THE COLLECTION
The Lady with a Fan
  • Date: c. 1640
  • Object Type: Painting
  • Medium: Oil on canvas
  • Image size: 95 x 70 cm
  • Object size: 122.5 x 99 x 7.5 cm
  • Inv: P88
  • Location: Great Gallery
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Description
Provenance
Further Reading
  • As court painter to King Philip IV of Spain, Diego Velázquez created consummate portraits of the Spanish royal family and the high nobility. The Lady with a Fan is one of his most famous and enigmatic portraits. Long believed to represent a Spanish lady, recent studies have suggested that the sitter may have been French and not Spanish. The only Frenchwoman known to have been painted by Velázquez was the Duchess of Chevreuse, intimate friend of the Spanish-born Queen of France, Anne of Austria. Her political conspiring brought her the enmity of the powerful Cardinal Richelieu and, in 1637, forced her to escape to Spain. In the Devonshire Collection at Chatsworth is another portrait of the same woman, probably slightly younger, in a much more modest pose and clearly Spanish dress.

    This painting was acquired by the 4th Marquess of Hertford in 1847 for 15,000 francs (about £600).