VANDYKE BEARD

Sir Anthony Van Dycke (or Van Dyck) sported a well-trimmed beard all his adult life. Vandyke (1599-1641), as the English spelled it, was a Flemish painter born in Antwerp, the seventh of twelve children of a silk merchant. When a youth, he was a pupil of the renowned Rubens, and at twenty-one left the continent and went to England in 1632, to become a court painter to Charles I. He married a Scot, was knighted by the king and, during his short life, became an important portraitist. Vandyke acquired so many mistresses and led such a life of luxury that he had to work long hours just to meet his expenses, but he never allowed more than an hour at a time to a sitter.
Aristocrats were proud to have their portraits painted by Vandyke because he had painted the portraits of Charles I (including the famous Charles I on Horseback) and his queen, Flenrietta Maria. The subjects of the paintings were made similarly distinctive because they were painted with white collars with v-shaped points. The men were distinguished by a trimmed, V-shaped beard, the same style worn by the painter. The scalloped border is said to be vandyked and the beards, Vandykes.
Always frail, Vandyke lived for only forty-two years. He died after a brief visit to the Netherlands and France.