chapter  7
26 Pages

Merely Ornamental? Van Dyck’s Portraits of Henrietta Maria

Henrietta Maria’s portraits by Anthony van Dyck, ‘principalle Paynter in ordinary to their Majesties’ from 1632 to 1641, have received little scholarly attention. With the exceptions of Henrietta Maria’s portrait with Jeffrey Hudson and the double portrait in Kroměříž, none has been the subject of a recent study.1 One possible reason for this neglect may be the perception that, in the portraits, Henrietta Maria is ‘looking as if her only possible function was to be ornamental’.2 While beauty is indeed vital to the portraits, a closer look will reveal that there is more to this than meets the eye.