….”Before we settle down to our interview, Lord Pembroke takes me to see one of the newest additions to the house’s collections: a full-length portrait of himself by the American painter Adrian Gottlieb, completed in 2007.
Gottlieb spent the summer of 2007 in England, painting the commissioned portrait of Lord William Herbert, 18th Earl of Pembroke, 15th Earl of Montgomery. The following spring, he returned for the official unveiling of his portrait of Lord Pembroke at the historic family seat. Notable guests, family, reporters and the Mayor of Wilton attended the event. The official portrait is displayed in the main entrance of Wilton House, as part of the permanent collection, and hangs alongside a world class collection of Old Master paintings, including works by Rubens, Ribera, Reynolds, Rembrandt, as well as largest private collection of Van Dyke paintings in the world.
Tradition with a Twist
…It was clearly a commission of some significance to Lord Pembroke, a symbolic acceptance, perhaps, of his preordained role to take responsibility for Wilton: the painting was loosely inspired by a portrait by Reynolds in the dining room of the 10th Earl. It also represents a grafting of his personal enthusiasms onto this historic ensemble – the estate has been in his family since 1544 and the title was created in 1551. The [portrait includes a] prominently displayed crash helmet which symbolises the Earl’s love of motor sports – he was due to take part in a VW Beetle Fun Cup race at Snetterton the weekend after we met. On the laptop in front of him is an estate map of Wilton – ‘it’s a bit of artistic license, as I actually work on a big PC’. The books beside the computer are publications in which his designs have appeared – before Lord Pembroke succeeded his father to the title and estate he was better known as Will Herbert, a designer for Conran & Partners.”
by Michael Hall, July/August 2009 issue:
Apollo, The International Magazine for Collectors.