Henrietta Maria (1609-1669) was the daughter of Henri IV of France and the wife of Charles I. Although her Roman Catholicism alienated many of her subjects, she gave strong and devoted support to her husband.
Wenceslaus Hollar was a prolific artist, producing nearly 2,800 prints and many watercolours and drawings. In this unfinished etching after a portrait by Van Dyck, Hollar has sensitively illustrated Henrietta Maria’s delicate curls and depicted her wearing pearls to emphasise her wealth and status. During the Civil War (1642–1651) she sold her jewellery to raise funds to buy munitions from France.