Van Dyck before and after - Royal edition

May 22 2018

Image of Van Dyck before and after - Royal edition

Picture: Adam Busiakiewicz

Back in 2015, I reported on the rather sad news that the owners of Warwick Castle (the listed company, Merlin Entertainment) were flogging off some of the Old Masters that have hung in the castle for centuries, including a full-length Van Dyck of Henrietta Maria. The portrait was offered at Sotheby's in London, and now belongs to a private collector in the USA. The painting was originally, when painted by Van Dyck, a half-length and was added to in the 18th Century to make it into a full-length.

The present owner has now removed the additions, which might sound shocking but actually I think it was the right thing to do. The additions weren't especially competent, and in getting the proportions slightly wrong made the Queen look as is she was wearing stilts. We have to consider that had Van Dyck originally conceived the picture as a full-length, he would have adjusted the foreshortening to account for the fact that the Queen would have been viewed from a different height and perspective. There was a suggestion that Sir Joshua Reynolds had made the additions, but for what it's worth I wasn't persuaded by that myself.

Anyway, the picture is now on loan at the Yale Center for British Art (but not spelling) in the USA. On his blog, Adam Busiakiewicz - who used to work at Warwick Castle - sets out the picture's story.

Notice to "Internet Explorer" Users

You are seeing this notice because you are using Internet Explorer 6.0 (or older version). IE6 is now a deprecated browser which this website no longer supports. To view the Art History News website, you can easily do so by downloading one of the following, freely available browsers:

Once you have upgraded your browser, you can return to this page using the new application, whereupon this notice will have been replaced by the full website and its content.