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Title Portrait of William III
Collection Mount Edgcumbe House
Artist Attributed to school of Wissing, Willem (Dutch painter, ca. 1656-1687)
Attributed to after Lely, Peter (Dutch painter and draftsman, 1618-1680, active in England)
Date Earliest about 1677
Date Latest possibly about 1687
Description This portrait of William III is one of many versions existing in both Britain and the Netherlands. The original is thought to have been painted by Sir Peter Lely in 1677 when William visited England as Prince of Orange in order to marry his future queen, Mary. Another portrait commissioned by James II from Willem Wissing in 1685, however, was probably close in style. The composition of each adaptation is essentially the same with variations in the background landscape and the prince's armour. The ornate gold and steel suit worn here features in a full-length portrait in The Hague.
Current Accession Number Plymm.013
Subject portrait (William III)
Measurements 125.7 x 102.3 cm cm (estimate)
Material oil on canvas
Acquisition Details Given in lieu of tax from the estate of Edward Piers, 7th Earl of Mount Edgcumbe, 1985.
Provenance Possibly purchased by Sir Richard Edgcumbe (1639-1688); by descent.

Willem Wissing was a pupil of Lely and in 1685 was sent to the Netherlands by James II to paint his son-in-law William and daughter Mary, later British monarchs.

Back of stretcher: chalk, 'LD.M.E.'; pencil, 'No. 3'. Back of frame:'III'; labels 'P9L', 'CH18/1', 'HP/19', '111'

Recorded in the inventory of paintings at Mount Edgcumbe House (possibly compiled before 1941): (Saloon) 'King William III / In armour - steel inlaid with gold - holding a baton. He rests his left hand on his helmet. By his side is a spaniel. / Size 4'1/3 x 3'3 1/2 (3/4 length). Painted by Sir Peter Lely.'

The version closest to this one is probably the full-length portrait attributed to Willem Wissing now at the Mauritshuis, The Hague, although that one omits the dog in the lower left which is present in most of the other paintings. Another three-quarter-length portrait, sold at Christie's, London, 9 December 1955, lot 237, is also similar to the Mount Edgcumbe version but omits the prince's helmet. Lely's original is thought to be the portrait in the collection of the Duke of Northumberland at Syon House.

Advice on seventeenth-century portraiture was given by Catharine MacLeod, National Portrait Gallery, in response to photographic images of the Mount Edgcumbe collection of portraits.

Rights Owner Copyright Mount Edgcumbe Collection
Author Dr Anne L. Cowe



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