Henry Pierce Bone (British, 1779-1855) George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham (1592-1628), wearing black doublet with blue ribbon and white lace ruff

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Lot 1
Henry Pierce Bone
(British, 1779-1855)
George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham (1592-1628), wearing black doublet with blue ribbon and white lace ruff

Sold for £ 2,400 (US$ 3,300) inc. premium
Henry Pierce Bone (British, 1779-1855)
George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham (1592-1628), wearing black doublet with blue ribbon and white lace ruff.
Enamel, signed on the counter-enamel and dated Geo. Villiers/ Duke of Bucking-/ham ori. by C. Jansen/ col of E. of Denbigh May/ 1849 Painted by H.P.Bone/ Enl Painter to Her Majesty. P. Albert &c, gilt-metal frame.
Oval, 53mm (2 1/16in) high

Footnotes

  • Born in Leicestershire in 1592, George Villiers was despatched by his widowed mother to the Continent at an early age, where he received training in the courtly arts and learned to fence, dance and speak French. Reputed to be 'the handsomest bodied man in all of England', Villiers was presented to King James I in 1614 and immediately secured the monarch's attention. Indeed, it is commonly agreed that the two men became lovers, James once writing to his new favourite that 'I naturally so love your person, and adore all your other parts, which are more than ever one man had' and referring to him as 'sweet child and wife'. In such a context, Villiers' meteoric rise through the ranks of society seems hardly surprising. From relatively obscure beginnings, he was knighted in 1615; created Baron Whaldon and Viscount Villiers in 1616; Earl of Buckingham in 1617; Marquess of Buckingham in 1618; and, finally, attained his dukedom in 1623. This effectively left him the highest-ranking commoner in the country.

    Whether Buckingham's military and political accomplishments fitted him for these honours is open to question. He accompanied Charles, Prince of Wales, to Madrid in 1623 to conduct negotiations for the hand in marriage of the Infanta Maria - only to offend his hosts so badly that the Spanish Ambassador called upon Parliament to have him executed upon his return to England. A naval assault on the port of Cadiz masterminded by the duke was hopelessly bungled and it was his influence which led to hostilities with France and Germany besides. Following the death of James and the accession of Charles I in 1625, Buckingham retained his prominent position at court - he was now a very wealthy man, having lined his pockets through the sale of estates and titles in Ireland. His authority had been further consolidated by his marriage to Lady Katherine Manners, a daughter of the Earl of Rutland, in 1620. The new king and his wife, Henrietta Maria of France, did not enjoy good relations in the early years of their marriage and the queen was known to deplore Buckingham's influence on her husband, an antipathy widely shared by the English people.

    In 1628, the duke was assassinated whilst at Portsmouth by a disgruntled soldier, John Felton, who had been wounded in one of his inexpertly managed military campaigns. Buried at Westminster Abbey, his tomb was inscribed in Latin: 'The Enigma of the World'.
Henry Pierce Bone (British, 1779-1855) George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham (1592-1628), wearing black doublet with blue ribbon and white lace ruff
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