Stretes, Guillim (DNB00)
|←Street, Thomas||Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 55
|Stretton, Robert de→|
STRETES, STREETES, or STREATE, GUILLIM or WILLIAM (fl. 1546–1556), portrait-painter, is always described as a Dutchman, and may possibly have been related to the Giles van Straet, a burgher of Ghent, who was implicated in the resistance offered by that city to Charles V in 1540, and sought English protection at Calais (State Papers, Henry VIII, viii. 345). A William Street was in the employ of the English government at Calais in 1539 (Letters and Papers, XIV. ii. 10), but the William Streate who was steward of the courts of St. Paul's Cathedral in 1535 (ib. vol. ix. App. No. 12) was no doubt an Englishman, and the name was not uncommon in England.
The painter may have been a pupil of Holbein, but there is no evidence to support the conjecture. In December 1546, however, he was engaged in painting a portrait of Henry Howard, earl of Surrey [q. v.], when the earl was arrested. The picture remained in Stretes's possession until March 1551–2, when it was fetched from his house by order of the council. It was probably obnoxious, as portraying the royal arms of England which Surrey had quartered with his own, an offence which formed the principal count in his indictment. This portrait, which is highly finished, is now at Arundel Castle (cf. Cat. Tudor Exhib. No. 51), and was engraved for Lodge's ‘Portraits;’ a replica, also said to be very fine, is at Knole (but cf. Archæologia, xxxix. 51, where Sir George Scharf considers these portraits to be the work of an Italian). Another portrait of Surrey and one of Henry VIII and his family, at Hampton Court, are conjecturally assigned to Stretes (Law, Cat. of Pictures at Hampton Court, pp. 114, 120; Cat. Tudor Exhib. No. 101; Wornum, Life and Works of Holbein, p. 337). Another portrait, said to have been painted by Stretes during Henry's reign, is that of Margaret Wotton, second wife of Thomas Grey, second marquis of Dorset [q. v.], which now belongs to the Duke of Portland (Archæologia, xxxix. 44). He is also said to have painted on board a monumental effigy of the Wingfield family now belonging to the Duke of Buccleuch (Proc. Archæol. Institute, 1848, p. lx; Stukelry, Diaries, Surtees Soc. i. 336).
During the reign of Edward VI Stretes became ‘the most esteemed and best paid painter’ in England, receiving from the king a salary of 62l. 10s. He painted several portraits of Edward, some of them to be sent to English ambassadors abroad. In March 1551–2 two were sent to Hoby and Mason, the respective ambassadors at the courts of Charles V and Henry II; for these, with Surrey's portrait, Stretes was paid fifty marks. Seven extant portraits of Edward VI are conjecturally ascribed to Stretes: (1) A three-quarter length, which belonged to James Maitland Hog, and was exhibited at Manchester in 1857 (it was engraved by Robert C. Bell for the ‘Catalogue’ of the Archæological Institute, 1859); (2) a full-length portrait, which was at Southam, near Cheltenham, in 1819; (3) a portrait in the treasurer's house at Christ's Hospital, described as very similar to that at Southam; (4) a portrait of Edward VI presenting the charter to Bridewell in 1553, now belonging to the governors of Bridewell Hospital (Cat. Tudor Exhib. No. 181); (5) a portrait of Edward VI, aged 10, painted in 1547, now at Losely Park in the possession of Mr. W. More-Molyneux (ib. No. 175); (6) a duplicate of the last, belonging to Lord Leconfield at Petworth, (Wornum, Life and Times of Holbein, p. 326; Sir George Scharf in Archæologia, xxxix. 50); (7) the portrait of Edward at Windsor Castle (ib.) These portraits have been inaccurately assigned to Holbein, with whose later portraits Stretes's work ‘shows much affinity’ (Cat. Tudor Exhib. p. 60), though, on the other hand, his style of colouring was ‘peculiarly pale and cold, and very different from that of Holbein’ (Archæologia, xxxix. 42).
Stretes retained his position under Mary, and in 1556 presented to her as a new year's gift ‘a table of her majesty's marriage,’ which seems to be lost (Nichols, Illustrations of Ancient Times, p. 14).[Most of the facts about Stretes are collected by John Gough Nichols in Archæologia, xxxix. 41–5; see also the same writer in Notes and Queries, 3rd ser. ix. 340, and in the preface to the Literary Remains of Edward VI (Roxburghe Club), pp. cccxliv, cccli–ii; Strype's Eccles. Mem. II. ii. 217, 285; Walpole's Anecdotes of Painting, ed. Wornum, i. 138–9; Wornum's Life and Works of Holbein, pp. 102, 205, 326, 337; Sir George Scharf in Archæologia, xxxix. 50–1; Waagen's Treasures of Art, iii. 30; Tierney's Arundel Castle, 1834; Nott's Works of Surrey; Wheatley's Historical Portraits, 1897; Law's Cat. of Pictures at Hampton Court; Cat. Tudor Exhib. 1890; authorities cited.]