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Van Somer came to Britain in 1616, and worked especially for Anne of Denmark, wife of the British king James I. This portrait may relate to her death early in 1619, for the sitter, who is dressed in black, had been a favoured attendant of Queen Anne. Under her heart, Lady Kent wears a jewel with the crowned monogram 'AR', standing for the Latin 'Anna Regina' (meaning 'Anna the Queen'). It is probably a closed miniature-case, as a very similar example, containing the Queen's portrait and given by her to another lady in waiting, is in the collection of the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.

August 2004