The sitter’s husband, Sir William Killigrew was a courtier to Charles I, and later, a playwright. Sir William’s portrait by Van Dyck was acquired by Tate in 2002. The present portrait of his wife was acquired from an entirely different source less than a year later. The two pictures were known to have been apart for at least 150 years. They are now reunited and on display at Tate Britain.
Lady Mary is seen wearing a simplified gown, lacking the richly textured lace that was so time consuming to paint. This seems to be Van Dyck’s choice, and his reputation as a painter meant that his female sitters were willing to accept this.
Sir Anthony Van Dyck
Portrait of Mary Hill, Lady Killigrew
1065 x 833 mm
Oil Paint on Canvas
Date of work
Purchased with assistance from the Art Fund, Tate Members and the bequest of Alice Cooper Creed 2003.
Sir Anthony van Dyck (1599–1641) was a Flemish Baroque artist who became the leading court painter in England, after enjoying great success in Italy and Flanders. He is most famous for his portraits, painted with a relaxed elegance that became the dominant influence on English portrait painting for the next 150 years.