John bankes

An English 17th-century double portrait holds many clues to its meaning

This is a big book about a minor painting — a double portrait of John Bankes, aged about 16 (the son of the Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, Sir John Bankes), and his tutor, Dr Maurice Williams. It was done in Oxford in 1643-4 by Francis Cleyn, a court painter. At the time, Oxford was the headquarters of the royalist army, and painters were busy recording for their loved ones Cavaliers who would soon be dead. In the left corner of the painting there is a copy of Galileo’s Dialogues Concerning the Two Chief World Systems, in its Latin translation, open at the frontispiece, along with a globe and