Mary, Queen of Scots, 1542 - 1587. Reigned 1542 - 15671610
When Mary signed the abdication documents at Loch Leven Castle, James became king aged only thirteen months. Although Mary lived until James was aged twenty, they never saw each other again. Following his mother’s death, James was keen to keep good relations with Elizabeth, as she paid him a large pension and he knew that, with no heirs of her own, the English throne may one day become his own.
After Elizabeth’s death in 1603 and James’s subsequent ascension to the English throne, he set about restoring his mother’s reputation. This portrait of around 1610 shows Mary as a virtuous queen and is typical of the type of portrait that James was keen to promote. In 1612 he ordered her remains to be removed from Peterborough Cathedral and buried in Westminster Abbey, where they remain today.
This image of Mary Queen of Scots dates from more than twenty years after her execution in 1587. The artist has based Mary's features on a miniature painted during her imprisonment in England. This type of portrait is associated with the efforts of Mary's son, James VI and I, to rehabilitate his mother's reputation. She wears a crucifix and a rosary hangs from her belt, decorated with a scene showing Susanna and the Elders. This Old Testament story tells how Susanna was condemned to death on false accusations but was found innocent and saved.
- Credits Purchased 1925
- Medium Oil on canvas
- Size 201.50 x 95.70 cm (framed: 224.60 x 119.80 x 8.00 cm)