George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham (28 August 1592 – 23 August 1628), was an English courtier, statesman and patron of the arts. He was a favourite and possibly also a lover of King James I of England. Despite a patchy political and military record, Buckingham remained at the height of royal favour for the first three years of the reign of King Charles I, until a disgruntled army officer assassinated him.
This picture is an oil-on-panel portrait of Buckingham by Dutch painter Michiel Jansz. van Mierevelt, produced around 1625. Buckingham commissioned portraits of himself as "a medium for the cultivation of his personal image". In this painting, he is depicted with a jacket encrusted with pearls that also hang in ropes across it; it may also contain a reference to his diplomatic coup that year in negotiating the marriage of the future Charles I. At his entry to the French court, he is recorded as wearing a grey velvet suit from which the loosely threaded pearls dropped to the ground as he advanced to make his bow to the queen, to general wonder. The painting is now in the collection of the Art Gallery of South Australia.
Painting credit: Michiel Jansz. van Mierevelt