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Jacob Huysmans (c. 1633-96)

Catherine of Braganza (1638-1705) c. 1662-64

RCIN 405665

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This portrait was painted for the Queen or her husband soon after their marriage and was placed in the Queen’s Gallery at Hampton Court. Catherine is dressed as a shepherdess and is sitting by a stream. She has a sprig of orange blossom, traditionally associated with love, marriage and fruitfulness, in her hair. She rests her left hand on the head of a lamb which may represent the virtues of innocence, purity and humility, brought to her by a cupid with his arms full of flowers. Other small cupids play among the trees in the background.

The artist made a number of changes to the composition. The shepherdess’s crook, which is now behind her, seems originally to have been supported in Catherine’s right arm and there also seem to have been changes to the draperies round the Queen’s left shoulder and arm.

Samuel Pepys, the diarist, saw the painting on 26 August 1664 when he visited Jacob Huysman’s studio to see ‘some pictures…The Queene is drawne in one like a shepherdess…’. As one of Huysman’s most important portraits of his patroness it served as the source for some of his smaller portraits of her. A version of the whole composition, with Windsor Castle in the background, is now at Schloss Friedrichshof in Germany.