Born in Bruges, Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger came to London in 1568 with his father, a painter who escaped protestant persecution in Flanders. Little is known of Gheeraerts’ early years or his artistic training. In 1590 he married Magdalen de Critz, a sister of the painter John de Critz. The couple had six children, four of whom died young. Gheeraerts’ earliest known paintings date from around 1592 and include his celebrated portrait of Queen Elizabeth I. By 1611 Gheeraerts had become a favourite of Queen Anne of Denmark, the wife of King James VI and I. He painted several royal portraits, but by 1618 was superseded by a new generation of Dutch-trained artists. Although Gheeraerts continued to paint throughout the 1620s, his sitters became considerably less distinguished.