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El Greco - Lady in a Fur Wrap

This enigmatic portrait of a woman has since first documented been attributed to the Greek-born but Spanish-resident artist Domenikos Theotokopoulos, more commonly known as ‘El Greco’ (1541–1614). This is despite the fact the smooth modelling of her face in particular is unique in his oeuvre. The name of the sitter is unknown, though her noble bearing and restrained but elegant clothing have, despite the informality of the pose, led to various attempts to identify her as possibly a member of the royal family, or – with much less evidence - as El Greco’s mistress or daughter. It was painted in oils on canvas, and is usually dated to the late 1570s.

The importance of the work owes much to its quality and rarity within El Greco’s early oeuvre, but also to its royal provenance. It left Spain in the 1830s, and, as part of the personal collection of the King, Louis-Philippe, hung in the Louvre. It was then purchased by Sir William Stirling Maxwell at the sale in London of Louis-Philippe’s ‘Spanish Gallery’ in 1853.

The painting was gifted to the city of Glasgow, together with Pollok House and Estate, by Mrs Anne Maxwell Macdonald and family in 1966.

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