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Christian, Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel and Bishop of Halberstadt (1599-1626)

Michiel Jansz. van Miereveldt (Delft 1567 – Delft 1641)

Category

Art / Oil paintings

Date

1620 - 1626

Materials

Oil on panel

Measurements

667 x 546 mm (26 1/4 x 21 1/2 in)

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Collection

Ashdown House, Berkshire

On show at

Ashdown House, Berkshire, London and South East, National Trust

NT 493061

Summary

Oil painting on panel, Christian, Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel (1599-1626) by Michel Miereveldt (1567-1641). A head-and-shoulders portrait to right in armour and ruff, an orange scarf with silver embroidery covering his left shoulder and chest, a green armband round his right arm. Indistinctly signed and inscribed "AEtatis...." He was the third son of Henry Julius, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg and Elizabeth of Denmark, sister of Anne of Denmark. He was the 'Administrator' of the secularized bishopric of Halsberstadt from 1616. Soldier and upholder of the cause of Frederick V of Bohemia, in the Thirty Years War, when he earned the sobriquet of 'der tolle Halberstädter' ['the Mad Halberstädter'] for his impetuosity (he lost two battles against Tilly), which was derived from his position as 'Administrator' of Halberstadt. He was a chivalrous champion of the Queen of Bohemia (he wore her glove, with the motto 'Pour Dieu et pour Elle', on his hat). He was a violent partisan of the Protestant cause in the Thirty Years War. He was wounded at Fleurus on 29 August 1622; a few days later his arm was amputated. His defeat at Stadtlohn on 6 August 1623 was a disaster for the King of Bohemia's cause. After a brief interlude seeking support from James I in England in 1624/5: he was awarded the Garter in 1624, he died of disease, a broken man, after a failed expedition into Hesse in 1626.

Provenance

No doubt one of the collection of portraits belonging to Elizabeth of Bohemia, and bequeathed by her to the Earl of Craven; thence by descent, until before the sale at Sotheby's, 27 November 1968, bought by the Ministry of Works for Ashdown House.

Marks and inscriptions

Recto: Indistinctly signed and inscribed "AEtatis....". Recto: Brass Label: no. 316 (= Combe Abbey cat.: 1866 as: Christian Duke of Brunswick, M. Mirevel; later cat: 'Mierevelt, armour, embroidered crimson scarf').

Makers and roles

Michiel Jansz. van Miereveldt (Delft 1567 – Delft 1641), artist

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