This large, lightly painted oil-sketch was painted in about 1638 as a model for one of a set of tapestries to decorate the walls of the Banqueting Hall in Whitehall. It represents the procession of the Order of the Garter which took place annually on 23 April, the Feast of St George, and ended with a dinner in the Banqueting Hall. The Knights are followed by the officers, the Registrar, the Garter King of Arms and the Usher of the Black Rod; then the prelate, the chancellor and the sword. King Charles follows, carrying the orb and sceptre, walking beneath a canopy held by four attendants. There are over fifty figures in the procession. As the project for the tapestries was not taken any further, this sketch provides important evidence of what van Dyck intended. It was retained by the king and was sold for £5 in the sale of the Royal Collection in 1650.
oil over silverpoint on panel
image © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford