About this artwork

This illustration of Mary and her son James, later King James VI and I, is a book plate and appeared in Bishop John Leslie’s De origine moribus, et rebus gestis Scotorum or The History of Scotland, which was published in Rome in 1578. The volume featured genealogies of the kings and queens of Scotland and this image reinforces the lineage of the Stuarts.

Leslie was a long-standing supporter of Mary and so it is likely that he would have wanted the portraits in the publication to be close representations of the sitters. Below the portraits are the royal arms of Scotland which feature the lion rampant at the centre.