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Detail from a portrait of William Prince of Orange

A unique collection of over 22,000 prints

Attributed to Willem Jacobsz Delff (1580-1638)

Christian IV, King of Denmark c.1600-30

RCIN 612170

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Portraits can reveal surprising facts about their sitters. Christian IV, King of Denmark (r.1588–1648) suffered from a rare condition, Plica polonica, which caused a lock of hair to bind together. Rather than attempt to remove the lock, Christian IV kept his hair plaited and even hung a large pearl from it. His courtiers began to copy his plait and it is common to see portraits of seventeenth-century sitters wearing one long lock of hair by their ear.