CUSTODIS, Hieronymos
(d. ca. 1593, London)

Biography

Flemish painter, active in England. Born in Antwerp, he probably went to England because of religious persecution, perhaps soon after the surrender of Antwerp to the Duque de Alba in 1585. Three signed and dated portraits survive, all painted in 1589, among them those of Sir Giles Brydges, 3rd Lord Chandos, and his 14-year-old daughter Elizabeth Brydges, later Lady Kennedy (both Woburn Abbey, Beds). The elaboration of the dress, the cool colours and the meticulous delineation of jewellery are reminiscent of the work of Nicholas Hilliard, and Custodis also seems to owe something to the English portrait painter George Gower.

Several other portraits dated between 1587 and 1593 are attributed to Custodis, including the companion portraits of Sir Francis Hynde and Lady Hynde (1591, University of Cambridge), on the basis of the distinctive inscriptions giving the age of the sitter.

Custodis was recorded as a member of the Dutch church of Austin Friars in 1592; his widow, a native of Brussels, was married there to Jan Jems of Antwerp on 27 December 1593. The artist may have been a victim of the outbreak of plague in that year.

A number of inscribed works, dated from 1593 to 1612, are attributed to an unknown follower of Custodis who may have inherited his pattern book.