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Attributed to Dyck, Anthony van (Flemish painter, 1599-1641, active in England) , Queen Henrietta Maria with the Dwarf Jeffery Hudson

Core Record

Title Queen Henrietta Maria with the Dwarf Jeffery Hudson
Collection English Heritage (Marble Hill House)
Artist Attributed to Dyck, Anthony van (Flemish painter, 1599-1641, active in England)
Date Earliest 1633
Date Latest about 1640
Description This painting (a replica of the original in the National Gallery in Washington) is one of no less than twenty-five portraits painted by Sir Anthony Van Dyck of Queen Henrietta Maria during his permanence at the Stuart court from 1632-41. It is also one of several (including three by Daniel Mytens made before the arrival of Van Dyck in England) of the Queen and her favourite dwarf, Jeffery Hudson. The Queen famously received the dwarf as a gift while visiting the Duke and Duchess of Buckingham with Charles I: during dinner the tiny Hudson stepped out from within a thick crusted pie to give the Queen a deep courtier's bow, she was so thrilled by this elegant conceit that the Duchess immediately offered the dwarf as a present. Consequently Henrietta Maria gave him a permanent place in her household and he became one of her most trusted confidants and was remembered as 'the compleatest of courtiers'. Van Dyck's painting is not only a sensitive representation Henrietta Maria and the dwarf, it also alludes to the Queen's heritage, tastes and virtues. At the foot of the tall column (a symbol of fortitude) behind the Queen, is her crown incorporating the fleur-de-lys recalling both the French and Florentine lineage of her parents Charles IV of France and Maria de'Medici. The dwarf, Jeffery Hudson and the monkey, recall the rare and exotic court Henrietta Maria was famous for, while the orange tree (an expensive import) behind her recalls her interest in gardening. The monkey however is also a symbol of erotic passion, which tamed as shown here highlights the Queen's virtue while the orange, a Marian emblem associated with purity, chastity and generosity alludes both to the Queen's patron saint and to her own excellence.
Current Accession Number 88029301
Former Accession Number 299
Subject portrait (Queen Henrietta Maria; Jeffery Hudson)
Measurements 236.0 x 144 cm.0 cm (estimate)
Material oil on canvas
Acquisition Details Purchased by the Greater London Council for Marble Hill House 1965.
Provenance William Mellish; Christie's, 16 March 1839, lot 135 as Dobson, 36 1/2 gns.; Spencer-Churchill Collection; Northwick Park sale, Christie's, 25 June 1965, lot 63; bought by the GLC.
Publications A Catalogue of the Pictures at Northwick Park, 1864 (reprinted 1908), no. 291 (as Dobson); Borenius, T., A Catalogue of the Collection of Pictures at Northwick Park, 1921, no. 28 (as Sir Anthony Van Dyck).
Notes For a history of Jeffery Hudson: Bernard Hughes, G., Country Life, March 23, 1961, p. 635.
Rights Owner Copyright English Heritage
Author Francesco Nevola



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