Frances Teresa Stuart, Duchess of Richmond and Lennox

Frances Teresa Stuart, Duchess of Richmond and Lennox, by Willem Wissing, and  Jan van der Vaart, 1687 - NPG 4996 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

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Frances Teresa Stuart, Duchess of Richmond and Lennox

by Willem Wissing, and Jan van der Vaart
oil on canvas, 1687
83 7/8 in. x 51 in. (2130 mm x 1295 mm)
Purchased, 1974
Primary Collection
NPG 4996

Sitterback to top

Artistsback to top

  • Jan van der Vaart (1647-1721). Artist associated with 52 portraits.
  • Willem Wissing (1656-1687), Portrait painter. Artist associated with 146 portraits, Sitter in 3 portraits.

This portraitback to top

A lady of the court of Charles II, Frances Theresa Stuart was the original model for the figure of Britannia used on coins since 1667. She had been educated in France where she was known as 'La Belle Stuart' for her high spirits, beauty and kindness. When she came to England in 1663 she became maid of honour to Queen Catherine. She also attracted the king who climbed garden walls at night to visit her but whose advances she may have resisted. In 1667 she eloped from court to marry the 3rd Duke of Richmond. She is seen in this portrait, made twenty years later, in her Duchess's state robes with her coronet beside her.

Linked publicationsback to top

Subjects & Themesback to top

Events of 1687back to top

Current affairs

The fellows of Magdalen College, defying James II's instructions that they choose a Roman Catholic as its president, elect John Hough, Bishop of Worcester. The crown subsequently expels the fellows and annuls Hough's position.
The Declaration of Indulgence is issued, granting greater religious tolerance towards nonconformists and Catholics.

Art and science

Astronomer, Edmond Halley, publishes Isaac Newton's Principia, Newton's theory on the laws of gravity and motion.
Poet laureate, John Dryden, publishes The Hind and the Panther, a pro-Catholic, allegorical poem constructed as a theological discussion between the animals who represent the Church of Rome and Church of England respectively.

International

Papist Richard Talbot is appointed Lord Deputy of Ireland, the first Catholic to take the position since the Reformation.

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