About this artwork

After the imprisonment and execution of his father, King Charles I, James spent several years in Paris at the exiled court of his brother, Charles II. During this period of exile James fell in love with Anne Hyde, the daughter of one of his brother’s leading advisers and maid of honour to his sister, Mary of Orange. Despite opposition from his brother and mother, James secretly married Anne in 1660. The match was officially announced in December of that year, after the Restoration that saw the return of James’s family to the British throne. Anne’s father, Sir Edward Hyde, commissioned this painting and its companion, of Anne, from Sir Peter Lely. This highly baroque portrait shows James in military attire, holding a commander’s baton in his right hand.

Sir Peter Lely

Sir Peter Lely