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Simon Verelst, 1644–1710

Mary of Modena

ca. 1680
Materials & Techniques:
Oil on canvas
49 1/2 x 40 7/16 inches (125.7 x 102.7 cm)

Signed, center left: "S, VE. J~[monogram]"

Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Fund
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
Paintings and Sculpture
Subject Terms:
botany | brocade | costume | flowers (plants) | interior | jewelry | pearls | poppies | portrait | roses (plant) | science | skin | smoothness | vase | woman
Associated People:
Mary [Mary of Modena] (1658–1718), queen of England, Scotland, and Ireland, consort of James II and VII
Not on view
IIIF Manifest:

Maria d’Este, or Mary of Modena (1658–1718), was James II’s consort. In Protestant England, Mary’s Catholicism, and the worry that she would produce a Catholic heir, resulted in James’s deposition from the throne and exclusion of their son, Prince James Francis Edward Stuart (1688–1766), “The Old Pretender,” from the succession. When Simon Verelst arrived in London in 1669, he was famous for his depiction of flowers; their quality is attested to here by a vivid bouquet of poppies and roses. Verelst expanded his practice to include portraiture and became one of the highest paid painters in the city. However, by 1685, he was suffering from mental illness. The antiquary George Vertue records that Verelst stopped sleeping and working altogether, spending most of his time on long solitary walks. He allegedly bought a velvet cape, varnished his hat and shoes, and styled himself the “God of Flowers” and the “King of Portrait Painters.”

Gallery label for installation of YCBA collection, 2016

Painted Ladies : Women at the Court of Charles II (Yale Center for British Art, 2002-01-26 - 2002-03-17) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition] [Exhibition Description]

Painted Ladies : Women at the Court of Charles II (National Portrait Gallery, 2001-10-11 - 2002-01-06) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition] [Exhibition Description]

Penn's England (Pennsylvania State University Museum of Art, 1982-09-05 - ) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Malcolm Cormack, Concise Catalogue of Paintings in the Yale Center for British Art, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 1985, pp. 230-231, N590.2 A83 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Frank Lewis, Simon Pietersz Verelst, 1644-1721, F. Lewis, Publishers, Limited, Leigh-on-Sea, England, 1979, p. 24, no. 9, NJ18 V5837 +L48 Oversize (YCBA) [YCBA]

Catharine MacLeod, Painted ladies : Women at the court of Charles II, , National Portrait Gallery, London, 2001, pp. 160-161, 242, no. 62, ND1314.3 M23 2001 (YCBA) [YCBA]

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