An Early 19thC English School Oil on Canvas Portrait of Mary Stuart, Princess Royal and Princess of Orange (1631 – 1660)

Origin: English
Period: George III
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1800-30
Height: 29.5”
Width: 25.5” (in frame)

The beautifully realised portrait of Mary Stuart, Princess Royal and Princess of Orange (1631 – 1660), as a very young woman, shown in profile and half length, wearing a pearl necklace, lace gown and headdress whilst clutching a flower, the whole on a dark ground, presented in a somewhat naïve manner and presented in the original moulded giltwood frame and surviving from the first quarter of the nineteenth century.

The picture is in very good original condition with no restoration or overpainting. please refer to the photographs for a visual reference. There are a couple of small flecked losses. The labels to the reverse are very interesting and can only be partly deciphered, it states who the sitter is and we also learn that it was purchased in Paris in the 1800s and gifted to a certain A C Madison.

Princess Mary Henrietta, the eldest daughter of the ill fated Kiing Charles I and Henrietta Maria of France was born was born on 4 November 1631 at St. James's Palace, in London. Mary, Princess Royal, was an English princess, a member of the House of Stuart, and by marriage Princess of Orange and Countess of Nassau. She acted as regent for her minor son from 1651 to 1660. She was the first holder of the title Princess Royal.

Charles I, designated his daughter Princess Royal in 1642, thereby establishing the tradition that the eldest daughter of the Sovereign would bear this title. The idea came into being when his French Queen Henrietta Maria, the daughter of King Henry IV of France and Marie de Medici, wanted to imitate the way the eldest daughter of the French king was styled Madame Royale.

The restoration of Charles II in England and Scotland greatly enhanced the position of the Princess of Orange and her son in Holland. In September 1660, she returned to England. She contracted smallpox, which had killed her husband some ten years before and had recently killed her youngest brother Henry, Duke of Gloucester. Mary became seriously ill, the prescribed treatment at the time, bleeding only served to make her condition worse. On Christmas eve 1660 Mary dictated her will. She named her brother Charles as her son's guardian, which was not accepted by the Dutch. Princess Mary died on 24 December 1660, at the age of 29, at Whitehall Palace, London and was buried in Westminster Abbey.

A stunningly beautiful portrait of real quality.