A finely executed portrait of a Courtier believed to be George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham

ENGLISH SCHOOL (17th Century )

A finely executed portrait of a Courtier believed to be George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham

c. 1627 United Kingdom

Offered by Ellison Fine Art

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wearing embroidered black doublet, collar trimmed with lace, moustache and beard, in later gilt-metal mount 

As oil miniature portraits were rarely signed it has been difficult to identify the artist’s hand with any certainty. The hand is however very competent and shows the influence of Nicholas Hilliard and Isaac Oliver. 

This miniature shows a very strong likeness to the “Equestrian Portrait of Buckingham”, George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, by Rubens painted around 1627[1], and to the half-length portrait by Paul Somer currently in the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

George Villiers was made Baron Whaddon, of Whaddon in the County of Buckingham, and Viscount Villiers in 1616, Earl of Buckingham in 1617, Marquess of Buckingham in 1618 and Earl of Coventry and Duke of Buckingham in 1623. Villiers was incredibly stupid and unbelievably talentless, promoted to the highest noble rank in the land by James 1 simply because he was handsome and elegant. Buckingham’s exploits in England’s name had been disastrous, squandering thousands of English soldier’s lives through want and disease to the laughter of England’s enemies and the despair of its friends. In many ways, his actions can be viewed as creating the discontent between King Charles 1 and Parliament that eventually led to the Civil War. Despite his disastrous political and military record, he remained at the height of royal favour for the first two years of the reign of Charles I, until he was assassinated in 1628 by a disgruntled army officer, lieutenant John Felton, with a tenpenny knife bought on tower hill. 

References: [1] Formerly in Osterley Park, destroyed in 1949. Published in Writing Lives: Biography and Textuality, Identity and Representation in Early Modern England. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008.
Height 2.00 inch (5.08 cm)
Stock Code
oil on copper
Ellison Fine Art

Ellison Fine Art
United Kingdom

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