Mary of Modena

1 portrait on display in Room 8 at the National Portrait Gallery

Mary of Modena, by William Wissing, circa 1685 - NPG 214 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Mary of Modena

by William Wissing
oil on canvas, circa 1685
48 in. x 38 1/2 in. (1220 mm x 978 mm)
Purchased, 1866
Primary Collection
NPG 214


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Sitterback to top

  • Mary of Modena (1658-1718), Queen of James II. Sitter associated with 54 portraits.

Artistback to top

  • William Wissing (1656-1687), Portrait painter. Artist associated with 147 portraits, Sitter in 3 portraits.

This portraitback to top

The only daughter of Alfonso IV, Duke of Modena, and a devout Roman Catholic, Mary intended to enter a convent until her marriage with James, Duke of York, (later James II), in 1673. This is one of a series of informal paintings that were based on the sittings by the royal couple for their coronation portraits. In the portrait Mary's left hand rests on a small dog which looks like an Italian greyhound, a reference to her homeland. The turn of the dog's head away from his mistress may be a device to suggest that his master is nearby.

Linked publicationsback to top