|The Romantic Heroine|
Britain, c. 1715
The Royal Collection
Image Courtesy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
The subject of this Eighteenth Century painting has been the subject of a fair amount of gossip and buzz for almost three hundred years. A young woman is depicted here, dressed in an Eighteenth-Century reimagining of Tudor-style dress. She’s a woman of some means, as we can see from the ermine edge of her collar. A strand of pearls adorns her hair and she h as donned dramatic earrings.
But, who is she? When the painting hung in the Queen’s Dressing Room at Kensington Palace in 1734, it was described as being “The Fair Rosamond”—a reference to Rosamond Clifford who was the mistress of King Henry II. The Kensington Inventory of 1818 named the subject as being Lady Jane Grey, one of the wives of Henry VIII. That’s quite a difference.
We may never know who she’s intended to be. We can only say for certainty that it was painted by a British artist between 1715 and 1725. Now, wisely, the Royal Collection refers to her simply as “A Romantic Heroine.”