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

An Elizabethan Courtier

c. 1590
Oil on panel, 76 x 63 cm
Private collection

The sitter in the portrait may well be Sir Thomas Drake (1556-1606), younger brother of the famous explorer Sir Francis Drake, as identified by a pencil inscription, 'Sir T. Drake', on the reverse of its former old frame.

The meaning of the intriguing motif in the upper left corner has been lost to us today. It depicts a vase of gillyflowers, a sparrow 'nipping the bud' of a gillyflower (carnation), above which is an inscription 'fatto a tempo', ('done in time').