Circle of Paul van Somer

A Portrait of a Girl, traditionally identified as Arabella Stuart, Half Length, in a Pink Silk Dress and a bejewelled Lace Collar and Headdress, holding a Lace Handkerchief and an Ostrich Feather Fan


Oil on Canvas




Lady Arabella Stuart (or Arbella Stewart) 1576-1615 was a noblewoman who was for some time considered a possible successor to Queen Elizabeth I of England. She lost her mother at the age of 7 and was raised by her grandmother 'Bess' at Hardwick Hall, Derbyshire.

Allegedly, the influential Cecils -Treasurer Lord Burghley and his son, Secretary of State Sir Robert Cecil, managed to sway the decision in favour of Arabella's cousin James VI of Scotland (later James I) to succeede the Queen as ruler of England.

Having rejected many highly important suitors, Arabella secretly married William Seymour, 2nd Earl of Somerset. For the offence of marrying without the consent of King James she was kept prisoner in Sir Thomas Perry's House in Lambeth and Seymour in the Tower of London. They both managed to escape, but failed to meet at the arranged time and place and their plan was foiled when Arabella's ship, bound for Calais, was intercepted by the King's men.

Arabella was transferred to the Tower of London where, ailing and refusing to eat, she eventually died at the age of 40.


Private Collection, UK