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This lot has been imported from outside of the UK … Read more PROPERTY OF A GENTLEMAN

Portrait of Queen Henrietta Maria, three-quarter-length, in a gold gown

Portrait of Queen Henrietta Maria, three-quarter-length, in a gold gown
oil on canvas
40 1/2 x 33 in. (102.9 x 83.9 cm.)
George Greville, 2nd Earl of Warwick (1746–1816), Warwick Castle, by 1775, and by descent in the family to the following,
David Greville, 8th Earl of Warwick (1934–1996), from whom acquired in situ in 1978 by the following,
The Tussauds Group, Warwick Castle, by whom offered in the following,
Anonymous sale; Sotheby’s, London, 9 December 2015, lot 28.
Acquired in 2016 by the present owners.
D.H. (att. to Richard Gought), 'Pictures in Warwick Castle', Gentleman's Magazine, LXVIII, October 1798, p. 836.
'Pictures and Articles of Curiosity', Inventory of the Contents of Warwick Castle, Warwickshire Record Office CR1886/466, MS., circa 1800, n.p., listed hanging in the Gilt Room.
W. Field, An Historical and Descriptive Account of the Town and Castle of Warwick, Warwick, 1815, p. 216, as 'Henrietta Maria – wife of Charles I – whole length – by Vandyck', listed hanging in the Little Study.
Rev. J. Romney, Memoirs of the life and works of George Romney: including various letters, London, 1830, p. 133.
J. Smith, A Catalogue Raisonné of the Works of the Most Eminent Dutch, Flemish and French Painters, London, 1831, III, p. 128, no. 462.
S. Woodburne, Notes on the Paintings at Warwick Castle, Warwickshire Record Office CR1886/783/12, Ms., 1832, no. 38, listed hanging in the 1st Drawing Room – ‘very fine quality of Van Dyck’.
G.F. Waagen, Works of Art and Artists in England, London, 1838, III, p. 155.
C.W. Spicer, The Vitruvius Britannicus, Part V, History of Warwick Castle, London, 1844, p. 36, listed hanging in the Gilt Room.
H.T. Cooke, Warwick Castle and its Founders, Warwick, 1846, II, p. 5, listed hanging in the Gilt Drawing Room.
H.T. Cooke, An Historical and Descriptive Guide to Warwick Castle etc., Warwick, 1847, p. 56, listed hanging in the Gilt Drawing Room.
Cooper’s, History of Warwick and Guide to the Castle, Warwick, 1850, p. 86, listed hanging in the Gilt Room.
W. Kendall, Inventory of Warwick Castle, Warwickshire Record Office CR1886/783/16, Ms., 1853, listed hanging in the Gilt Drawing Room.
G.F. Waagen, Treasures of Art in Great Britain, London, 1854, III, p. 213.
Inventory of Warwick Castle, Warwickshire Record Office CR1886/703, Ms., circa 1870, listed hanging in the Gilt Drawing Room.
F.E. Warwick, ‘Warwick Castle’, The Pall Mall Magazine, XI, January-April 1897, p. 37, as 'the bust by Van Dyck, the rest completed by Sir Joshua Reynolds', listed hanging in the Cedar Drawing Room.
Inventory of the contents of Warwick Castle, Warwickshire Record Office CR1886/703, Ms., 1900, listed hanging in the Cedar Drawing Room.
L. Cust, Anthony Van Dyck. An historical study of his life and works, London, 1900, p. 266.
The Countess of Warwick, Warwick Castle & its Earls from Saxon times to the present day, London and New York, 1903, II, p. 808.
‘Warwick Castle, Warwickshire. The seat of the Earl of Warwick – II’, Country Life, June 1914, p. 845, illustrated hanging in the Cedar Drawing Room.
G. Gluck, Van Dyck. des Meisters Gemälde, Klassiker der Kunst, Stuttgart, 1931, p. 560.
O. Millar, 'Notes on three pictures by Van Dyck', The Burlington Magazine, CXI, July 1969, p. 417, as 'a very good version of the Barberini portrait'.
E. Fahy, in E. Fahy and F. Watson, The Wrightsman Collection. Paintings, Drawings, Sculpture, New York, 1973, V, p. 306, as 'one of the two best versions made in England before the Barberini portrait was sent to Rome'.
J. Farington, The Diary of Joseph Farington, ed. K. Garlick, A. Macintyre and K. Cave, New Haven and London, 1978–84, V, p. 1588, seen at Warwick Castle, 15 August 1801.
D. Buttery, ‘George Romney and the Second Earl of Warwick’, Apollo, August 1986, pp. 108-109.
O. Millar, in S.J. Barnes, et al., Van Dyck. A Complete Catalogue of the Paintings, New Haven and London, 2004, p. 528, no. IV.124.
E. Fahy, ed., The Wrightsman Pictures, New York, 2005, p. 124, listed under versions/copies.
New Haven, Yale Centre for British Art, on long-term loan, 2016-2021.
Special notice
This lot has been imported from outside of the UK for sale and placed under the Temporary Admission regime. Import VAT is payable at 5% on the hammer price. VAT at 20% will be added to the buyer’s premium but will not be shown separately on our invoice.

Brought to you by

Clementine Sinclair
Clementine Sinclair Senior Director, Head of Department

Lot Essay

The most sought-after portrait painter in Europe, van Dyck would - after King Charles I of England finally secured his services as ‘Principal Painter’ to his Court in 1632 - change the course of painting in Britain forever. The present work is a superb example of the stature and elegance with which van Dyck imbued his sitters, and one of the most important British royal portraits to remain in private hands.
Van Dyck’s work eclipsed all preceding examples of royal portraiture in Britain. Where others such as Daniel Mytens had detailed the minutiae of face and costume with a stiff, mechanical touch, van Dyck breathed life into his works. Bringing to his art all that he had learnt from his master, Rubens, and from Venetian predecessors, notably Titian, the surface of his paintings flickered with light, glancing off silks, pearls, diamonds and illuminating creamy skin to lend an irrepressible vitality to his sitters. It was this deftness of touch that led the critic Roger de Piles to comment that though the Flemish painter remained true to nature, he ‘heightened her as far as he could’ with ‘a great character of spirit, nobleness, grace and truth’ (R. de Piles, Lives of famous painters, Paris, 1699, p. 269).
The Portrait of Henrietta Maria, one of van Dyck’s most refined portraits of the Queen, exudes this noble grace. There is a deceptive simplicity to the composition; the rich gold of the dress contrasts with the buff background, devoid of the swags of fabric and imposing architectural features that bolstered many of van Dyck’s earlier portraits of his sitter. The gentle cradle of her hands across her stomach is likely an indication that this was painted whilst Henrietta Maria was pregnant with her sixth child, Princess Anne, born 17 March 1637. The only indication of her true rank is the crown placed on the table to the left.
The composition exists in two versions, one that was commissioned in 1636 for Francesco Barberini, Cardinal Protector of England and Scotland, and the present painting. The former, previously in the Wrightsman Collection, is now in the Metropolitan Museum, New York (fig. 1). As the youngest daughter of King Henri IV of France and his wife Maria de Medici, Henrietta Maria was a devout Catholic. Indeed, her godfather was Pope Urban VIII, Barberini’s uncle. Like the Cardinal, she was tasked with supporting the rights of the British Catholics, a position that caused her many political and personal travails, but united her with Barberini. It is likely that the Met portrait was commissioned as a thank you gift in return for a group of seven Italian paintings that had been sent by the Cardinal to Henrietta Maria from Rome in 1636 as an offering to the King in an attempt to improve his relationship with the Vatican. This group included works attributed to Leonardo da Vinci and Andrea del Sarto that were especially admired by the monarch, while the Queen was heard to lament that all beautiful works sent from Italy were taken from her by her husband.
While much has been made of Charles as a great collector and patron, it is only more recently that Henrietta Maria has been recognised as such in her own right. In many ways, she can in fact be said to have been a more independent minded champion of the arts than her husband, with a broad interest that encompassed theatre, music and literature, as well as the contemporary visual arts. She regularly took part in masques, amongst other roles as ‘Divine Beauty’ dancing in a star-spangled dress designed by Inigo Jones in Tempe Restor’d for Twelfth Night in 1632 and as an Amazon in William Davenant's 1640 Salmacida Spolia. It was her influence that had led to Davenant becoming poet laureate two years previously, and she was also a champion of the composer (and artistic agent) Nicholas Lanier, which led to his appointment as the first Master of the King’s Music. Where painting was concerned, Henrietta Maria was arguably a greater supporter of contemporary Baroque painting than Charles (despite the fact that his image and reign came to be visually defined by Rubens and van Dyck, whose work was deeply imbued with the Baroque aesthetic). She was responsible for two of the most important decorative schemes of the day: the new chapel at Somerset House (then Denmark House); and the completion of the Queen’s House in Greenwich. The latter relied heavily on the work of Orazio Gentileschi Italian painter, who had come to England first at the invitation of the Duke of Buckingham but stayed to work for the Queen. The Greenwich house was also to include works such as Guido Reni’s monumental Bacchus finding Ariadne abandoned on Naxos (now lost), though it is unclear if Reni’s painting ever reached England.
Henrietta Maria sat to van Dyck on numerous occasions. Her likeness was first captured by the Flemish master in the ‘Greate Peece’, the group portrait of Charles and his wife with their two eldest children, Prince Charles, later King Charles II, and Princess Mary (Royal Collection, Windsor Castle). Executed in 1632, shortly after van Dyck’s appointment as Court Painter, this shows the Queen in an almost identical golden dress to that in the present painting, gazing lovingly at her husband. The following year, van Dyck was paid for nine portraits of the King and his consort and his Account Books of 1638-39 list thirteen portraits of Henrietta Maria, often with a note of their intended recipient. Thus, we find her: ‘dressed in blue, price thirty pounds’; ‘dressed in white, price fifty pounds’; ‘for presentation to her sister-in-law, the Queen of Bohemia’; and ‘for presentation to the Ambassador Hopton’ (quoted in C. Oman, Henrietta Maria, New York, 1936, p. 81).
Despite the number of individual portraits executed, these were not all the result of new sittings; the Queen’s time being too precious for unlimited access to her person. As with Queen Elizabeth before her, different portraits of Henrietta Maria were executed based on a small number of specific head types established by van Dyck. Thus the majority of her portraits can be grouped according to five prototypes, most dating to the early period of van Dyck’s time in London: the three-quarter-length portrait in an ethereal silver dress from 1632 (Royal Collection, Buckingham Palace); the three-quarter-length in a black dress, dated 1632 (Collection of the Earl of Radnor, Longford Castle); the lost three-quarter-length in a blue dress, now only known through studio replicas; the full-length in ermine-lined state robes, dated 1637, which was gifted to the Prince of Orange (Oranienburg, Schlossmuseum, no. 919); and, perhaps the most famous of all, the 1633 full-length in a blue hunting costume with her dwarf, Sir Geoffrey Hudson (Washington, National Gallery of Art).
Of these prototypes, the present composition is related most closely to the Radnor three-quarter-length, with the same elegant fold of the arms across the Queen’s stomach; however, the head type is original to the 1636 portrait. Whilst the Met painting was recorded in Barberini’s collection in the Cancelleria in Rome by 1639, it is possible that the present version of the composition remained in van Dyck’s studio, so that he might use it as a model for future commissions. It is first documented in 1775 when it had entered the celebrated collection of George Greville, 2nd Earl of Warwick at Warwick Castle. At this date, the Earl’s friend, the actor Richard Cumberland, wrote to the fashionable portrait painter George Romney:
‘Lord Warwick is possessed … of a magnificent Castle, and is disposing his furniture & pictures to the taste of the building. He has collected some very respectable portraits, chiefly of Van Dyck, and has reserved a place in his principal Apartment for a companion, where he wishes you to try your strength in the same bow with the best Masters of portrait painting; but as he would not fetter your fancy by any fixed subject he leaves the object to your own choosing and all circumstances about it, only it must be female, as I believe it is to companion with Charles the first's Queen by Van Dyke’ (Richard Cumberland to George Romney, October 1775, Petworth, Osborn MSS . F4058).
It is probable that Romney’s answer to this call to paint a pendant for Henrietta Maria was his, now lost, portrait of the Earl’s wife, Henrietta, Countess of Warwick. Known only through an engraving of 1780, this depicted the Queen’s namesake seated with her hands gracefully interlinked, just as van Dyck had painted his sitter a century before (fig. 2).
Shortly after the Portrait of Henrietta Maria was acquired by the 2nd Earl, he had the work extended to a full-length, reputedly by Sir Joshua Reynolds, so that it could be included with the series of other full-lengths that decorated the state rooms at Warwick Castle. Reynolds, if it were indeed him, added a table draped in red cloth and a column to the left of the composition, with a heavy green curtain to the right. The background and areas of the costume were also overpainted to allow for their incorporation into the extended composition (fig. 3, in situ). The Warwick version of the portrait was thus for two centuries only known in this drastically altered state. Millar in the 2004 catalogue raisonné described it as a replica (a second version by van Dyck) of the Metropolitan portrait, commenting that the Warwick painting was ‘of particularly good quality’ and that the ‘arms and hands are painted with a fresh touch’ (op. cit., p. 528).
Following its sale in 2016, the Warwick Portrait of Henrietta Maria was subject to an extensive conservation programme, which delicately removed the additions to the canvas and all of the eighteenth-century overpaint, revealing van Dyck’s original paint layers, with all their deftness of touch and shimmering surfaces, which remained almost completely intact. Even a number of important pentimenti could still be seen, most significantly the evidence that the Queen had, in van Dyck’s earliest conception of the portrait, been holding a fan in her lowered left hand. Fans were often used in seventeenth-century portraiture to symbolise the elevated social status of the sitter; perhaps in this instance van Dyck decided that in a composition that was intended as a diplomatic gift a fan was not enough to denote the Queen’s exalted position, only a crown would suffice.
When the Metropolitan and Warwick versions of the portrait are carefully compared, the placement of the crown in relation to Henrietta Maria is noticeably different. In the Warwick painting the Queen is centred exactly on the canvas, with the crown seemingly added as an after-thought in the space to her left. Henrietta Maria’s placement in the Metropolitan portrait is, however, slightly further to the right, giving more prominence to the crown. This may suggest that the Warwick portrait came first, following which van Dyck altered the composition to a more balanced format. In any event, it establishes the two paintings as slight variants, rather than direct versions, of one another.

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