Completed Portraits: British 16th and 17th C 31 Is this a portrait of James II? Who is the artist?

Topic: Subject or sitter

Isn't this sitter James II, when he was Duke of York? One can glimpse the edge of a blue garter sash on the lower left.

But can anyone pinpoint the portrait type, and artist?

Nottingham City Museums and Galleries comment: 'There are no clues on the back of the frame or the stretcher. An early catalogue card calls the picture a "pseudo portrait". It does not look like the fine work of a commissioned royal portrait painter, nor a 17th century work. Maybe there is an original source out there somewhere...'

The collection states that the work was originally donated by Earl Manvers in 1878. It was thought to be an image of Colonel Hutchinson. This seems to have been quickly refuted and there is no paper trail recording this.

Bendor Grosvenor, Entry reviewed by Art UK

Completed, Outcome

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Patty Macsisak,

Do you agree that the age of the sitter is between 20-30 years old? If the portrait was of James, Duke of York, then the portrait would have been painted between ca. 1653-1663.

The period of 1652-1658 saw James employed with first, the armies of France, then Spain. Portraits taken during this period could have been executed in either country.

When I compare the sitter under discussion to other paintings of James II, Duke of York between ca. 1653-1663, a prominent dimple on his chin is missing, e.g.,

At the time of his appointment as High Lord Admiral ca. 1660, the dimple is obscured:,400

Note that this portrait does include the pencil moustache (an artifact of his time on the Continent?), which may help to pinpoint the date of the portrait under discussion.

Only one year later ca. 1661, as James settled into his role in the Navy, the demeanor is more masculine and the moustache is gone, e.g.,

Bruce Trewin,

In all three examples of known portraits shown by Patty the most prominent feature in my view is the protruding lower lip, reminiscent of the Hapsburg lip, although not nearly so pronounced. Does the portrait in consideration show this?

Patty Macsisak,

For comparison, other portraits of James, Duke of York as High Lord of the Admiralty:

After Peter Lely...

By Peter Lely...,_when_Duke_of_York,_1633_–_1701_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg

I was unfamiliar with the symbolism of the pink sash, but I read that it indicates high military rank in the Spanish Court (I do hope someone can provide more specific information), e.g.,

Various portraits of Phillip IV, e.g.,,-Son-Of-Philip-IV-And-Isabella-Of-Bourbon.htmlázquez_-_Príncipe_Baltasar_Carlos_(Museo_del_Prado,_1634-35).jpg'Este,_Duke_of_Modena

Patty Macsisak,

What color is that sash? James, was named Duke of Albany (December 1660). If the sash is orange, perhaps it is an early reference to designs for the "Duke's Colony" in North America (i.e., Fort Orange).

R. Stephens,

Is it James II? Yes. Briefly considered the Old Pretender, given that Bendor is the questioner, but no.

What is it based on? I agree with other commenters who suggest a model of the 1650s or 60s. Maybe this is a copy from the very early 18th century, knocked out for the saleroom, of an early continental portrait or engraving after such?

I wondered if the manner of the parting of the hair could give some clue as to the origin of the painting from which this comes, or where the copy was made or who did it? For it looks so deliberately stylised, I wonder if similar treatments are out there which could serve as useful comparisons.

Betty Elzea,

Anyway, the work of a copyist? For instance, the cravat is poorly painted. An actual sight of it and careful scrutiny might reveal more poorly painted parts.

Catharine MacLeod,

I wonder whether it might be a copy of a (lost) JM Wright - obviously with details like the cravat simplified.

Michael Liversidge,

The colour of the sash is the same as for other Royalists in portraits from the 1640s onwards, isn't it (cf Dobson images among others).

Most intriguing to me is the flattened imitation 'stone' oval. That is something which is quite commonplace in mid-17th century French portraits, and circulated widely in engraved copies of paintings, or engravings intended to look like painting reproductions - a good example of the latter is Wallerant Vaillant's self-portrait engraving (with mezzotint) in the British Museum Dept of Prints and Drawings collection. Painted ovals are pretty ubiquitous, of course, but this particular style of oval is very frquently found in French portraits of the 1640s-70s.

Al Brown,

Am not altogether convinced this is James. Compared with other images of him of presumably around the same date - the Greenhill at Dulwich and, say, the attributed to Luttichuijs at Fenton House, this chap's lacking the familiar, lugubrious features. There's something bright-eyed, almost smiling about this sitter.

Patty Macsisak,

Well, well, I've made a discovery (when is a discovery, a discovery?) I viewed the following slideshow about Duchess Mary Beatrice of Modena via youtube. At the 1:15/3:36 mark, there is a painting of Duchess Mary within a frame that looks to be remarkably similar to the frame of the painting under discussion. A Google search for the same image was not successful. Does anyone know the painting in the video?

Patty Macsisak,

Ms. Kollman, thanks so much for locating the portrait in the video.

Patty Macsisak,

About the Royalist scarf/sash...

"In the early part of the war the Royalist wore red or crimson sashes and Parliamentarians orange, the colour of the Earl of Essex. Other colours were worn by soldiers in the regional armies according to the choice of their commanders. In September 1642 troopers were given 10s. each to buy a 'scarfe', which was a great deal of money considering that a superior quality horseman's sword cost only 8s. at that time. It may be that the sash was so important because a cavalrymen did not wear a uniform coat."

Ref. via Google eBooks
Title Soldiers of the English Civil War (2): Cavalry
Elite series
Volume 2 of Soldiers of the English Civil War
Illustrated by Angus McBride
Contributor John Tincey
Edition illustrated
Publisher Osprey Publishing, 1990
ISBN 0850459400, 9780850459401
Length 63 pages
Page 11

Jacinto Regalado,

There is still a certain resemblance to both Charles II and James II, even though it appears to be neither of them, so is it possible that it could be a portrait of their younger brother Henry, Duke of Gloucester, who died at 20 in 1660?

Jacinto Regalado,

As best I can tell, the sitter doesn't look like Prince Rupert or his brothers. The fleshy lips and prominent nose could be James, but the prominent dimple in his chin is missing here, and the eyes are not quite right for James. I suppose one could consider one of the illegitimate sons of Charles II, but none of the portraits I've seen of them are sufficiently like.

Jacinto Regalado,

However, this still could be an indifferent or flattering likeness of James, though proving that is another matter.

Jacinto Regalado,

This is a young (about 27) James Stuart, who actually could pass for a young Mick Jagger, but while there's some resemblance, I think our man is a different person. The eyes are just not the same.

Jacinto Regalado,

The sitter is not Duke of Monmouth--not pretty enough. But he still looks like a Stuart. We need an expert on the bastards of Charles II.

Jacinto Regalado,

My penultimate comment, by the way, is evidently missing a link to a portrait of a young James Stuart, which I cannot recall now. Here is one c. 1665 by Lely and our man is not he.

Jacob Simon,

This eight-year-old discussion is so old that many of the links are dead. In reviewing the various posts I can find none that have come up with compelling evidence for identifying our portrait as the future James II. In my opinion he does not represent him. Unless convincing evidence is forthcoming, the picture should remain as Portrait of a Gentleman.

Jacinto Regalado,

The Art UK entry gives the date as 19th century, which (if correct) can only mean that this is a copy of a 17th C picture. Perhaps the entry should explicitly say something along those lines.

Jacinto Regalado,

I would also suggest that the word "armour" appear somewhere in the Art UK entry, obviously for search purposes, either as part of the title or in the descriptive note or as a tag.

Marcie Doran,

Here are some articles that mention this work. Please see the article from the ‘Nottingham Evening Post’ of 3 July 1878 in which the portrait donated by Earl Manvers was described as "apparently by a Nottingham painter". Was there a catalogue?