John Ryngsted: a 500-year old sketch portrait?

I had made up my mind to skip my usual Friday blog-post this week, but a researcher in the searchroom has just shown me something which seems worth sharing right away. It was found in a book that would go right over my head: the legal precedent book of Sir Robert Drury of Hawstead, Suffolk (c1455-1535). Drury was a distinguished lawyer and royal servant, and for a time speaker of the House of Commons. The book was, according to our catalogue “apparently drawn up in Sir Robert Drury’s life for him or by a confidential clerk in his service”. However, although the catalogue originally mentioned the fact that the back flyleaf bears the name of one John Ryngsted, it did not mention (until I added it just now) the little portrait, which has been faintly inked on to the same page – so faintly, you may struggle to make the image out clearly.

D2440 portrait

A portrait of Mr Ryngsted, perhaps? Even a self-portrait? And what do you make of his get-up?

D2440 portrait closeup

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3 thoughts on “John Ryngsted: a 500-year old sketch portrait?

  1. An interesting observation – original historical documents would have been a big influence on Tolkien, although I suppose as a Professor of Anglo-Saxon he wouldn’t have been as keen on something mostly in Latin and Law French! I doubt I am the only archivist who smiled at the scene in the first of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings films in which Gandalf identifies the ring using archival resources in a somewhat cluttered repository.

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