Mary, Queen of Scots (1542–1587), aged 36 (after Hilliard)
||1578 - 1601
||Oil on panel
||1943 x 1130 mm (76 ½ x 44 ½ in)
|Place of origin
This is one of the “Sheffield” types of portrait (so called from the belief that the original was painted when Mary was held prisoner there, although it was actually derived from a miniature). The table-covering bears what has been thought to be a signature, ‘P. Oudry’, and the date 1578. An embroiderer of this name was employed by Mary from 1560 to 1567, but there seems no substance for the belief that he was the author of this portrait, and it may have been added in the nineteenth century.
Hardwick became linked with Mary Queen of Scots through romantic legend, but, in fact, the house was not built until after her execution. Nevertheless, with the accession of her son, James, to the English throne, the Cavendishes felt that the connection with the Stuarts should be emphasised and her portrait together with those of her parents, husband and son were hung in the Long Gallery.
Oil painting on panel, Mary, Queen of Scots (1542–1587), aged 36 (after Hilliard), British (English) School, possibly by Rowland Lockey (c.1565 – London 1616), after Nicholas Hilliard (Exeter 1547 – London 1619), 1578/1601. Inscribed in small black letters on table-stretcher [clearly a later addition]: P. OUDRY PINXİT and in yellow, top left: MARIA / D G / SCOTIÆ / PIISSIMA REGINA / FRANCIÆ DOWERIA / ANNO / ÆTATIS REGNI / 36 / ANGLICÆ CAPTIVÆ / 10 / S H.* / 1578 [* S H = Salvationis Hominum]. A full-length portrait, turned slightly to the left, standing, wearing a widow's black dress over a cream coloured chemise, white lace ruff and head-dress, her left hand at her side, her right resting on a table covered with a red cloth.
Inventory of the contents of Hardwick Hall made in 1601 and attached to the will of Elizabeth Hardwick, Countess of Shrewsbury (c.1520-1608); by descent until, following the death of the 10th Duke of Devonshire (1895 - 1950), Hardwick Hall and its contents were accepted by HM Treasury in part payment of death duties and transferred to the National Trust, in 1959
Hardwick Hall, The Devonshire Collection (acquired through the National Land Fund and transferred to The National Trust in 1959)
Marks and inscriptions
Maria/D G/Scotiae/Piissima Regina/Franciae Doweria/Anno/Aetatis Regni/36/Angliae Captivae/10/D G/1578
Makers and roles
British (English) School, artist
possibly Rowland Lockey (c.1565 – London 1616), artist
after Nicholas Hilliard (Exeter 1547 – London 1619), artist
previously attributed to follower of Hans Eworth (Antwerp c.1525 – ?London after 1578), artist