About this artwork

James Graham, Marquess of Montrose, was a Scottish nobleman and soldier. A Presbyterian and signatory of the National Covenant of 1638, he initially fought against the forces of King Charles I. Around 1641, however, he changed allegiances and became a dedicated supporter of the king throughout the English Civil War. He rallied the loyalist Highland clans to fight for Charles and led them to victory against the Covenanters at Tippermuir and Aberdeen. After his defeat at Philiphaugh in September 1645, Montrose escaped to Holland. He remained loyal to the king and supported the exiled Charles II after his father’s execution. In 1650 he returned to Scotland with a small army, but was defeated at Carbisdale and executed by the Covenanters in Edinburgh.

Willem van Honthorst

Willem van Honthorst

Portrait painter Willem van Honthorst was born in Utrecht, the Netherlands. He studied under Abraham Bloemaert and was also taught by his elder brother, known as Gerrit or Gerard. In 1643 Willem married Sophia van Honthorst in The Hague. He left for Berlin in 1646 to become court painter to Louise-Henriette, daughter of Prince Frederick Henry and wife of the elector Frederick II of Brandenburg. He remained in Germany until 1664, but spent his final years in his native Utrecht. Willem van Honthorst painted portraits of many eminent and royal sitters, including Dutch princes Frederick Henry and William II. Many of Willem’s works have previously been attributed to his brother because of the similarity of their signatures.