Dutch, b. Germany, 1660–c. 1718
The mezzotint process began to flourish in both England and Holland during the second half of the seventeenth century. The start of the French-Dutch war in 1672, though, sent many of the artists practicing the medium in Amsterdam, including Abraham Blooteling and his brother-in-law, Gerard Valck, to England in search of a better political—and economic—climate. Valck’s best known pupil, Peter Schenck, elected to remain in Amsterdam, where he focused almost exclusively on portraiture until 1695, when his interests expanded to mapmaking and publishing.
Although based in Holland, Schenck created numerous prints specifically for the more lucrative British markets. This image of Queen Mary II of England (1662–1694) is clearly one, but it is just as likely to have found an audience in his hometown. Mary, daughter of the Duke of York and future King James II, was the wife of William III of Orange, a stadtholder of the Dutch Republic. In 1689, she and William ascended to the throne of England, from which they ruled jointly, as king and queen regnant, until Mary’s death in 1694.