ca. 1609–1619
Flemish (active in England)
Oil on canvas
Framed: 91 1/4 × 56 1/4 in. (231.78 × 142.88 cm)
Unframed: 80 1/4 × 45 1/4 in. (203.84 × 114.94 cm)

Sir Thomas Dale (ca. 1560s–1619), an accomplished soldier and efficient administrator, was knighted in acknowledgment of his talents by King James I in June 1606. Depicted wearing fashionable period attire, including a flat lace collar, bulbous breeches, and black hose, Dale’s professional identity as a commander is indicated by the armor resting on the table behind him.

The Virginia Company sought Dale’s assistance to revive what was then an ailing colony, and he arrived there on May 10, 1611, to serve as acting deputy governor. In September, he led three hundred settlers to form a new township at Henrico, named in honor of King James’s eldest son. There Dale attempted to make peace with the Indians, among other things encouraging the marriage of Powhatan’s daughter Pocahontas to English settler John Rolfe.

Currently attributed to Geeraerts, this portrait is the work of a skilled artist fluent in the international court styles of his day.

Adolph D. and Wilkins C. Williams Fund
Image released via Creative Commons CC-BY-NC

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