Philip, Lord Wharton, was an English nobleman of nearly the same age as the Duke of Lennox, and the two were painted by Van Dyck at about the same time. In both young men are apparent the same signs of gentle birth and breeding, a dignity of bearing, and a repose of manner characteristic of their class. That they were quite different in essential character, however, we shall presently see.

Lord Wharton was the fourth baron of his family and the second of the name Philip. He succeeded to his title as he was entering his teens, and at the age of nineteen he had become one of the most attractive figures at the court of Charles I. In this year he married Elizabeth, the daughter of Sir Rowland Wandesford. It was in honor of this occasion that the portrait of our illustration was painted.

Of a lover so handsome and graceful, the promised bride may well have been proud. His dress is rich and picturesque: the jacket is of violet velvet, the mantle of yellow satin, and the costume is set off by delicate laces at the throat and wrists. These were days when the men vied with women in fondness for finery.

Lord Wharton was at this time on terms of friendly intimacy with the king and queen. It was a flattering mark of royal favor when the king presented the young courtier with two full-length portraits of himself and of Queen Henrietta, painted by Van Dyck. Perhaps the artistic tastes they had in common formed the bond of friendship between them. Lord Wharton, it appears, admired Van Dyck's portrait work almost as much as King Charles. On his second marriage, five years later, he employed the artist to paint a number of family portraits. He prized these so highly that he built a gallery specially for them in his new house at Winchendon.

The time soon came when more strenuous questions occupied him. The contest between the king and the Parliament brought every Englishman to a parting of the ways. Lord Wharton was a Puritan, and took a decided stand on the side of Parliament. His personal relations with the king were outweighed by his sense of patriotic duty.

At the breaking out of the war he entered the Parliamentary army, serving successively as colonel of a regiment of foot, and as a captain of a troop of horse. He took part in the battle of Edgehill, and was brought into considerable prominence at this time. In a famous speech made soon afterwards, he charged the king's nephew, Prince Rupert, with gross "inhumanity and barbarousness" during the course of the battle. Evidently where his mind was made up, Lord Wharton was a strong partisan.

PHILIP, LORD WHARTON Hermitage Gallery, St. Petersburg
Hermitage Gallery, St. Petersburg

Of this we should suspect nothing from our portrait. It is hard to imagine that this beardless young courtier, so suave and amiable in appearance, will ten years later be fighting sternly against his king. Here his thoughts seem to be wholly romantic: his eyes have the dreamy expression of an expectant lover. His is surely a knightly soul unstained by worldliness. The face is of that perfect oval admired by artists as the highest standard of beauty. Taste and refinement are the most striking qualities one reads in it; the mouth is the most individual feature, small and modelled in delicate curves. Yet with all its sweetness, those firmly closed lips suggest tenacity of opinion and strength of will.

As the event proved, Lord Wharton was a man of uncompromising political opinions. He was at one time committed to the Tower on a charge of contempt of the House. In his long and active life he saw England pass through many changes. He was an old man when the last of the Stuart kings (James II.) fled from England, leaving a vacant throne. Macaulay tells us of the Whig nobleman's speech in the meeting of the Lords which resulted in the invitation to William and Mary of Orange to take the government. He knew how to be fair as well as severe, and a still later speech is recorded when he opposed the Abjuration Bill.[22] He died at the age of eighty-five in 1698.

[22] This bill provided that no person should sit in either house of Parliament or hold any office without making declaration that he would stand by William and Mary against James and his adherents.

There are other portraits by Van Dyck more vigorous than this, but none perhaps more charming. As we have seen in the portrait of the Duke of Lennox, the painter was nowhere more successful than in portraying the young courtier. We recognize the pose, with one arm akimbo, as a favorite device of Van Dyck. While in some cases it seems artificial, here it appears to be an attitude which the young man assumed of his own accord.

On his left arm he carries a tall shepherd's staff; it may be that he has sometime played a pastoral part in some masque. His costume, however, does not accord with such a part, and it is more likely that the staff is held merely to give some use to the left hand. We note in another illustration that the man called Richardot holds a book, with his hand in a similar position.

The texture painting of Lord Wharton's costume is skilfully rendered, and a rich satin hanging behind him throws a part of the figure into relief. On the other side is a glimpse of landscape lighting the composition pleasantly with a distant view.

Authorities.—Macaulay: History of England; Doyle's Official Baronage of England.