portrait of lady mary villiers c1640 attributed to theodore russell

Portrait of Lady Mary Villiers C.1640; Attributed to Theodore Russell.



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Oil on panel in gilded frame.
This is a superb quality portrait in fine condition. The elaborate frame is in the French style and presents this lovely portrait like a jewel in a rich gold setting.
A reduced version of Van Dyck's original. These small size portraits after Van Dyck were the speciality of Russell and of Van Leemput.
LADY MARY VILLIERS was the daughter of 1st Duke of Buckingham and Katherine Manners and, raised with the royal children, she was a favourite of James I and Charles I. She was married three times.
In 1626 she was betrothed to Charles Herbert, son of Philip, who subsequently succeeded as 4th Earl of Pembroke. They were married on 8 January 1635, but Herbert died a year later, leaving a 13 year-old widow. Her second marriage was to James Stuart, Duke of Lennox (afterwards Duke of Richmond), a cousin of Charles I, on 3 August 1637. Whilst living at King Charles I exiled court at Oxford between 1643 and 1645, Mary was rumoured to have had an affair with Prince Rupert of the Rhine.
The Duke of Richmond died in 1655, and Mary left for the exiled Royalist community in Paris. After the Restoration she returned to the English Court and became Lady of the Bedchamber to the dowager Queen, Henrietta Maria. In 1664 she was married to Colonel Thomas Howard (d. 1678), brother of 1st Earl of Carlisle.
As Duchess of Richmond, and later as the wife of Colonel Howard, Lady Mary was a prominent figure at Court after the Restoration. Several poems by the anonymous Stuart poetess known as Ephelia (whose works were published in 1679 as ''Female Poems... by Ephelia'') were dedicated to her, and it has been established in the last decade by Maureen Mulvihill of the Princeton Research Forum that Ephelia was in fact Lady Mary herself. This poetess produced an intriguing set of texts, some privately-printed, being bold political broadsheets against the Popish Plot and the rising of James, Duke of Monmouth, as well as amusing coterie verse, songs, a collection of female poems, amorous verse-letters, and ‘a damn'd play’, evidently a farce-burlesque on the debauched private lives of Charles II and his brother, James, Duke of York. This new identification suggests that Lady Mary Villiers was the most highly-placed, publishing woman writer of the Stuart period.
She died in 1685 and was buried in Westminster Abbey.
Aliases: Theodore Rousel; Theodore Rousseel; Theodore Roussel; Theodore Russel.
Born in London, his father, Nicasius, was a goldsmith and jeweller, who left Bruges for England about 1573 and settled in the parish of St Anne, Blackfriars, London; his second wife, Theodore’s mother, was the sister of Cornelis Jonson van Ceulen.
The Russells were connected with the Gheeraerts, de Critz and Oliver families. Theodore’s son, Anthony Russell, who provided George Vertue with information concerning 17th-century artists, stated that Theodore had studied under Jonson and van Dyck, who much influenced his style. he had been employed by such patrons as the 3rd Earl of Essex and the 1st Earl of Holland, and ‘was a lover of ease & his Bottle’.
SIZE: Panel, 15.5 x 12.5 inches
Frame: 25.5 x 21 inches
*Old collection of a titled family, North Yorkshire.
*With Roy Precious Fine Art.
*Collection of a Fellow of a Cambridge College.
Internal Ref: 9015


Height = 65 cm (26")
Width = 32 cm (13")
Depth = 6 cm (3")

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