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Attributed to Jacob van Doort (d. 1629)

Princess Elizabeth of Brunswick-Wolfenbuttel (1593-1650), later Duchess of Saxe-Altenberg Inscribed 1609

Oil on canvas | 194.0 x 112.5 x 1.9 cm (support, canvas/panel/str external) | RCIN 404963

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  • This is one of five full-length portraits of members of the Brunswick family in the Royal Collection which were first attributed to van der Doort by Oliver Millar. They are all inscribed with the date of 1609. The Princess was one of nine children and second daughter of Heinrich Julius, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg, Prince of Calenberg and Prince of Wolfenbüttel and (1564-1613) and his second wife, Elisabeth, Princess of Denmark (1573-1625), eldest daughter of King Frederick II of Denmark and Norway (1534-1588). The Princess first married Augustus, Duke of Saxony (1589-1615) in 1612, and after his death, three years later, she married John Philip, Duke of Saxe-Altenburg (1597-1639) in 1618. She died in Altenburg and was buried there in the Brethren Church. They had one surviving daughter, Princess Elisabeth Sophie (1619-1680), who married Ernest I, Duke of Saxe-Gotha (1601-1675). Here the coat of arms crowned with horned helmets is that of the Wolfenbüttel family.

    Elizabeth wears a dress very similar to those in the other two portraits of her sisters Dorothea and Hedwig (RCIN 406783 and RCIN 407222). Her white silk bodice is worn with a matching skirt of the same fabric which has been pinked all over to create a decorative pattern of tiny cuts. This skirt has been pinned into position so that a narrow ruffle encircles the edge of the farthingale worn beneath. She wears an elaborate lace collar which is supported on a wired rebato covered in red silk which is just visible in places. The cuffs at her wrist of a matching type of cutwork lace and she wears multiple pearl necklaces around her neck and across her body, along with a jewelled pendant broach tied with a ribbon at her breast. Her hair is piled high over pads and decorated with another ribboned jewel and pearls.

    Inscribed and dated: F. ELISABET. / ANNO 1609
    Provenance

    Presumably acquired for the sitter's aunt, Anne of Denmark, though ony two of the set are listed before the Restoration (RCIN 402627 & 404914); this one was first recorded in the Second Privy Lodging Room at Whitehall in 1666 (no 224)

  • Medium and techniques

    Oil on canvas

    Measurements

    194.0 x 112.5 x 1.9 cm (support, canvas/panel/str external)

    210.6 x 118.0 cm (historic support measurement)

    228.5 x 135.7 x 5.0 cm (frame, external)