- Museum number
- Object: Triumphus Jacobi Regis Augustaeque ipsius Prolis
Portrait of James I, enthroned holding sceptre, surrounded by his family, with Charles as Prince of Wales on his right, and Elizabeth of Bohemia with her family on his left. 1622
- Production date
Height: 318 millimetres
Width: 380 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Text from Antony Griffiths, 'The Print in Stuart Britain', BM 1998, cat.23)
This is a state dynastic portrait. As such its only precursor in English printmaking is the engraving by William Rogers of Henry VIII and his successors, after the painting by Hans Eworth (Hind I 270.20), published by Sudbury & Humble shortly before Elizabeth's death in 1603. The lettering states that Willem de Passe was the engraver, and he probably designed it as well. The print is dedicated to James and Charles by John Bill, who states that he publishes it with their license and favour, thus implying he had a royal privilege for its production. The print was not entered in the Stationers Register.
John Bill was one of the most interesting figures in the London book trade. He came from Shropshire and was apprenticed to John Norton between 1592 and 1601. He spent the years between about 1596 and 1602/3 as Norton's agent in Italy and elsewhere on the Continent, purchasing books for Sir Thomas Bodley and James I. When he set up his own printing business in 1604, he maintained these links with the Continent: he regularly visited the Frankfurt Fair, and between 1617 and 1628 was involved in printing an edition of the Fair catalogue for the English market, with a special supplement of books in English. One can be certain that he would have met Crispijn de Passe the elder at the Fair.
Simon de Passe had previously engraved for Bill several portraits of James I which had been used in the English and Latin editions of James's writings, which Bill had published in 1616 and 1619, as well as several titlepages. In 1621 Bill commissioned Simon to design and engrave a memorial print and plaque of his recently deceased wife (Hind II 252.10 and 283.29). Bill's link with Willem doubtless came out of this, although this was the only plate on which they joined forces.
At the bottom left corner of the plate is a statement that it was sold by Thomas Jenner. In view of the relationship between the Passes and Bill, it is likely that Jenner's contribution was greater than that of Pierson and Fairbeard to cat.12 and 22. As a bookseller, Bill was not well placed to sell a single sheet print, and so may have wanted to collaborate with Jenner, a specialist print publisher. Alternatively Willem may have been tied to Jenner in some way, and so Jenner had to be brought in on the deal.
The plate is known in four states, in each of which the plate was updated by adding children as they were born, moustaches or beards as sitters aged, or skulls if they had died. The impression here is of the first known state. In the centre is James, and on his right are Charles next to his dead mother and his brother and two sisters, all holding skulls: Queen Anne, Prince Henry, and the twin girls Maria and Sophia. On the other side is Elizabeth of Bohemia and her husband Frederick, with seven of their children. Since the last of these, Lodovicus, was born on 21 August 1623, and Charles is not shown as married, this state must be dated between 1623 and 1624. But it becomes clear on close examination that there must have been an earlier state of this plate, before the addition of Lodovicus (no.7), of which no impression survives; the tail of the dog that was removed to make space for him can still be seen. So the plate was first published after the birth of the sixth child, Louisa Hollandina, on 17 April 1622.
The design presents many points of interest, such as Charles resting his hand on the Bible with James's writings next to it. Under the portraits are five verses, four lines in Latin and six in English which provide a poetic translation of the Latin, signed by a W.G., who has not been identified. Another plate on a similar theme, 'The Progenie of the most renowned Prince James King of Great Britaine France and Ireland', attributed to the little-known Gerrit Mountain, was published within a few years, and later re-issued by William Riddiard (Hind II 311.5). For this the verses were written by no less a poet than John Webster.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
BM 1998 'The Print in Stuart Britain', cat.23
2000 Jan-Mar, Ipswich, Christchurch Mansion, Printmaking in Stuart Britain
2000 May-Jul, Bristol, City Mus and AG, Printmaking in Stuart Britain
2000 Oct-Dec, Lancaster, Peter Scott Gallery, Printmaking in Stuart Britain
2000/1 Dec-Feb, Banff, Duff House, Printmaking in Stuart Britain
2001 Feb-May, Cardiff, National Mus, Printmaking in Stuart Britain
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number