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Anne Killigrew (1660-85)

James II (1633-1701) 1685

Oil on canvas | 104.7 x 86.4 cm (support, canvas/panel/str external) | RCIN 403427

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Anne Killigrew was a poet as well as a painter; her death at 25 from small-pox prompted a famous elegy from Dryden. This portrait is attributed to Killigrew on the bases of a now barely legible signature and the fact that Dryden’s poem does refer to a portrait of the King. James II is shown standing in a glade at steps of a terrace. He wears red coat richly embroidered with gold thread and riband and star of Order of the Garter. In the foreground on the right is a carved stone coat of arms, surmounted by crown and inscribed JACOB II REX (James II King). This coat of arms means that the portrait must date from the months between January 1685 (James II’s accession) and July 1685 (Killigrew’s death). Signed 'Ann Killig'