In this three-quarter-length portrait, Henry, Duke of Gloucester, confidently counters the viewer’s scrutiny. He wears a gleaming breastplate that covers a richly brocaded gold doublet with split sleeves; his right hand rests on a staff while his left hand covers the hilt of a gold-topped rapier. Identified on the basis of an inscription on a bust-length copy after this painting, Henry (1640–1660) was the third son of King Charles I and Queen Henrietta Maria. After virtual imprisonment during England’s civil war and Protectorate, Henry was permitted to join his older sister Maria Stuart and her husband, Willem II, Prince of Orange, in The Hague in 1652. The next year, Henry was invested as a Knight in the Order of the Garter, and that festive occasion likely led to the commission of this portrait by Adriaen Hanneman. The commanding pose of young Henry was probably chosen to stress the legitimacy and continuity of the Stuart dynasty despite the fact that Charles II, Henry’s brother, was in exile in Paris. At the Restoration in 1660, Henry accompanied Charles II back to England; he contracted smallpox soon thereafter and died that same year.
Hanneman worked at the English court between 1626 and 1638, and his portrait style echoed that of the celebrated court-artist Anthony van Dyck. Upon his return to The Hague, Hanneman became the favorite of the Dutch and exiled English aristocracy in the court circles around Maria Stuart and the Prince of Orange.
The splendidly dressed youth in this three-quarter-length portrait looks out assuredly at the viewer. With a commanding gesture, he rests his right hand on a baton before him while he turns to his left and places his near hand over the hilt of a gold-topped rapier. His buff-colored doublet, richly brocaded with gold and silver threads, has split sleeves that reveal a white blouse with large, pleated cuffs. His breastplate is crossed by a blue ribbon that lies under his flat, white collar and tassel. The broadly painted brown rock cliff behind him and the distant landscape vista to the left provide a neutral background for this elegant figure.
The identities both of the sitter and of the artist who painted him have been the subject of much speculation in the literature.
Leo van Puyvelde, “Van Dyck and the Amsterdam Double Portrait,” Burlington Magazine 83, no. 485 (August 1943): 204–207.
Jean-Baptiste Descamps, La vie des peintres flamands, allemands et hollandais, 4 vols. (Paris, 1753–1763), 2:187.
John Smith, A Catalogue Raisonné of the Works of the Most Eminent Dutch, Flemish and French Painters (London, 1829–1842), 3:203, no. 712.
John Walker, Self-Portrait with Donors: Confessions of an Art Collector (Boston and Toronto, 1974), 116–118.
Margaret R. Toynbee and Leo van Puyvelde, “Van Dyck and the Amsterdam Double” Burlington Magazine 83, no. 487 (October 1943): 257–258.
William Arthur Shaw, The Knights of England, 2 vols. (London, 1906), 1:33 (as cited in Margaret R. Toynbee and Leo van Puyvelde, “Van Dyck and the Amsterdam Double Portrait [an Exchange of Letters],” Burlington Magazine 83, no. 487 [October 1943]: 257–258).
William III was invested in the following May and was installed by dispensation in 1661; Margaret R. Toynbee and Leo van Puyvelde, “Van Dyck and the Amsterdam Double Portrait (an Exchange of Letters),” Burlington Magazine 83, no. 487 (October 1943): 257–258.
Toynbee was the first writer to properly identify the sitter as Henry, Duke of Gloucester (1640–1660), on the basis of an inscription on a bust-length copy after this painting in the collection of the Earl Fitzwilliam at Wentworth Woodhouse (see the 1995 catalog entry PDF for this comparative image).
The inscription reads “Henry Duke of Glocster 3d sonn to Kg Charles ye 1st.” Margaret R. Toynbee, “Adriaen Hanneman and the English Court in Exile,” Burlington Magazine 92, no. 564 (March 1950): 76. This inscription was probably added to the portrait between 1689 and 1702, during the reign of Willem III. Similar inscriptions on several other portraits from the same collection are written with the same yellow paint and in the same handwriting, one of which refers “William” as the present king of England. For the accuracy of the inscription, see Adolf Staring, “Willem II of III of wie?” Oud-Holland 71, no. 3 (1956): 158–161.
Adolf Staring, “Willem II of III of wie?” Oud-Holland 71, no. 3 (1956): 153–162. Hanneman was also a favorite artist of Constantijn Huygens (1596–1687), who may well have advised on the commission. In 1640 Huygens had commissioned Hanneman to paint portraits of himself and his five children (Mauritshuis, The Hague).
The attribution disputes that have occurred over this painting are understandable. Not only is the quality extremely high but the elegance of the pose and setting are typical of Van Dyck’s English period. Hanneman, who studied with Van Dyck in England and followed his style after returning to the Netherlands, became the most fashionable portraitist of the English and Dutch aristocracy in The Hague around mid-century. Close stylistic comparisons may be made with other of Hanneman’s portraits from this period. The portrait of Johan de Witt, 1652 (Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam),
See inv. no. 1280, from Museum Boymans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam.
The elegant manner in which Hanneman portrayed Henry, Duke of Gloucester, is more Van Dyckian than is usual for this artist. The pose and bearing specifically refer back to Van Dyck’s last known portrait of the future Charles II, painted in 1641 (private collection).
Oliver Millar, Van Dyck in England (London, 1982), 103, no. 63.
Richard Pennington, A Descriptive Catalogue of the Etched Work of Wenceslaus Hollar, 1607–1677, (Cambridge and New York, 1982).
Onno ter Kuile, Adriaen Hanneman, 1604–1671: Een Haags portretschilder (Alphen aan den Rijn, 1976), no. 14.
Henry’s stay in The Hague after his investiture in April 1653 was comparatively short, for his mother, Queen Henrietta Maria, requested that he join her in Paris. At the Restoration he accompanied Charles II back to England, where they landed on May 27, 1660. Unfortunately, he contracted smallpox shortly thereafter and died in London on September 13, 1660.
Arthur K. Wheelock Jr.
April 24, 2014
Count Heinrich von Brühl [1700-1763], Dresden; his heirs, until 1769; Catherine II, empress of Russia [1729-1796], Saint Petersburg; Imperial Hermitage Gallery, Saint Petersburg; purchased November 1930, as a painting by Sir Anthony van Dyck, through (Matthiesen Gallery, Berlin; P. & D. Colnaghi & Co., London; and M. Knoedler & Co., New York) by Andrew W. Mellon, Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C.; deeded 30 March 1932 to The A.W. Mellon Educational and Charitable Trust, Pittsburgh; gift 1937 to NGA.
- Dutch and Flemish Treasures from the National Gallery of Art, Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, 2003, no catalogue.
- Dutch Portraits: The Age of Rembrandt and Frans Hals, The National Gallery, London; Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis, The Hague, 2007-2008, no. 28, repro.
The original support, a medium-weight, plain-weave fabric, was lined with the tacking margin cropped, but the original dimensions retained. Paint has been applied fluidly over a smooth, moderately thick white ground layer. Dark sketchy glazes were employed to create shadows and broad outlines of forms, and small lumps of impasto were applied to the brocade and highlights. A gap between the background paint and the hair reveals a lighter underpaint layer and creates a halo effect around the head.
X-radiographs reveal minor adjustments by the artist to the folds of the white cuffs. Moderate abrasion and flake losses are found overall, and glazes have been thinned around the collar and hands. Losses exist along all edges, but they are more extensive on the top and bottom. The painting was lined in 1931, and treated again in 1996 to remove discolored varnish and inpainting. During the 1996 treatment, extensive pinpoint inpainting was applied in the sky as well as in the figure’s tunic and hair.
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- Imperial Hermitage Museum [probably Ernst von Münnich, ed.]. Catalogue des tableaux qui se trouvent dans les Cabinets du Palais Impérial à Saint-Pétersbourg. Based on the 1773 manuscript catalogue. Saint Petersburg, 1774: possibly no. 79, as Le portrait du prince d'Orange by Van Dyck.
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- arm akimbo
- fashion and clothing +aristocracy
- the rich
- artist +Anthony van Dyck + influence of
- historical person +Charles II of England