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STUART. James I. 1603-1625. ‘Engraved’ AR Oval Plaquette (43.5x56.5mm, 10.38 g, 12h). By Simon van der Passe (circa 1595-1647). Manufactured circa 1616. Half-length bust of James I facing slightly right, wearing ornate collar, fur-lined gown and ‘Great George’; above, I R flanking crown; below, Jacobus D. G. Mag : Britt : Frā & Hybe : Rex. on banner; all within ornate frame marked (SP) fe / IACOBVS DEI GRATIA MAGNÆ BRITANNIÆ FRANCIÆ ET HYBERNIÆ REX, Royal Arms of the Union of the Crowns with lion and unicorn supporters; shield within Garter circlet; below, tabula inscribed BEATI PACIFICI within ornate frame. MI.214/61, pl. XVI, 1; Farquhar I, 159; Hill & Pollard, pl. 27, 10; BDM.IV, pp.396-400; Eimer 94, note; cf. Foley 163. Toned. As made. ‘1160’ in India ink. Of exquisite workmanship with a sensitively rendered portrait. Very rare.

Simon van de Passe (1595-1647), was born in Cologne, the second son of Crispin van de Passe, an eminent artist and engraver from Utrecht, who was to teach him the art of engraving. He worked in Utrecht from 1612, coming to England in 1615 and living here some 10 years, mostly in the employment of Nicholas Hilliard. In 1616, he engraved the only known portrait of Pocahontas. The series of beautiful oval portrait plaquettes that van de Passe made depicting James I and his family are the high point of his oeuvre. In 1624, van de Passe moved to the service of the King of Denmark, where he remained for the rest of his life.