Anthony van Dyck (1599–1641)
Lady Anne Carey, Later Viscountess Claneboye and Countess of Clanbrassil, ca. 1636
Oil on canvas
83 1/2 × 50 1/4 in. (212.1 × 127.6 cm)
The Frick Collection; Henry Clay Frick Bequest
Anne Carey, later Countess of Clanbrassil, was the daughter of Henry Carey, second Earl of Monmouth, and Martha Cranfield. According to a family history, the Countess of Clanbrassil was a "very handsome and witty" woman who was "extraordinary in knowledge, virtue, and piety." This portrait was likely painted on the occasion of her engagement to James Hamilton, heir of a Scottish family that had received large land grants in Northern Ireland. Lady Anne strides to the left in an Arcadian landscape, with the boulder behind her framing a woodland vista. Van Dyck reused this backdrop in other portraits, catering to the taste of English aristocrats who sought refuge from an increasingly unstable political situation in pastoral fantasies.