MacArdell was one of a group of Irish mezzotinters who settled in London in the mid-eighteenth century. He specialized in reproductive portraits, primarily after Sir Joshua Reynolds, but also after earlier artists such as Van Dyck. Painted in 1635, this double portrait (now in Windsor Castle) was commissioned by Charles I, who raised the two brothers after their father, George Villiers, was assassinated in 1628. Francis (1629–1648) was killed during the English Civil War, while George (1628–1687) became one of Charles II’s most powerful courtiers. Much admired during the eighteenth century, the painting influenced the child portraiture of Joshua Reynolds and Thomas Gainsborough.
"Acquisitions of the Art Museum 1976," Record of the Art Museum, Princeton University 36, no. 1 (1977): p. 28-40.