James, Duke of York

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James, Duke of York (1633-1701)., Henric Gascar, 1672-3.

  • 100% Silk
  • Hand Rolled
  • Designed and Printed in Britain
  • 42cm x 42cm

This stunning highly coloured Baroque portrait is of James, Duke of York, who was Lord High Admiral for his elder brother, Charles II, from the latter's restoration to the throne in 1660 until 1673. This position is indicated by the depiction of the fleet in the background, with the Duke's flagship 'Royal Prince', 100 guns, shown prominently at anchor. On the right a page, traditionally thought to be the young John Churchill, later Duke of Marlborough, is dressed in a similar manner to the Duke and holds a plumed helmet of Franco-Roman design.

The Duke was in personal command of the fleet at the victory over the Dutch off Lowestoft in 1665 and again at the Battle of Solebay in 1672, which this portrait may commemorate. Solebay was the last occasion in which a member of the British royal family personally commanded a fleet in action. James was an experienced and brave soldier by land and sea, and extremely interested and diligent in the administration of the Navy. He then succeeded Charles as King of Great Britain and Ireland from 1685.

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With thanks to:

Royal Museums Greenwich

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