the master.
Maybe the painting has been on display at other places, but so far I have no additional information about it.
Interestingly enough, both Anthony and João became knights of the Order of the Golden Fleece during the same chapter of the Golden Fleece in 1456. Is could well be possible they both had their portrait painted for the occasion? If so, what happened with the painting of João.
In any case there is no doubt about the identity of the Man with the arrow: it is Anthony the Bastard of Burgundy.
Until new information comes to light, obviously.
Nothing is certain, only taxes and death.
Bibliography for all posts
- Rogier van der Weyden – De man met de pijl – Dirk De Vos, Openbaar Kunstbezit – 1972
- Website of the Royal Museums of Fine Art, Brussels
- Website of the Musée Condé, Chantilly
- Rogier van der Weyden – Dirk De Vos, Mercatorfonds 1999
- De eeuw van Van Eyck 1430-1450. De Vlaamse Primitieven en het Zuiden. Till Holger-Borchert e.a., Ludion, 2002.
- Rogier van der Weyden – Rogier de le Pasture – Official painter to the city of Brussels – Portrait painter of the Burgundian court, City Museum of Brussels, 1979
- The Gentleman’s Magazine, Volume 165, Sylvanus Urban
- Déchiffrement de l’ex-libris du Grand Bâtard de Bourgogne. Ph. Lauer, 1923
- Les Primitifs flamands – Micheline Comblen-Sonkes (collaboration de Ignace Vandevivere), Brussels, 1988
- Pourquoi appelle-t-on les habitants de Tournehem-sur-la-Hem les Sarrazins ? – La Voix du Nord, 24/08/2015
- Les croniques de Pisé, BnF Ms. Français 9041
- Archaeologia or, Miscellaneous tracts relating to antiquity, Vol. XXVII. Society of Antiquaries of London, 1838.
- Antoine, le Bâtard de Bourgogne, premier comte de Sainte-Menehould. John Jussy, 2002
- Rogier van der Weyden 1400-1464 – De passie van de meester. Lorne Campbell – Jan Van der Stock Waanders/Davidsfonds, 2009