chapter  8
30 Pages

Devotional Jewellery in Portraits of Henrietta Maria

ByErin Griffey

The visual representation of Catholic devotion – whether through gesture, dress or jewellery – faces us in many portraits of Catholic queens. Though often neglected by scholars in their studies of portraiture and the history of collecting, jewellery served a vital function as a visual marker of both piety and magnificence, what might be termed prince/ssly piety. Crosses and crucifixes, rosaries and wimples all appear in early modern portraits of Catholic queens and noblewomen. Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640) executed a number of splendid portraits of explicitly Catholic queens and regents at the French, Spanish and Brussels courts, including Marie de Médicis (1609), Anne of Austria (c.1622-25) and Isabella Clara Eugenia (1625). But Henrietta Maria, who was related by marriage or blood-lines to all of these women, was the first Catholic queen at a Protestant court, and in a country that was deeply suspicious of ‘popish’ influence.1