Is Henrietta Maria a 'Sleeper'?
|Philip Mould's painting supposedly 'After Van Dyck'|
Why would anyone over paint a Van Dyck? - well their theory was she was originally painted holding the infamous 'catherine wheel' , a medieval instrument of torture used for punishment of crimes throughout Europe, and also adopted by the Holy Office to punish heretics, which is meant to indicate Henrietta Maria's strong Catholicism. In the early 1700's this was a particularly unpopular stance, so whoever owned the painting had her gown and the 'wheel' painted over. After analysis, the paint of her blue gown was found to contain 'Prussion Blue' which was only used after 1704.
Twenty five thousand pounds and six months at the restorer's later, which also involved reducing the painting to its original size, the Van Dyck expert seems to think that the face at least may certainly have been painted by Van Dyck himself, and the rich red and brown gown beneath the insipid blue and yellow one was probably the work of his studio.
|When restored, the painting looked more like this one|
Footnote: At the end of the programme Mr Mould has had the paitining hung in the Banqueting House, and watching him carry it through the London streets wrapped in brown paper and tucked under his arms was amazing!