Art as history

Yesterday I noted how wonderful it was to visit the National Gallery in Washington and posted a few images to give readers an idea of what I saw. I thought I would follow up to note that my trip to the museum led me back to books (not surprising given my addiction).

One of the subjects of the audio tour was Sir Anthony van Dyck’s Queen Henrietta Maria with Sir Jeffrey Hudson:

I was fascinated by the dwarf in the painting (Jeffrey Hudson) and found the subject intriguing! Here is a clip from the wikipedia entry on Jeffrey Hudson:

Jeffrey Hudson (1619 – 1682) was a dwarf who belonged to the court of Queen Henrietta Maria of England in the years before King Charles I was deposed. He was famous as the “Queen’s dwarf”, and “Lord Minimus”, and was considered one of the “wonders of the age” because of his extreme but well-proportioned smallness. He fought with the Royalists in the English Civil War and fled with the Queen to France when they lost in 1644. When he killed a man in a duel in an apparent attempt to move beyond his mascot role, he was expelled from her court.

Soon after, he was captured by Barbary pirates, and spent 25 years as a slave in North Africa before being ransomed back to England and living out the rest of his life in penury.

As a history buff I wanted to know more so I looked around for a book on the subject. I found Lord Minimus: The Extraordinary Life of Britain’s Smallest Man by Nick Page. I was so determined to learn more that I went to the library on my lunch hour and checked the book out. It appears to be a fascinating story. I will report back when I have finished the book.

Kevin Holtsberry
I work in communications and public affairs. I try to squeeze in as much reading as I can while still spending time with my wife and two kids (and cheering on the Pittsburgh Steelers and Michigan Wolverines during football season).


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