MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS AND LORD DARNLEY - BY RICHARD WESTALL R.A.
Period Portraits are pleased to present this lively and high quality historical study of Mary Queen of Scots and her husband Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley. Firmly attributed to Richard Westall R.A, and housed in its original antique gilt carved frame, this highly decorative and desirable oil on canvas is ready to hang and enjoy.
After establishing herself in Scotland, the young Mary set about the difficult and important duty of finding a husband and providing an heir to the throne. Her eventual choice would prove disastrous. A number of men were suggested as a suitable match. Don Carlos of Spain was one possibility - despite the fact that a Catholic royal marriage between Scotland and Spain would have made an enemy of Elizabeth I of England and trouble among the Scots Reformers.
Elizabeth I suggested that Mary should marry Robert Dudley. Mary quickly rejected Dudley. He was a Protestant, was suspected of killing his wife and was rumoured to have been Queen Elizabeth's lover. When Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, appeared at court in Edinburgh it seemed that Mary had met her match. Darnley was young and handsome. He shared a passion for hunting, dance and music with Mary. Darnley and Mary were both grandchildren of Margaret Tudor and he belonged to an ambitious family of English nobles. Importantly, a marriage to Darnley would strengthen Mary’s claim, and their children’s claim, to the English throne.
On Sunday 29 July 1565 Mary Queen of Scots and Lord Darnley were married in the Chapel-Royal of the Palace of Holyroodhouse. Their Catholic wedding ceremony was performed by the Bishop of Brechin, grandson of William St Clair, the founder of Rosslyn Chapel Darnley left the chapel as Mary celebrated the Catholic Mass. Mary married in black mourning clothes but had over a dozen new gowns made for the wedding celebrations. Mary was infatuated with her new husband. The English ambassador said that Mary was ‘bewitched’ by Darnley. Her happiness would be short lived!
Richard Westall R.A (1735-1836) is variously recorded as being born in 1765 in Reepham in Norfolk, or in Hertford. He first exhibited at the RA in 1784, eventually exhibiting 384 works at the Academy in the course of his career. He became a student in the RA Schools in 1785, six years after they opened.
He was well known amoung other artists. From 1790 until 1794 he lived with Thomas Lawrence, who would later become President of the Royal Academy. Westall had his greatest success as a painter of literary and historical subjects including scenes from Shakespeare, Milton, Scott, Byron and Goethe.
The peak of his career was in 1814 when he held an exhibition in Pall Mall of over 300 pictures. But his career went into decline and he became short of money, partly because of the expense of organising this exhibition. He undertook many commissions to illustrate books and continued to exhibit at the Royal Academy. He evidently continued to be well networked in London: in the late 1827 he became drawing master to the eight year-old Princess Victoria, later Queen Victoria. He taught her twice weekly until his death in 1836. She recalled Westall was “a very indulgent, patient agreeable master, and a very worthy man.”
Higher resolution images on request. Worldwide shipping available.
Canvas : 20" x 20" / 51cm x 51cm. Frame: 27" x 27” / 69cm x 69cm. Internal Ref: 00063