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Van Dyck depicts Lady Killigrew in a simplified form of dress that gave an air of ‘timelessness’, and was faster and simpler to paint than the richly textured lace that was the fashion. She is shown holding roses which symbolise love, particularly within marriage. Van Dyck was born and trained in Antwerp, a major art trade centre, but also spent years studying and working in Italy. Out of these diverse influences he evolved new forms of portraiture which were immensely popular with the court elite and had a major impact on later artists in Britain.   

February 2016