Portrait of Constantijn Huygens and his (?) Clerk

Constantijn Huygens the Elder (1596 - 1687), Lord of Zuylichem, served in the Dutch embassies in Venice and London and was knighted by James I in 1622. He became secretary and adviser to successive members of the ruling House of Orange, beginning with Prince Frederick Hendrick in 1625. He visited Amsterdam in 1627 and was married there in April of the same year. De Keyser's painting emphasises both the sitter's official role and his private interests. The tapestry on the rear wall of the room, decorated with the Huygens arms, represents the subject of Saint Francis before the Sultan. The elaborate still life of objects on the table includes a musical instrument (a chitarrone), plans apparently showing architectural projects, and a pair of terrestrial and celestial globes.

The painting is dated 1627 on the front of the chimney piece.

Key facts

Artist dates
1596/7 - 1667
Full title
Portrait of Constantijn Huygens and his (?) Clerk
Date made
Medium and support
Oil on oak
92.4 x 69.3 cm
Inscription summary
Signed; Dated
Acquisition credit
Bequeathed by Richard Simmons, 1847
Inventory number
Location in Gallery