More, Anthony (DNB00)
|←More, Alexander||Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 38
MORE, Sir ANTHONY, who is also known as Antonio Moro, but whose name was properly Anthonis Mor (1512?-1576?), portrait-painter, was born at Utrecht about 1512. His family was known as Mor van Dashorst, a small property near Utrecht, to distinguish them from a neighbouring family of Mor van Amersfoort; the names of his parents have not with certainty been ascertained. Mor was a pupil of the painter Jan Scorel, and his earlier works show that master's influence. A portrait of Scorel by Mor, painted in 1560, is in the collection of the Society of Antiquaries in London; this portrait is perhaps identical with that once forming part of Scorel's epitaph in St. Mary's Church at Utrecht. A portrait of a Utrecht canon in the Dresden Gallery by Mor has also been conjectured to represent Scorel. The earliest dated work of Mor is the double portrait, painted in 1544, of Cornelis van Horn and Antonis Taets, canons of Utrecht, which is now in the Berlin picture gallery. In 1547 Mor was admitted into the guild of St. Luke at Antwerp, and he spent 1550 and 1551 in Italy. Mor owed his advancement principally to Cardinal Granvelle, of whom he painted in 1549 a fine portrait, which is now in the Vienna picture gallery. Granvelle introduced Mor to the notice of the emperor Charles V and his son Philip of Spain. He was summoned to Madrid in 1552 and employed extensively at court, and was also sent on a commission to the court of Portugal, where he was treated with similar honour. Among the portraits still preserved at Madrid are those of Philip II, his sisters Joanna, princess of Brazil, and Mary, archduchess of Austria, and the latter's husband, afterwards the emperor Maximilian II. In 1553, when negotiations were commenced for a marriage between Philip and Queen Mary of England, Mor was sent to England to paint for Philip the well-known portrait of the queen which is now in the Prado Gallery at Madrid. Other portraits of the queen at this date are attributed to him, notably those in the collection of the Duke of Bedford at Woburn Abbey, of the dean and chapter at Durham Cathedral (Tudor Exhibition, 1890, No. 204), and in the picture gallery at Pesth. He appears to have received the honour of knighthood for his services, but the exact date is not known. It seems uncertain whether Mor returned to Madrid and then came back to England in the train of Philip, or whether he remained in England until Philip's arrival. He appears to have accompanied him to the Netherlands in 1555, when he was back at his home in Utrecht. He remained there or at Brussels for the next four years, but in 1559 was again in Madrid. Mor was on terms of great friendship with Philip. During a visit of Philip to his studio Mor excited the jealousy of the courtiers by the easy familiarity with which he treated the king. The authority of the inquisition was invoked, but on a hint from the king Mor secretly left Spain and returned to the Netherlands. Two versions of this incident are recorded, one by Carel van Mander (Vie des Peintres), and another by Palomino de Castro y Velasco (Vidas de los Pintores, quoted by Stirling-Maxwell in Annals of the Artists of Spain). Shortly afterwards Philip desired Mor to return to Spain, but the painter was retained at Brussels in the service of the Duke of Alva, and did not, or could not, comply with the king's request. Mor was residing at Utrecht again in 1564, but about 1568 he appears to have removed to Antwerp, where he remained for the rest of his life. The exact date of his death is uncertain, but he was employed on a picture of the 'Circumcision' for the cathedral at Antwerp in 1576, which he did not live to finish, and he was already dead in 1578, so that it appears probable that he died some time in the former year. By his wife Metge, Mor had several children, of whom Philips Mor van Dashorst was both a painter and a canon of Utrecht; a daughter, Catharina, the widow of one Casetta, died in 1589, and another daughter, Elisabeth, married Hendrik van der Horst, advocate, of Utrecht.
Mor ranks among the first portrait-painters of the world, but his religious or historical pictures merit little attention. His earlier pictures are fresher in colour and lighter in touch than those of his later years. His portraits are straightforward likenesses, set forth in a fine, picturesque, and essentially masculine style. They are to be seen in many collections on the continent, and there are also fine specimens in England, at Hampton Court and elsewhere. At Holyrood there is a fine portrait of Mary of Hungary, regent of the Netherlands, signed and dated 1554 (erroneously called Margaret, countess of Lenox). Among those in foreign galleries not already mentioned may be noticed the portraits of Hubert Goltzius (1576) at Brussels; the 'man with the gloves' (perhaps a portrait of Scorel) at Brunswick; the anonymous goldsmith (1564) in the Mauritshuis at the Hague; an anonymous portrait of a man (1565) in the Louvre at Paris; and those of Johann Gallus (1559) and his wife at Cassel. Another very fine portrait by Mor at the Hague, signed and dated 1561, probably represents William the Silent, prince of Orange, who in that year married Anna of Saxony, a portrait of whom by Mor was engraved by J. Houbraken (see Oud Holland, vii. 281).
Mor was so short a time in England that it would not be possible for him to have painted all the portraits of English patrons that are ascribed to him. It is doubtful whether any can be authenticated save those of Sir Thomas Gresham [q. v.] and Sir Henry Lee [q.v.], and both of them were probably painted by Mor at Antwerp. The fine portrait stated to represent the latter, in the collection of Viscount Dillon at Ditchley Park, Oxfordshire, is signed and dated 1568 (Tudor Exhibition, 1890, No. 268). Of Gresham several portraits exist, attributed with good reason to Mor; one, formerly in the Houghton collection, is now in the Hermitage Gallery at St. Petersburg (a replica, belonging to the Earl of Stamford, was in the Manchester Exhibition of 1857); a second is in the collection of Mr. G. W. G. Leveson Gower at Titsey, Surrey; a third in that of Sir John Neeld, bart. (engraved as frontispiece to Burgon's 'Life of Gresham'); a fourth at Mercers' Hall, and a fifth in the National Portrait Gallery—these two being replicas.
Mor painted several portraits of himself; one with a dog is in the collection of Earl Spencer at Althorp; another is in the Gallery of Painters at Florence, and another in the museum at Basle. In the collection of Sir Peter Lely there was a portrait of Mor with his wife, and in that of George Villiers, duke of Buckingham, were companion portraits of William Key the painter by Mor, and of Mor by Key. A portrait of Mor by himself was sold in Mr. Motteux's collection on 5 Feb. 1719. An engraved portrait of Mor drawing the portrait of Philip II is in the series published by H. Hondius, and, according to Carel van Mander, a medal was struck in Italy in his honour.
[Carel van Mander's Vie des Peintres, ed. H. Hymans; Van den Branden's Geschiedenis des Antwerpsche Schilder-School; Immerzeel's (and Kramm's) De Levens en Werken der Hollandsche en Vlaamsche Kunstschilders; Walpole's Anecdotes of Painting, ed. Wornum; Stirling-Maxwell's Annals of the Artists ofSpain; Seguier's Dict. of Painters; Michiels's Histoire de la Peinture Flamande; information from Dr. C. Hofstede de Groot and George Scharf, esq., C.B.]