Queen Mary II (1662-1694) reigned with King William III 1688-94
About the work
This bust-length portrait of William III’s consort, Queen Mary II, shows the queen in a daringly low-cut gown decorated with pearls and lace. She also wears pearls in her hair, a pearl necklace and large pearl earrings.
Several versions of Brandon’s portraits of William III, some with the artist’s pendant portrait of Mary II, survive in Dutch collections. Seated three-quarter-length portraits of William and Mary in state robes are at Het Loo Palace, a state museum in Apeldoorn, in the centre of the Netherlands. Finally, a further pair of three-quarter-length portraits, dated 1691, are at the historic house museum Fraeylemaborg, in the village of Slochteren, the northeastern Netherlands.
Mary II was the elder daughter of James II by his first wife, Anne Hyde. She married William of Orange in 1677 but bore no children. After her father's flight she came from Holland to England to be proclaimed joint sovereign with her husband.
About the artist
Jean Henri Brandon was born at Sedan, in northern France. He probably moved to The Hague after the revocation (reversal) of the Edict of Nantes, which had promoted religious tolerance, in 1680. Brandon became a pupil of Dutch artist Theodor van der Schuur and, from 1598, was a member of the Academy in The Hague. He won recognition as a portrait painter and was employed frequently by the Court. In 1708 he moved to Utrecht, where he died some eight years later.