Friday, 10 April 2015

A seventeenth century royal peacock

Queen Henrietta Maria, 1633, with a pheasant and a peacock, in Magdalen College hall.

Detail of the peacock, brightened.
In a widow in the hall of Magdalen College, Oxford, are set the portraits in painted glass of King Charles I (1600-1649) and his consort Queen Henrietta Maria (1609-1669). Created in 1633, apparently the work of Richard Greenbury (d. 1670), they are exquisitely done in a difficult medium. Above the portraits are floral decorations, but in the bottom corners of each are birds. The King has a buzzard and partridge, but the Queen has a cock pheasant (of the 'old English' variety, without a white collar) and a peacock whose train couldn't be squeezed into the available space. Presumably they were chosen for their beauty, to compliment that of the queen.

Charles I, Magdalen hall.

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