Portrait of Olivia Boteler Porter

The Portrait of Olivia Boteler Porter is an oil painting on canvas by Anthony van Dyck, showing Olivia Boteler Porter. Olivia, daughter of John Boteler, 1st Baron Boteler of Bramfield, and niece of the Duke of Buckingham, was a zealous Roman Catholic and a lady in waiting to Henrietta Maria of France, queen consort to Charles I of England. It was discovered on the Your Paintings website by Bendor Grosvenor after being documented by the Public Catalogue Foundation.

Portrait of Olivia Boteler Porter
Olivia Boteler Porter.jpg
ArtistAnthony van Dyck
Year1630s (est)
MediumOil on canvas
SubjectOlivia Boteler Porter
Dimensions72.4 cm × 61 cm (28.5 in × 24 in)
LocationBowes Museum, Barnard Castle, Teesdale
OwnerBowes Museum


Portrait of Olivia Boteler Porter by Anthony van Dyck before and after restoration. The version on the left was the photograph originally posted to the Your Paintings website.

The Public Catalogue Foundation formed in 2003, with the objective of documenting all oil paintings in public ownership within the United Kingdom. This objective was reached in 2012, with work beginning on transferring all 210,000 paintings to a website.[1] The website was created in conjunction with the BBC, and was entitled "Your Paintings".[2]

In March 2013, the BBC announced that a previously unknown painting by van Dyck had been found in public ownership through the website.[3] Filmed for the BBC Two programme Culture Show, art historian Bendor Grosvenor investigated the painting after originally spotting it online. It was discovered in Bowes Museum, Teesside, but was being held in storage and was not on display. The painting itself was covered in layers of varnish and dirt, and had not been renovated.[3] It was originally thought to be a copy,[4] and valued at between £3,000 to £5,000.[3] Christopher Brown, director of the Ashmolean Museum, confirmed it was a van Dyck after it had been restored.[4]

It was revalued after being renovated and identified as a van Dyck, with Grosvenor suggesting it should be insured for up to £1 million (circa $1.62 million US).[3] It was identified as being of Olivia Boteler Porter, who was a lady in waiting to Henrietta Maria, the queen consort of Charles I of England.[1] Porter was the wife of Endymion Porter, who was a friend of van Dyck.[4]


  1. ^ a b "Public paintings quest completed". BBC News. 4 October 2012. Retrieved 10 March 2013.
  2. ^ "Your Paintings project lights up Norwich Castle". BBC News. 9 February 2013. Retrieved 10 March 2013.
  3. ^ a b c d "Van Dyck painting 'found online'". BBC News. 9 March 2013. Retrieved 10 March 2013.
  4. ^ a b c Kennedy, Maev (9 March 2013). "Original Van Dyck unearthed at Bowes Museum in Durham". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 March 2013.