Henrietta Maria

© National Portrait Gallery, London

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Henrietta Maria

by Unknown artist, background by Hendrik van Steenwyck
oil on canvas, circa 1635
85 in. x 53 1/4 in. (2159 mm x 1352 mm)
Given by Henry Louis Bischoffsheim, 1899
Primary Collection
NPG 1247

On display in Room 4 on Floor 3 at the National Portrait Gallery

Sitterback to top

  • Henrietta Maria (1609-1669), Queen of Charles I. Sitter associated with 88 portraits.

Artistsback to top

  • Hendrik van Steenwyck (circa 1580-1649), Artist. Artist or producer associated with 1 portrait, Sitter in 6 portraits.
  • Unknown artist, Artist. Artist or producer associated with 6578 portraits.

This portraitback to top

The architectural background which was painted first is probably by Hendrick van Steenwyck the younger.

Linked publicationsback to top

  • Smartify image discovery app
  • Gibson, Robin, Treasures from the National Portrait Gallery, 1996, p. 39
  • Piper, David, Catalogue of Seventeenth Century Portraits in the National Portrait Gallery, 1625-1714, 1963, p. 161
  • Ribeiro, Aileen, The Gallery of Fashion, 2000, p. 68
  • Ribeiro, Aileen; Blackman, Cally, A Portrait of Fashion: Six Centuries of Dress at the National Portrait Gallery, 2015, p. 86
  • Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 295
  • Various contributors, National Portrait Gallery: A Portrait of Britain, 2014, p. 80 Read entry

    The youngest daughter of Henry IV of France and Marie de’ Medici, Henrietta Maria married Charles I in 1625. Small, vivacious and charming, she introduced the latest French fashions to the English court. Charles and Henrietta Maria were a devoted couple and had seven children. However, Henrietta Maria contributed to the unpopularity of the monarchy through her conspicuous Roman Catholicism and promotion of Catholic causes. She was actively involved in the civil wars by personally bringing munitions from France and pawning her jewellery to raise funds. She refused to leave England until the war had decisively turned against the King in 1644 and continued her attempts to muster European support for Charles until his execution in 1649. She briefly returned to England following the restoration of her son Charles II to the throne in 1660, before retiring to her native France.

    The figure of Henrietta Maria in this portrait is by an unknown artist though it is clearly influenced by Anthony Van Dyck. The architectural background was painted first and is probably by the Dutch painter Hendrik van Steenwyck the Younger (c.1580–1649).

Events of 1635back to top

Current affairs

Discovered by the Earl of Arundel, centenarian Thomas Parr dies, it is claimed, at the age of 152.
Richard Weston, Earl of Portland dies. Though unpopular in the Commons, Portland was an effective Lord Chief Treasurer who succeeded in curbing royal expenditure.

Art and science

Dramatic poet, James Shirley composes The Traitor, dedicating it to literary patron, William Cavendish, Earl of Newcastle. Shirley would later assist Newcastle on a number of the earl's own plays, while benefiting from his patronage.
Postal services are made available to the public.


As a result of French first minister, Cardinal Richelieu's foreign policy, France becomes directly involved in the Thirty Years' War.
Elector palatine, Charles Lewis, excluded from the peace of Prague between Emperor Ferdinand II and Electorate of Saxony, travels to England to secure military help from his uncle, Charles I.

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