This portrait of Elizabeth, Queen of Bohemia relates to two similar depictions of the sitter by Dutch artist Gerrit van Honthorst: a half-length portrait of the Queen in the collection of the Duke of Buccleuch and a far larger work, titled 'Allegory of Injustice' (Kurpfälzisches Museum, Heidelberg; c.1635), which shows Elizabeth with her daughters. The paintings present Elizabeth as the widowed Queen, wearing a crown, a black veil and holding a sceptre. After her husband’s death, Elizabeth was eager to disperse images of herself and her family, to support her claims to the crown of Bohemia.
Gerrit [Gerard] van Honthorst trained under Abraham Bloemaert in Utrecht and was in Rome from c.1610-12. Here, Honthorst became particularly influenced by the work of Caravaggio and Manfredi (a follower of Caravaggio). Honthorst also worked for Caravaggio’s former patron, the Marchese Giustiniani. After leaving Rome in 1620, he settled in Utrecht until 1628. He then made a brief visit to London, where he worked as a royal portraitist, painting an intimate portrait of Charles I (1628). From 1637 to 1652 he lived in a large mansion in The Hague, where his students included Elizabeth, Queen of Bohemia and her daughters. He painted several of Elizabeth’s family members. Honthorst also occasionally worked with his brother, Willem (1594-1666).
Elizabeth, Queen of Bohemia (1596-1662) daughter of King James VI & I
Oil on canvas
height: 124.00 cm, width: 99.50 cm
Purchased from Christie's, 12 April 1991
Collection of Sir Robert Gresley of Drakelow House, Derbyshire; sold through Christie's, London, on 3 June 1932 (Lot 9), for 12 guineas, as by Lely; from which sale purchased by 'Howard'; 'The Property of a Family Trust'; by whom sold through Christie's, London, on 12 April 1991 (Lot 116), as by Follower of Pierre Mignard, 'Portrait of a Lady, traditionally identified as Queen Henrietta Maria'; from which sale purchased by the Government Art Collection
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