Venetia, Lady Digby
Venetia, Lady Digby
by Sir Anthony van Dyck
oil on canvas, circa 1633-1634
39 3/4 in. x 31 1/2 in. (1011 mm x 802 mm)
Purchased with help from the Pilgrim Trust, 1984
Sitterback to top
- Venetia, Lady Digby (1600-1633), Beauty; wife of Sir Kenelm Digby. Sitter in 4 portraits.
Artistback to top
- Sir Anthony van Dyck (1599-1641), Painter. Artist associated with 1024 portraits, Sitter associated with 31 portraits.
This portraitback to top
Perhaps painted as a posthumous tribute to Lady Digby, who is shown as Prudence, trampling on profane Love and spurning two-faced Deceit. The doves and the snake she holds allude to St Matthew: 'Be ye therefore wise as serpents and harmless as doves'.
Linked publicationsback to top
- Audio Guide
- Catharine MacLeod, Van Dyck: The Last Self Portrait, 2014, p. 15
- Cooper, John, Visitor's Guide, 2000, p. 36
- John Cooper, National Portrait Gallery Visitor's Guide, 2006, p. 36
- Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 179
- Schama, Simon, The Face of Britain: The Nation Through its Portraits, 2015-09-15, p. 120
- Schama, Simon, The Face of Britain: The Nation Through its Portraits, 2015-09-15, p. 148
- Various contributors, National Portrait Gallery: A Portrait of Britain, 2014, p. 81
Subjects & Themesback to top
Events of 1633back to top
Current affairsWilliam Laud is appointed Archbishop of Canterbury. A supporter of the political and religious policies of Charles I, he worked for the uniformity of church doctrine and practice.
Formal coronation of Charles I in Scotland. It would be the king's first visit since he left the country aged three.
Art and sciencePublication of Histriomastix by pamphleteer, William Prynne, which denounces female actors, coincides with the queen's participation in a masque; Prynne is consequently tried for sedition.
Playwright, John Ford, publishes 'Tis Pity She's a Whore; its treatment of incest makes it one of the most controversial works in English literature.
InternationalSummoned by Pope VIII, Galileo Galilei arrives in Rome to stand trial for the Copernican views he expressed in Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems, 1632. Found guilty of heresy, he spends the remainder of his life under house arrest.
Exhibitions and displays
- Lunchtime Lecture: White King: the tragedy of Charles I
18 January 2018, 13:15
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Help us conserve a portrait of a female adventurer, poet and medical pioneer