This painting is either from the studio of Jan van den Hoecke or is a copy of the artist’s work. It relates to several versions of an engraving, made after van den Hoecke’s original portrait. The whereabouts of the original portrait is unknown. The engravings differ from this version in showing Charles II with the blue sash worn across his chest rather than around his neck and with the Lesser George resting over his right hip. The engraved versions also show Charles with fuller, curlier hair.
This portrait was formerly owned by Mrs David Owen, who offered the work to the National Portrait Gallery, London, in 1953. However, the gallery declined to purchased it.
Jan van den Hoecke was born in Antwerp and probably taught by his father, painter Caspar van den Hoecke. His half-brother, Robert, was also a painter. Jan became a pupil of Sir Peter Paul Rubens. Together with his father, he contributed to the decorations for the Joyous Entry of the Cardinal-Infante Ferdinand into Antwerp in 1635; a project overseen by Rubens. Other early works from van den Hoecke’s Antwerp period include an oil sketch of the ‘Triumph of David’ (Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, Texas). Hoecke later visited Italy and Germany, receiving important commissions in both countries. He was briefly Painter in Ordinary to Archduke Leopold Wilhelm of Austria. He returned to the Netherlands in 1647 and died in Antwerp, aged about 40.
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