The Blue Parrot

Mid to late 17th Century


This portrait of a young child with long auburn hair has previously been thought to represent James Scott, Duke of Monmouth who was born in Rotterdam in 1649 to the exiled King Charles II and his mistress Lucy Walter. Comparison with Samuel Cooper’s portrait of the Duke as an older boy is though inconclusive.

Wearing a crimson and white jerkin with a blue over-mantle and lace jabot, the boy has a parrot perched on his forefinger. Parrots in art traditionally symbolise self-confidence as well as joy and positive energy.

Painted in watercolour and bodycolour on vellum understood to be mounted on a playing-card, the portrait is set in the original silver frame with spiral cresting. There is slight darkening to the white highlights and light dust-soiling but otherwise the portrait is in very good condition.

Item Ref. 7040

Size: framed, 62 x 54mm + cresting

Provenance: Gordon Bois - Sotheby's, March 1947 ; Edward Grosvenor Paine - Christie's, October 1982 ; Pohl Stroher collection