William II of Orange-Nassau

1 portrait

William II of Orange-Nassau, after Sir Anthony Van Dyck, early 18th century? (1641) - NPG 964 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

William II of Orange-Nassau

after Sir Anthony Van Dyck
oil on canvas, early 18th century? (1641)
27 1/4 in. x 21 in. (692 mm x 533 mm)
Given by Viscount Cobham, 1894
Primary Collection
NPG 964


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Sitterback to top

Artistback to top

  • Sir Anthony Van Dyck (1599-1641), Painter. Artist associated with 1010 portraits, Sitter associated with 31 portraits.

This portraitback to top

William of Nassau, the Prince of Orange, was the son of Frederick Henry, the Stadtholder of the United Provinces. Married at the age of fifteen to Mary, the eldest daughter of Charles I, the prince led a restless and dissolute life until his accession to the stadholderate in 1647 gave him an outlet for his great abilities, masterful will and keen ambition. His plans for an aggressive policy against Spain were ended by his early death from smallpox. A few days after he died, his wife gave birth to the son who would become William III of England. This portrait is thought to have been based on a double portrait of William and his wife painted at the time of their marriage.

Linked publicationsback to top

Subjects & Themesback to top

Events of 1641back to top

Current affairs

Statesman, John Pym, plays a leading part in bringing charges of treason against the king's chief councillor, Thomas Wentworth, Earl of Strafford whose subsequent execution is widely celebrated. The Grand Remonstrance, a long, comprehensive indictment of the king's government since his accession, is narrowly passed by Parliament.

Art and science

Following the death of Sir Anthony van Dyck, William Dobson is appointed Principal Painter to the king. Poet and polemicist, John Milton, publishes the first of several anti-prelatical tracts, attacking the episcopal form of church governance and in particular, the arguments of royalist Joseph Hall, Bishop of Norwich.

International

The Irish Catholic gentry, fearing invasion from the increasingly pro-Puritan English Long Parliament and the Scottish Covenants, launch an unsuccessful coup d'etat in order to seize concessions for Catholics; the ensuing Irish Rebellion, which precipitated civil war in the three kingdoms, is led by Irish rebel, Sir Phelim O'Neill.

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