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 Rubens, Peter Paul (Flemish painter and draftsman, 1577-1640) , Sketch for

Core Record

Title Sketch for 'King James I Uniting England and Scotland'
Alternative Title Apotheosis of James I
Collection Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
Artist Rubens, Peter Paul (Flemish painter and draftsman, 1577-1640)
Date Earliest about 1632
Date Latest about 1633
Description Rubens was probably commissioned to provide a great propagandist decorative scheme for Inigo Jones's new building in Charles I's Palace when he visited London as a diplomat in 1629. Most, if not all, of Rubens' sketches for the ceiling were made in Antwerp where the canvases still in the Banqueting House, were also painted. Fifteen oil sketches survive of which only three are in Britain.

The programme on the ceiling centres on an Apotheosis of James I. Sir Oliver Millar describes the finished scene:

The benign James leans down from his throne to sanctify the joining of the crowns over the head of the infant Prince Charles... Or, perhaps more fancifully, as an impersonal embodiment of the young Great Britain.
Current Accession Number 1984P2
Former Accession Number P284; L4165
Subject history (James I uniting England and Scotland)
Measurements 63.5 x 48.3 cm cm (estimate)
Material oil on panel (hardwood {oak})
Acquisition Details Purchased with the aid of grants from the National Heritage Memorial Fund, the V & A Purchase Grant Fund, the National Art-Collections Fund and the Wolfson Foundation 1984.
Provenance F. A. Bruynincx, 1791 as Ahaseurus; Richard Cosway sale, G. Stanley, London, 9 March 1822, lot 67 as One of the Pictures for Whitehall, 26 5s; bought by Col. T. M. Davies, 1822; by descent to Lieut. Col. H. R. H. Davies; Agnew's.
Principal Exhibitions Royal Academy, 1879, cat. no. 30; Worcester, 1837, cat. no. 100; Wildenstein, London, 1950, cat. no. 22; Boymans Museum, Rotterdam, 1953-4, cat. no. 87; Bruges, 1956, Royal Academy, 1956-7, cat. no. 549; Agnew's, 1961, cat. no. 26; Tate Gallery, 1972, cat. no. 41; Richard and Maria Cosway: Regency Artists of Taste and Fashion, Scottish National Portrait Gallery, 1995, National Portrait Gallery, London, 1995.
Publications Agnew's 1982 - 1991, London, 1991, p. 12.
Notes Lieutenant H. R. H. Davies of Elmley Castle, Worcestershire. The painting was first lent to the museum in 1949, and then for at least a few months every year until it was acquired by the museum in 1984. Composition is very similar to Rubens' Esther before Ahasuerus.
Rights Owner Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
Author Dr Patricia Smyth



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