Queen Mary II (1662-94)

(Updated October 2022) A three-quarter length portrait of Queen Mary wearing her coronation robes and facing slightly to the left. She is surrounded by her regalia, her crown on the table to her right, and her right hand resting on the orb. Mary’s left hand holds the ermine on her skirt. Her costume is heavily jewelled and she is standing in front of rich brocade drapes.

Mary was the eldest daughter of James, Duke of York, later James II and she married Prince William of Orange in 1677. During the 1688 Revolution she supported her husband and Protestantism rather than her Catholic father. She succeeded to the throne in 1688, following the flight of her father James II, and as Mary II reigned as joint sovereign with her husband, William (William III), 1689-94.

Administrative power was vested solely in William and Mary received no substantive regal power. Under these constitutional arrangements she ruled as Queen Regnant during William’s absences for nearly three years and otherwise as Queen Consort. She proved to be both astute and successful and she strongly supported the building of a seamen's Hospital in Greenwich. She did not, however, even see the dream even practically started in 1696, since she died of smallpox in December 1694 at the age of 32.

Her early death prompted William to carry on with the project in her memory and it is recorded as done solely under her auspices in the long Latin inscription that runs round its Painted Hall just below the frieze. The Hospital was not finished to its planned original extent until 1751, though the first resident pensioners were admitted in 1705.

This portrait, inscribed 'Queen Mary', is probably an early studio replica pair with one of William III (BHC3094). Both were presented to Greenwich Hospital by Sir John van Hattem (or 'Hatten', 1725-87), of Dinton Hall, Bucks, in 1774. His Dutch grandfather reportedly came to England as a supporter of William but may have arrived as early as 1683.

Object Details

ID: BHC2853
Collection: Fine art
Type: Painting
Display location: Not on display
Creator: Kneller, Godfrey
Date made: unknown
People: Queen Mary II; Hattem, John van
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, Greenwich Hospital Collection
Measurements: Painting: 1257 mm x 1010 mm; Frame: 1480 mm x 1242 mm x 90 mm

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