Anthony van Dyck (Flemish, 1599–1641)
Oil on canvas; 85 x 50 1/4 in. (215.9 x 127.6 cm)
Marquand Collection, Gift of Henry G. Marquand, 1889 (89.15.16)
James Stuart, fourth duke of Lennox, was made first duke of Richmond by his cousin, Charles I, in 1641. In 1637, he married Mary Villiers, daughter of the king's favorite, the duke of Buckingham. It has been suggested plausibly that van Dyck painted this canvas in London just before or after his stay in the Netherlands (early 1634 to early 1635) in order to celebrate Stuart's investiture into the Order of the Garter in November 1633. The Order's insignia are conspicuously displayed amidst van Dyck's masterful description of luxurious materials: the silver star on the mantle; the red and gold Jewel, or lesser George, on the green ribbon (to which the greyhound seems to refer); and the garter itself, behind the bow at the duke's left knee. The composition recalls Titian's famous Charles V with a Hound (Museo del Prado, Madrid), which was then in Charles I's collection. A preparatory sketch of the figure and a sheet bearing two studies of the dog are in the British Museum, London.