According to an inscription of a later date than the painting, which has since been removed, this is the portrait of Cornelius Jansenius. The inscription was at the top of the panel and read: Portrait de Jansenius père d’une nombreuse famille mort en 1638 âgé de 53 ans. A false date of 1661 followed the inscription. Smith, in his Catalogue Raisonné, describing the picture in the early part of the last century, at which time it belonged to Lord Ashburton, thought that the portrait must have been done from another portrait or drawing by order of some friend or admirer of the deceased bishop. The stylé of the work shows that it must have been painted in the early forties, and Wilhelm Bode catalogues it as An Elderly Man with a Pointed Gray Beard, erroneously called Cornelius Jansenius.
It was sold in Paris in 1811 from the collection of Mr. Séréville for 5,071 francs, and belonged later to the Prince de Talleyrand. Smith, the compiler of the Catalogue Raisonné, bought it in 1831 for £500 and from him it passed to the collection of Lord Ashburton, in the hands of whose descendant it remained until recent times.