Gawen Goodman of Ruthin (1526–1604)

Image credit: Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales

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Gawen Goodman (1526–1604) is shown in a ruff and cap, wearing a gold chain and a memorial ring, and holding a psalter inscribed ‘Psalmes’. The date of the painting (ANATV XPI/1582) and the age of the sitter (ANNO ETATIS SVE 56) are accompanied by several mottoes: ‘Deum timere’ (Fear God); ‘Sobris iuste vite’ (a Sober life); ‘Iesus est amor meus’ (Jesus is my love) and ‘Laurea desidie prebeture nylla’ (Let him not be estimated by laurelled or literary sloth). The skull in the niche is accompanied by the inscription ‘COGITA Mori’ (Remember Death). An ode by the Welsh poet and adventurer Thomas Prys (1564–1634) includes a description of Gawen's character: 'If he once gets at the wines of a town, he'll not come home without tripping: well I know how he can drink his share; If there's sack to be had, he'll not put up with gruel.


Gawen Goodman of Ruthin (1526–1604)




oil on panel


H 49.5 x W 42 cm

Accession number

NMW A 3453

Acquisition method

bequeathed by the Honourable Mrs Lawrence Brodrick, 1930

Work type


Inscription description



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