This portrait was formerly thought to represent Queen Henrietta Maria. The sitter was instead the Queen's lady-in-waiting, Olivia Boteler Porter (d. 1633), was the wife of Anthony Van Dyck's friend and patron Endymion Porter, whom she married in 1619. While in England, Van Dyck painted a number of portraits of different members of the family. The white satin dress with long puffed sleeves was intended as a classicising note of timelessness. Olivia Porter was the daughter of Sir John Boteler and Elizabeth Villiers, niece of the Duke of Buckingham. The red carnation in her hair might be an heraldic motif, since it appears in other images of female members of the Villiers family.
Porter commissioned a number of portraits of himself and his family from Van Dyck. The family portrait Endymion Porter, his Wife and their Three Elder Sons belongs to the collection of Mrs Gervas Huxley, Oaksey, Wiltshire. The Portrait of Olivia Boteler Porter (1637) in the collection of the Duke of Northumberland (Barnes IV.192) has allowed the identification of the sitter in the Bowes painting, which might be a copy of a lost original by Van Dyck. Susan Barnes refers to 'a small copy of the head [that] was in the set of such copies formerly in the Craven Collection, at Sotheby's, London, 27 November 1968 (26)'. See Barnes, S., Van Dyck: A Complete Catalogue of the Paintings, New Haven, 2004, p. 578.
The sitter was formerly identified as Queen Henrietta Maria (1609-1669), wife of Charles I. However, this portrait differs from all known images of the Queen.
This portrait is probably by the same hand as the copy of Queen Henrietta Maria, also in the collection of the Bowes Museum (O. 317).