Queen Anne, 1679
When this teeny portrait of the 14-year old Princess Anne was painted in 1679, she probably did not imagine that one day she would be crowned Queen. She was after all the fourth child of King Charles II’s brother. In the event, despite being a father many times over, Charles II had no legitimate children and so was succeeded in 1685 by his younger brother James, Anne’s father. Her brothers having both died young, the succession subsequently passed to Anne’s older sister Mary and then in turn to Anne who reigned from 1702 until her death in 1714.
The portrait shows the future Queen wearing a cornflower blue low-cut dress with a white underslip, her dark hair curled with long curls falling over one shoulder. No other miniatures of Anne as a teenager have been traced; this image may have been based upon an oil portrait by Sir Peter Lely and commissioned as a gift to a friend or potential suitor.
Anne suffered from poor health throughout her reign. Despite multiple pregnancies, she had no surviving children and so was the last Stuart monarch. She died in 1714 at the age of 49.
Susannah-Penelope Rosse (d.1700) was the daughter and pupil of the miniature painter Richard Gibson. These small-scale portraits are considered her most engaging works.
Painted on vellum, the portrait is set in a gold frame (with gilt metal hanging rings) engraved on the reverse – ‘Anne / Queen of / England / drawne when / 14 Years / old’. There are small surface paint losses to the hair but for a piece painted almost 350 years ago, it is a remarkable survivor that deserves to be treasured.
Item Ref. 7131
Size: framed, 20 x 17mm + rings