Anonymous, after Paul van Somer (Flemish, active in London, ca. 1576-1621/22)
Anne of Denmark, Queen of England (1574-1619), ca. 1616-19
Oil on canvas
85 x 54 inches
The Paine’s permanent collection features several fine examples of English portraiture. This portrait was likely painted in the workshop of Flemish artist Paul van Somer, who moved to England in 1616 to work as a painter at the court of King James I. His most famous painting is a full-length portrait of Queen Anne almost identical to this composition in format, pose, costume, and accessories.
The Queen wears a lavish dress supported by a farthingale, a series of wood or metal hoops that gave the skirt a wide, cylindrical shape. The farthingale had gained popularity in Elizabethan court, and although James tried to forbid the ungainly fashion, Anne single-handedly kept the silhouette in vogue by insisting the style be worn at formal court affairs. As one observer noted, the Queen wore “so expansive a farthingale that … it was four feet wide at the hips.”