This is one of 16 paintings purchased for the Government Collection from the British Museum in 1946. The artist has yet to be identified, but the portrait was undoubtedly influenced by the four portraits of Stuart painted by Flemish artist Anthony van Dyck.
James Stuart, first Duke of Richmond and fourth Duke of Lennox was born in London; the eldest son of Esmé Stuart, third Duke of Lennox. He inherited the Dukedom of Lennox at the age of 12, when his cousin, King James VI and I, became his guardian. Stuart was invested as a knight of the Order of the Garter in 1633. He married Mary Villiers, daughter of George Villiers, first Duke of Buckingham (a favourite of King James) in 1637.
Another cousin of Stuart’s was James’s successor, Charles I. Under Charles I Stuart was made a Privy Councillor and Knight of the Garter in 1633 and became a key member of Royalist party during the English Civil War. In 1641-42 he served as Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports. He spent five months in exile in 1643, returning to England to defend the city of Oxford for the King. Stuart died aged 42 and was buried in Westminster Abbey.
Sir Anthony van Dyck was born in Antwerp. Early in his career he was an assistant to Peter Paul Rubens. He first visited England between November 1620 and February 1621, where his work impressed King James I. He then travelled to Italy, staying until the autumn of 1627, before returning to Antwerp. During his time in Italy, van Dyck developed as a portrait painter, painting mostly wealthy merchant-princes. His style evolved under the influence of works by Titian and Veronese. In 1632 he returned to England, where he became 'Principal Painter in Ordinary' to Charles I. The following year he was knighted. His portraits of the royal family enhanced their prestige at home and abroad and his work had a profound influence on British portraiture.
James Stuart, 1st Duke of Richmond and 4th Duke of Lennox (1612-1655) Royalist
Oil on canvas
height: 74.00 cm, width: 62.50 cm
Purchased from the British Museum, June 1946.
Collection of Mrs. Elizabeth Gambarini (or Gambarind; possibly composer, keyboard player, and singer Elizabeth Gambarini [Elisabetta de Gambarini], married name Chazal, 1730-1765); by whom presented to British Museum on 7 December 1759; from whom purchased by the Ministry of Works in 1946
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