Unknown woman, formerly known as Mary, Queen of Scots

1 portrait

Unknown woman, formerly known as Mary, Queen of Scots, after Unknown artist, 19th century - NPG D13196 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Unknown woman, formerly known as Mary, Queen of Scots

after Unknown artist
aquatint and etching, 19th century
15 in. x 11 5/8 in. (382 mm x 296 mm) paper size
Reference Collection
NPG D13196


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The search for authentic portraits of Mary, Queen of Scots continued well into the nineteenth century, stimulated by the continuing interest in her as a romantic heroine as well as an important historical figure. The painting that is reproduced in this print was a particularly attractive candidate, as the sitter corresponded much better with Victorian ideas of what such a heroine should look like than was the case in some of the authentic portraits. However, close examination of the painting subsequently revealed that, although it was fundamentally a genuine sixteenth-century portrait, elements such as the 'MR' initials on her waist chain and the coat of arms on the tree had been added much later to give the false impression that it was Mary.

Related worksback to top

  • NPG 96: Unknown woman, formerly known as Mary, Queen of Scots (source portrait)