Sir Anthony Van DyckPortrait of Mary Hill, Lady Killigrew 1638

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Artwork details

Sir Anthony Van Dyck (1599‑1641)
Portrait of Mary Hill, Lady Killigrew
Date 1638
MediumOil paint on canvas
Dimensionssupport: 1065 x 833 mm frame: 1274 x 1039 x 85 mm
Acquisition Purchased with assistance from the Art Fund, Tate Members and the bequest of Alice Cooper Creed 2003
On display at Tate Britain
Room: 1540


The sitter’s husband, Sir William Killigrew (1606-1695) was a courtier to Charles I, and also later a playwright. Sir William’s portrait by van Dyck, also dated 1638, was acquired by Tate in 2002 (Tate T07896). The present portrait of his wife was acquired from an entirely different source less than a year later. The two pictures were known to have been apart for at least the previous 150 years. The re-united works are now thought to be the only companion pair of husband-and-wife portraits from van Dyck’s English period in a British publicly owned collection.

William Killigrew was knighted by Charles I in May 1626 – probably shortly after his marriage to Mary Hill of Honiley, Warwickshire. Neither the dates of her birth nor her death are recorded. The couple were to have seven children in all. The circumstances in which van Dyck painted their portraits are unknown. As Royalists, the couple were forced by poverty to live apart during the Civil War and Commonwealth period. They were re-united at the Restoration of the Stuart monarchy in 1660, when Sir William regained his earlier court post and Lady Mary became dresser to the dowager queen Henrietta-Maria… (read more)

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