About this artwork

This second of five posthumous portraits of Scottish Stewart monarchs shows James II, who ascended to the throne aged only six after his father’s assassination. His childhood was dominated by powerful and ambitious noblemen struggling for power at his expense. When James was eighteen years old, he married the pious and well-educated Mary of Gueldres. Although he tried to assume active rule, it was the Earl of Douglas who continued to dominate political power. In 1452 James suspected a plot against him, and, in a violent argument, stabbed the Earl to death. He subsequently seized large parts of Douglas territory and tried to bring law and order to the country, but he succeeded only partially. He died when a cannon exploded near him during the siege of Roxburgh Castle.

Updated before 2020

  • artist:
  • title:
    James II, 1430 - 1460. Reigned 1437 - 1460
  • date created:
    After 1578
  • materials:
    Oil on panel
  • measurements:
    41.30 x 32.90 cm; Framed: 61.00 x 52.80 x 6.10 cm
  • object type:
  • credit line:
    Purchased 1909
  • accession number:
    PG 683
  • gallery:
  • depicted:
  • subject:
  • artwork photographed by:
    Antonia Reeve
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