James VI and Anna of Denmark
Attributed to Adrian Vanson (active 1581–1603)
1595, oil on panels
These two small portraits of James VI and Anna of Denmark are painted on wood and date to 1595. It’s thought that the frames were once hinged and could be closed together form a small box making them easily portable. The paintings are unique in Scottish art at this date and this portrait type of Anna is the only surviving image of the queen while she was in Scotland. James and Anna married in 1590 and four years later on 19 February 1594 they welcomed their first son and heir, Prince Henry Frederick, into the world. The birth of the royal couple’s first child was eagerly awaited by the nation. During this period child mortality rates were high, and Anna suffered several miscarriages. The couple had six more children, but only two survived into adulthood: Princess Elizabeth and Prince Charles, later King Charles I.