Lost Portrait of King James I's 'Boyfriend' Surfaces in Glasgow

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George Villiers, First Duke of Buckingham.

(EDGE) When a portrait by a famous Baroque-era painter that was long believed to have been lost surfaces, it's news. When that portrait happens to be of a rumored gay lover to the King of England, it's fabulous news.

According to the Independent, a portrait of George Villiers, a man considered to be one of the "most famous gay men in history," has been re-discovered in Glasgow, Scotland. The portrait, which was painted by famed Baroque-era artist Peter Paul Rubens, was believed to have been lost for 400 years. But it was discovered this week thanks to the eagle eye of British art dealer Dr. Bendor Grosvenor, who saw it when it was featured on an episode of "Britain's Lost Masterpieces."

A controversial figure in British history, Villiers was the last in a succession of handsome young favorites of King James I. A patron of the arts, Villiers rapidly advanced through the ranks of the nobility thanks to his close association with the king. In addition to being elevated to Duke of Buckingham, the courtier (who many historians believe was James' gay lover) enjoyed the ironic titles of "Gentleman of the Bedchamber" and "Lord Admiral of the Fleet."

Aged with years of dirt and overpainting, the portrait was restored and authenticated as a Reubens by Ben van Beneden, director of the Rubenshuis in Antwerp. 

It will be displayed at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow on Thursday 28 September, and feature in the first programme of the new series of "Britain's Lost Masterpieces."

 

This is a part of our LGBT History Month special package. Check out sfgn.com/2017historymonth daily for new stories. 

 


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