Painting, Portrait of King James I of England and VI of Scotland (1566-1625)

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  • Artist: Unidentified; After work by: John de Critz the Elder
  • London, England
  • Possibly 1606-1615
  • Oil on Canvas
  • 1936-694,A_B

James, son of Mary, Queen of Scots, and Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, was an infant when he succeeded to the Scottish throne in 1567 following his mother's forced abdication. When Elizabeth I of England died in 1603, he ascended the English throne, thereby uniting the two crowns under one head and ruling as James I of England and VI of Scotland. He married Anne of Denmark on 23 November 1589; three of their seven children survived to adulthood.

James granted a private proprietorship to the Virginia Company of London, which established the first permanent English settlement in North America at Jamestown, Virginia, in 1607. Both the settlement and the adjacent James River were named in the king's honor.

During James's reign (and despite stiff Catholic opposition), he also authorized a new translation of the Bible, convening an august body of scholars for the research that ultimately resulted in the much-admired and long-lived King James Version of the Bible still familiar today.

Authorship of the portrait is uncertain, although the angle of the head and hat and depiction of the face indicate that it ultimately derives from a royal portrait by John de Critz the Elder (ca. 1551/2-1642), Serjeant-Painter during 1605-1619.

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