Queen Mary, Wife of William of Orange

Wissing, Willem, studio of, 1656 - 1687

Queen Mary, Wife of William of Orange

Wissing, Willem, studio of 1656 - 1687


This fine studio portrait of Mary II (1662-1694), when she was Princess of Orange, is one of many versions by different artists of the original portrait commissioned by King James II of his daughter in 1685. Wissing was commissioned to paint a portrait of her husband, the Dutch Prince William of Orange, at the same time. The sitter is shown in a blue silk dress and a luxurious crimson mantle trimmed with ermine, against the backdrop of a grand palace and garden. Her right hand rests delicately over her heart, in a demure gesture of allegiance. Pink roses (for love), a tendril of honeysuckle (with its clinging habit) and a sprig of orange blossom (a sign of the House of Orange) allude to her youthfulness and beauty, and to her loving marriage. Wissing was a Dutch painter, active in England from 1676. As an apprentice in the studio of the court painter, Sir Peter Lely, he was never short of patrons and when Lely died in 1680, he took over a portion of his master's practice. His main rival for prestigious court commissions was Godfrey Kneller. Wissing's elegant portraits are characterised by a profusion of luxurious, symbolic details. Variations on this pose are standard in his portraits of women.

Object Name

Queen Mary, Wife of William of Orange

Date Created



framed: 144.8cm x 122.3cm
unframed: 99.8cm

accession number


Place of creation





oil paint


Mr James Thomas Blair bequest, 1917.


© Manchester Art Gallery

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