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Later Stuart Portraits Catalogue

King James II (1633-1701), Reigned 1685-88

Second surviving son of Charles I; Duke of York and Albany 1633; Lord High Admiral 1638; KG 1642; exiled in Europe, where he saw military service 1648-60; he married 1) 1660 Anne Hyde (d. 1671), later Duchess of York, with whom he became a Catholic convert; 2) 1673 Mary of Modena; succeeded his brother Charles II as King in February 1685, his Catholic policies arousing much discontent; in the face of the Protestant forces of William of Orange (invited over to England by a discontented nobility), he fled London 23 December 1688 for France; defeat in Ireland on 1 July 1689 finally severed his connections with the English throne; d. Saint-Germain-en-Laye 5/16 September 1701.

‘His complexion may be called light in colour, all the outlines of his face are prominent: a square forehead, the eyes large, swollen, and deep blue, the nose curved and rather large, the lips pale and thick, and the chin rather pointed’ (Lorenzo Magalotti, 1667).

‘His outward cariage was a little stif and constrain’d … and … his Temper was naturally hot and colerick’ (anon. 1702).

‘something above middle stature, well-shaped, very nervous and strong’ (Life of King James II, 1816).


This extended catalogue entry is from the National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue: John Ingamells, National Portrait Gallery: Later Stuart Portraits 1685-1714, National Portrait Gallery, 2009, and is as published then. For the most up-to-date details on individual Collection works, we recommend reading the information provided in the Search the Collection results on this website in parallel with this text.