Philip would become a soldier, politician and a diplomat at different times in his life, underlining his strong education and family background. The portrait here plays most on his youth, with him carrying a sherpherd's houlette. Perhaps he was trained at an early age in this work in order to teach him interpersonal skills and responsibilities.
In contrast to that role, he is adorned in expensive clothing, giving a regal finish to the painting. The colours are also carefully chosen with golden yellows, purples and greens making up a bright final work. Wharton would become a parliamentarian during the English Civil War, marking him down as an enemy combatant against the monarchy.
The monarchy was to be restored after the war and from that point onwards his decision of which side to fight on would cause him serious grief. This turbluent time in English politics is amongst the most studied of all periods of this country and pitted two huge institutions directly against each other.
Lord Wharton was another significant English donor whose support was very beneficial to Van Dyck's financial freedom. With regular work he was able to concentrate solely on the quality of his work, plus that of his supporting studio. By the 1630s, when their relationship was at its strongest, he commissioned a series of portraits of members of his family - his wife Jane, his father-in-law Arthur Goodwin and his daughters Philadelphia and Elizabeth.
This painting can now be found at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC, USA. This large art institution holds several other Anthony van Dyck artworks within its prestigious collection. There is also original paintings from Jean-Honore Fragonard, Edgar Degas, Vermeer, El Greco and Hieronymus Bosch.