Richard Gibson (British, 1615-1690) Anne Hyde, Duchess of York (1637-1671), wearing ochre dress with slashed sleeve over white smock, mole-coloured mantle pinned at her left shoulder with jewelled clasp, pendent pearls from a jewelled brooch at her corsage and pearl necklace, her brown hair worn loose and curling
Lot 5
Richard Gibson
(British, 1615-1690)
Anne Hyde, Duchess of York (1637-1671), wearing ochre dress with slashed sleeve over white smock, mole-coloured mantle pinned at her left shoulder with jewelled clasp, pendent pearls from a jewelled brooch at her corsage and pearl necklace, her brown hair worn loose and curling
Sold for £21,600 (US$ 36,305) inc. premium
Lot Details
Richard Gibson (British, 1615-1690)
Anne Hyde, Duchess of York (1637-1671), wearing ochre dress with slashed sleeve over white smock, mole-coloured mantle pinned at her left shoulder with jewelled clasp, pendent pearls from a jewelled brooch at her corsage and pearl necklace, her brown hair worn loose and curling.
Watercolour on vellum, original gilt-metal frame with silver backing.
Oval, 58mm (2 5/16in) high
Provenance: Sotheby's, 15 March 1971, lot 65
Purchased in 1975
Exhibited: Portrait Miniatures from the Merchiston Collection, Scottish National Portrait Gallery, 23 September – 11 December 2005, no.6
Literature: Stephen Lloyd, Exhibition Catalogue, 2005, p.20-1 and 57, ill.col.pl.3

Footnotes

  • While her father, Sir Edward Hyde, remained at Charles II's court at Paris, Anne, her mother and siblings settled in the Low Countries, first at Antwerp and then at Breda. There Charles's sister Mary, Princess of Orange, appointed Anne one of her maids of honour in 1655. In 1656 Anne accompanied Mary to Paris, where she first met James, Duke of York, the future James II. By 1659 James and his brothers were based in Brussels and made frequent visits to their sister. During this time James fell in love with Anne, and in either August or November (accounts differ) he made a marriage contract with her, which he later took back. In the spring of 1660 Anne discovered that she was pregnant. By now, with the king's restoration imminent, James's marriage prospects were much improved; moreover, as Charles had yet to marry, James's choice of wife had important implications for the succession. James found himself torn between his passion for Anne and his duty to his brother, who refused him permission to marry her. At last Charles relented, and on 3 September the couple were secretly married by James's chaplain, Dr Crowther.

    On 22 October the Duchess of York gave birth to a son, Charles, created Duke of Cambridge. Questioned repeatedly during her labour, she insisted that James was the father and that she was married to him. James had previously denied that he was married, but now confessed it, only to come under sustained pressure to deny it. James vacillated, but Charles did not. Having given his permission and been convinced that the marriage was legal, he insisted that it should stand. In December James and Anne appeared publicly as man and wife.

    A contemporary description of the Duchess of York, states that she 'had a majestic air, a pretty good shape, not much beauty, a great deal of wit', and 'an air of grandeur in all her actions'. Sir John Reresby, who met her in 1665, thought her 'very handsome'. He was also impressed that she handled without flinching a small snake that he had with him. She and James seemed well suited. In 1663 Pepys noted that they showed 'impertinent and methought unnatural dalliances ... before the whole world, such as kissing of hands and leaning upon one another'. When James went to the fleet in 1664, she vowed to receive no visitors, not even her mother, until he returned, and spent her days in prayer. Already, however, James was showing that he could never confine his attentions to one woman. A succession of mistresses followed, driving Anne into paroxysms of jealousy and overeating.

    Anne gave birth to eight children, of whom Mary (1662–1694) and Anne (1665–1714) survived to become Queens of England. The other two daughters and four sons all died in infancy. With James having two heirs and Charles still having no children, the rivalry between them grew. Charles' supporters were keen for him to divorce Catherine of Braganza on the grounds of sterility. In this context the bill in parliament to divorce John Manners, Lord Roos, from his unfaithful wife attracted considerable attention. James and Anne vigorously mobilized opposition to the bill, leaving them open to claims that they did not wish to see Charles have children. In the event, there was no royal divorce, but the position of James and Anne appeared precarious through much of the period 1668–70. It was in these years that both James and Anne converted to Roman Catholicism. Anne's change of religion was kept secret until her dying moments when she declined to see the Bishop of Oxford, who James was then forced to tell of her conversion.
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