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Attributed to Noel Jouvenet III (d. 1698)

Electress Sophia of Hanover (1630-1714)

Oil on canvas | 73.4 x 54.6 cm (support, canvas/panel/str external) | RCIN 400944

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  • Electress Sophia of Hanover was the granddaughter of James I and the mother of George I. As neither William III and Mary II nor Queen Anne had produced surviving children, the Act of Settlement of 1701 proclaimed Sophia heiress presumptive to the British Crown. An avid patron of the arts and culture, Sophia was known as a woman of incomparable knowledge who read widely and spoke five languages. The Electress died only two months before Queen Anne, though 35 years her senior, and thus narrowly missed her opportunity of becoming Queen. The Electress is shown wearing a black dress with an intricate lace collar and a pearl necklace. Sophia wears an ermine mantle draped around her shoulders, signifying her princely status. Her renowned sense of the latest fashions is displayed through her French frelange head dress. This portrait may be the work of the French painter Noël III Jouvenet, active at the court of Hanover between c.1685 and c.1695 and the brother of the celebrated Parisian artist Jean III Jouvenet.The treatment of light and shade as well as of the flesh, the textiles and especially the lace proves very close to Jouvenet’s contemporary portrait of Carl Philip of Hanover, younger brother of George I (University of Göttingen). When the painting was aquired by Queen Victoria it was thought to be a painting of George I's mother-in-law Eleonore, Duchess of Celle, rather than of his mother.

    Purchased by Queen Victoria

  • Medium and techniques

    Oil on canvas


    73.4 x 54.6 cm (support, canvas/panel/str external)

    92.0 x 73.4 x 5.0 cm (frame, external)

  • Category
    Object type(s)
  • Alternative title(s)

    Eleanore, Duchess of Zell (1639-1722), previously entitled

    Eleanore d'Esmier, daughter of Alexandre, Duc d'Olbreuse, wife of George William, Duke of Zell, (1639-1722), mother of Princess Sophia Dorothea, consort of King George I.