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Later Stuart Portraits Catalogue

Mary of Modena (1658-1718), Queen of James II

Maria Beatrice Anna Margherita Isabella d’Este, daughter of Alfonso IV, Duke of Modena; a Catholic, she married 20/30 September 1673 James, Duke of York (being only four and seven years older than her step-daughters, Mary, and Anne; Queen consort of James II 1685-89; the birth of her only surviving child, James, the Old Pretender, in June 1688, precipitated the collapse of their reign; from 1689 exiled in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, where she led a devout life.

‘tall and admirably shaped, her hair black as jet, so were her eyebrows and her eyes, but the latter were so full of light and sweetness, as they did dazzle and charm too ... in the whole turn of her face, which was the most graceful oval, there were all the features, all the beauty, that could be great and charming in any human creature’ (Lord Peterborough, 1685).

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.