Mary, Queen of Scots

1 portrait of Mary, Queen of Scots

Mary, Queen of Scots, after Nicholas Hilliard, late sixteenth century or early seventeenth century (1578?) - NPG 429 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Mary, Queen of Scots

after Nicholas Hilliard
oil on panel, late sixteenth century or early seventeenth century (1578?)
31 1/8 in. x 35 1/2 in. (791 mm x 902 mm)
Purchased, 1876
Primary Collection
NPG 429

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  • Nicholas Hilliard (1547-1619), Miniature painter. Artist associated with 34 portraits.

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The daughter of James V of Scotland and Mary of Guise, Mary Stuart succeeded to the Scottish throne as an infant but spent most of her childhood in France. After the death of Mary I she laid claim to the English throne. Mary returned to Scotland after the death of her husband Francis II and ruled for seven turbulent years. During her reign she married Lord Darnley, connived with the Earl of Bothwell at Darnley's murder, married Bothwell and was finally forced to flee to England. The Latin inscription in this portrait tells us that it was painted when she had been a prisoner in England for ten years. The cross attached her rosary bears the letter 'S' for Stuart on each of its arms. At its centre is an enamelled scene of Susannah and the Elders (symbolising the triumph of right through divine aid) surrounded by a Latin motto which signifies 'troubles on all sides'.

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