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Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014

Anne of Denmark (1574-1619)


Creator: Attributed to Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger (c. 1561-1636) (artist)
Creation Date: 
Dated 1614
Materials and techniques: 
Oil on panel
110.5 x 87.3 cm
OM 98
XQG 1983 K&Q 24
Apparently first recorded in the Royal Collection during the reign of James II at Whitehall

Half-length portrait of Anne of Denmark (1574-1619), in an interior with a chair behind on the right, holding a fan in her right hand. She is facing slightly to the right and is wearing a richly embroidered dress, three long ropes of pearls and jewellery, including a crowned S and C4. Inscribed in the background with the motto: La mia grandezza dal eccelso ('My greatness is from on high') which was a favourite with the Queen. The composition suggests it has been cut down at some point. There are possible pentimenti (changes by the artist) in the jewels, in the attachment of them to the Queen's dress and hair, and in the drawing of the wired ruff.

Anne of Denmark, consort to King James VI and I, adored jewellery. In 1597 she appointed Edinburgh jeweller George Heriot her goldsmith for life and over a decade he provided jewels totalling £40,000 to the queen – equivalent to £3.9 million today. Queen Anne used emblematic accessories to emphasise her own dynastic importance. The monogrammed C4 jewel seen here in her hair was a gift from her brother Christian IV of Denmark, and the diamond-studded S on her collar a reference to her mother, Sophia. Her silk skirt is worn over a drum-shaped farthingale, a formal style she particularly admired and insisted on at court for several years after it had passed out of the fashionable wardrobe.

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