Sir Robert Peake

Henry, Prince of Wales, as Duke of Rothesay and Cornwall, 1594 - 1612. Eldest son of James VI and I (Dated 1604)

About this artwork

Prince Henry was born at Stirling Castle, the eldest child of James VI and Anne of Denmark. This portrayal of Henry’s ‘amiable Majestick Countenance’, painted the year after his father inherited the English throne, shows the prince wearing the robes and accessories of the Order of the Garter. He was an avid collector of art, and of arms and armour (the elaborate jewel in the prince’s hat includes a ship, referencing his interest in naval and military affairs). Henry was hugely popular and it was presumed he would become a great king. When he died of typhoid aged only eighteen, he was widely mourned.

Sir Robert Peake

Sir Robert Peake

In 1604 the English artist Robert Peake became Principal Picture Maker to Henry, Prince of Wales, the eldest son of King James VI and I and brother of Charles I. His role was to promote the Prince as a dashing young man, depicting him on horseback, hunting and displaying his swordsmanship. In 1607 he became Serjeant Painter to King James, sharing the position with John de Critz. His style, especially the use of bright colours, was influenced by the miniatures of Nicholas Hilliard, but by 1610 he was considered old-fashioned.