Double Portrait of Two Children
Double Portrait of Two Children
Double Portrait of Two Children
Double Portrait of Two Children
Double Portrait of Two Children
Double Portrait of Two Children
Double Portrait of Two Children

Circle of PAULUS JANSZ. MOREELSE (1571-1638)

Double Portrait of Two Children

1615 to 1635 Netherlands

Offered by Titan Fine Art


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An opportunity to purchase an item of superb provenance. Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, Duchess of Fife (1867-1931) who was the eldest daughter of King Edward VII of the United Kingdom sold this painting at Christie’s on July 18, 1924 along with many others including portraits by Reynolds and Raeburn and religious scenes by Mabuse and Matsys. The work formed part of a collection formed in the 17th century by one of her husband’s forebears. Her husband was Alexander William George Duff 1st Duke of Fife (a descendant of King William IV).

This magnificent double portrait represents a boy and girl wearing attire that was at the height of fashion at the time. The iconic black silks and velvets, wide lace collars, and puffed and slashed sleeves was de rigueur for the upper class. Texture and volume became immensely important. Rosettes, which had blossomed in popularity during the Elizabethan era, soared in popularity up to the 1650s and could be worn nearly anywhere: sleeves, garters, necklines, shoulders, belts, or shoes and many were in excess of 15cm (6 inches) in diameter. The extraordinary sumptuous costumes indicate considerable wealth and the painting speaks to the status of the family in Dutch society.

The artist revels in the detail of the fine lace and the facial features creating a very charming work.
By family descent to Alexander William George Duff 1st Duke of Fife; H. R. H. The Princess Royal when sold at Christies London 18th July 1924 catalogued: “P. Moreelse, Portrait of a Boy and Girl”; private collection in southern Germany

Alexander William George Duff, 1st Duke of Fife, KG, KT, GCVO, VD, PC (1849-1912) was a British peer who married Princess Louise. Fife was born in Edinburgh, the son of James Duff (a grandson of the 3rd Earl Fife and heir presumptive to his uncle, the 4th Earl Fife) and his wife, the former Lady Agnes Hay, second daughter of the 18th Earl of Erroll and the former Lady Elizabeth FitzClarence (an illegitimate daughter of William IV). When his father succeeded as 5th Earl Fife in 1857, he acquired the courtesy title Viscount Macduff. In December 1911, while sailing to Egypt on the SS Delhi, the Duke and his family were shipwrecked off the coast of Morocco. They spent some time in the water and the whole family nearly drowned before being rescued and then had to walk 4 miles to accommodation along a rocky shore. The Duke fell ill with pleurisy and died at Aswan in Egypt on 29 January 1912.

Princess Louise, Princess Royal, Duchess of Fife (1867-1931) was the third child and the eldest daughter of King Edward VII of the United Kingdom and Queen Alexandra; she was a younger sister of King George V. She was the sixth daughter of a British monarch to be styled Princess Royal. Louise experienced a happy childhood on her parent's Sandringham estate in Norfolk and spent and annual holidays with the family of her mother, Alexandra, Princess of Wales in Denmark. Louise married the extremely wealthy British nobleman Alexander William George Duff 6th Earl of Fife (whose great grandfather was King William IV) at the Private Chapel in Buckingham Palace. It has been accounted that no English princess ever received such a quantity of jewellery as Princess Louise of Wales on her marriage, valued at over £150,000. Louise and Fife were third cousins both being descended from King George III. Louise died at the age of 63 and was interred at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle and was later buried with her husband at private chapel in the mausoleum of Mar Lodge in Braemar, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. See the photo of the children of King Edward VII in 1875.

Horace Brand Farquhar, 1st Earl Farquhar (1844-1923) (a British financier, courtier and Conservative politician) died penniless and because of his partnership with the Princess Royal’s husband, the Prince Royal became liable to settle his debts. In Farquhar’s will he left many large legacies to his friends, including members of the Royal Family, but although his estate was assessed for probate at £400,000 the entire sum was taken up by debts, leaving nothing and revealing that Farquhar had been an undisclosed bankrupt. As a result of this the Princess Royal sold the present picture, along with many others that once formed part of a collection compiled in the 17th century by her husband’s forbearers, at Christies London 18th July 1924.
External Height 105.00 cm (41.34 inches)
External Width 142.00 cm (55.91 inches)
External Depth 6.00 cm (2.36 inches)
Oil on canvas
Titan Fine Art

Titan Fine Art

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