Mary Villiers, Lady Herbert of Shurland

Date
ca. 1636

Medium
oil on canvas

Dimension
101 x 83.8 cm

Date
ca. 1636

Medium
oil on canvas

Dimension
101 x 83.8 cm

Mary Villiers, Lady Herbert of Shurland is a portrait by Anthony van Dyck commissioned by King Charles I of England in whose collection it once belonged. It was sold through Nicholas Hall to the Timken Museum of Art, San Diego.
Provenance

King Charles I (1600–1649)

Possibly a gift of the king to Lady Mary Villiers (1622–1685)

By inheritance to George Legge (1648–1691), 1st baron Dartmouth

William Legge (1730–1801), 2nd earl of Dartmouth, Sandwell Hall, Staffordshire

William Legge (1881–1958), 7th earl of Dartmouth, Patshull Park, Staffordshire

By descent to Lady Elizabeth Basset née Legge (1908–2000)

Phillips, London, July 10, 2001, lot 123

Historical Portraits, London

Acquired by the Putnam Foundation, 2005

exhibited

The Timken Museum of Art, San Diego

literature

Stebbing Shaw, The History and Antiquities of Staffordshire, London, 1801, vol. 2, pt.1, pp. 128-32.

Sir Oliver Millar, ed., “Abraham van der Doort’s Cataglogue of the Collections of Charles I, ” Walpole Society 1958-1960, 1960: 37, 227, probably no. 46.

Susan Barnes, ed., Van Dyck: A Complete Catalogue of the Paintings, New Haven, 2004, p. 587, no.IV.203.

essay

This portrait was painted at the request of King Charles I of England, in whose collection it once hung. Lady Mary Villiers (1622-1685), the daughter of George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham, was one of the most intriguing individuals connected with the English court. She was raised in the royal household after her father was assassinated in 1628. At age fourteen, when this portrait was painted, she was already a widow of fifteen-year-old Charles, Lord Herbert of Shurland, who died of smallpox in 1636. The wedding had been arranged by the King to unite his court and country supporters. The intimacy of this portrait is remarkable due, perhaps, to the special rapport the artist had with his young sitter, whom he had known since at least 1633, and whose portrait he painted on several occasions.

© Timken museum of Art

more from this artist