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This painting alludes to the legend that James Stuart was saved by this loyal greyhound during a boar hunt. The hound has been rewarded with a pearl-studded collar, whilst the spear in the background is suggestive of a ‘character’ portrait.

Known to be a keen actor, it is likely that it was the idea of the sitter that he be painted as Adonis, the hunter loved by Venus (he had previously been painted by van Dyck as the Trojan prince Paris). This fashion of allegorical or ‘character’ portraits was popular amongst English nobility, and this can be viewed as an example of a quintessential image of an English gentleman.

James Stuart was a cousin of Charles I, and fought for the Royalists during the English Civil War. He was one of five peers to offer themselves for execution in place of the King after his surrender in 1646.

English Heritage, Kenwood



James Stuart (1612–1655), 1st Duke of Richmond and 4th Duke of Lennox




oil on canvas


H 99.7 x W 160 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

Iveagh Bequest, 1929

Work type



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English Heritage, Kenwood

Hampstead Lane, London, Greater London NW3 7JR England

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