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Unknown woman formerly known as Mary, Queen of Scots

Unknown woman formerly known as Mary, Queen of Scots, by Jacobus Houbraken, after  Isaac Oliver, published 1738 - NPG D13127 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

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Unknown woman formerly known as Mary, Queen of Scots

by Jacobus Houbraken, after Isaac Oliver
line engraving, published 1738
14 5/8 in. x 9 in. (373 mm x 230 mm) plate size; 16 3/8 in. x 11 1/2 in. (415 mm x 291 mm) paper size
Reference Collection
NPG D13127

Sitterback to top

Artistsback to top

  • Jacobus Houbraken (1698-1780), Engraver. Artist associated with 435 portraits.
  • Isaac Oliver (circa 1565-1617), Miniature painter. Artist associated with 72 portraits, Sitter in 5 portraits.

This portraitback to top

A very fine portrait miniature by Isaac Oliver, depicting a young woman in a costume of the 1590s, was the basis for this print. At the time the print was made the miniature belonged to the great collector and physician Dr Richard Mead; it is now in the Royal Collection. Although prints after this miniature, identifying it as Mary, Queen of Scots, were used to illustrate important eighteenth-century history books (this one, Thomas Birch's The Heads of Illustrious Persons of Great Britain), there were doubts even at that time as to its authenticity as a portrait of Mary.

Related worksback to top

  • NPG D19623: Unknown woman formerly known as Mary, Queen of Scots (from same plate)

Linked displays and exhibitionsback to top

Events of 1738back to top

Current affairs

Fetter Lane Society founded in London by the Moravians; a reformed group of Protestants led by exiled Saxon Count Nicolaus von Zinzendorf. He visits Britain to petition the king for protection for Moravian missionaries working in the British colonies. An act to this effect is finally passed in 1749.
John Wesley is converted, essentially launching the Methodist movement.



Art and science

Artist Allan Ramsay returns to London from Rome and sets himself up as a portrait painter.
Metallurgist William Champion patents a process to distil zinc from calamine using charcoal in a smelter.

International

Methodist preacher George Whitefield arrives in Savannah, Georgia to replace John Wesley; the first of seven visits across the Atlantic which make him one of the most widely recognised figures in the American colonies.
Merchant sailor Robert Jenkins presents his pickled ear (cut off by Spanish coast-guards in Cuba in 1731) to Parliament stirring up war fever against Spain and leading to the War of Jenkins' Ear the following year.

Tell us more back to top

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RafaelRodriguez

13 July 2016, 20:50

How many copies exist? I have one of the same portrait NPG D13127.Reads In the Collection of Dr. Mead...Imprentis J: & P: linapton Londini 1738. g:Oliver pinaxit.

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