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Lady Anne Bacon


Eric Roberts

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Here are the only portraits I could find of Anne Bacon (c.1528-1610). No.2 and No.3 are early 19th C. copies by two different artists of an original painting in the Gorhambury Art Collection. Unfortunately, I couldn't find the original online. Apart from the magnificent terracotta portrait bust of Lady Anne at Gorhambury, the formal portrait by George Gower (No.4) even in black and white seems exceptionally fine. An inscription on the back of the gold framed miniature in the Walters Art Museum No.5 & No.6) identifies the artist as Nicholas Hilliard, however in recent times it has been re-attributed to Hilliard's student, Isaac Oliver.

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1.     Terracotta bust at Gorhambury House, Artist unknown, c. 1570 – in her early forties

2.     Engraved copy of a painting (?) at Gorhambury House by Henry Richard Cook, 1810 

3.     Scaled drawing from a portrait at Gorhambury House by Henry Bone, 1813

4.     Painting attributed to George Gower, location unknown, c.1580 – in her early fifties

5.     Miniature attributed to Isaac Oliver, The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, c.1600 – in her early seventies.

6.     The inscription on the reverse, which could be from a later date, states that it is by Nicholas Hilliard

 

Short outline of Lady Anne's translation of The Apology of the Church of England by John Jewel: http://www.anglicanlibrary.org/jewel/apology/1.htm

 

Mistress of Gorhambury, Lady Anne Bacon, Tudor courtier and scholar, Deborah Spring, 2021

https://www.stalbanshistory.org/store/Mistress-of-Gorhambury-Lady-Anne-Bacon-Tudor-courtier-and-scholar-p198683668

 

The Letters of Lady Anne Bacon (extracts online)                                                                                  https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/royal-historical-society-camden-fifth-series/article/letters-of-lady-anne-bacon/8C507FDA520F81F0D8FF96419730CA34

 

 

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Eric, thanks so much for this post. Lady Anne was a formidably learned and fascinating woman, hugely respected in her day for her erudition and translations. Her letters are also quite extraordinary and thanks so much for the link to a selection of them. Subjects range from the religious controversies and politics of the day to her profuse dispensing of advice to her sons covering their overspending, their neglect of prayer, their lack of wives but all delivered in a most wonderful (if quirky) loving way. We too have not come across any other representation of Lady Anne other than the ones you have so helpfully reproduced. She was obviously a monumentally important influence in Francis' life.

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1 hour ago, A Phoenix said:

Eric, thanks so much for this post. Lady Anne was a formidably learned and fascinating woman, hugely respected in her day for her erudition and translations. Her letters are also quite extraordinary and thanks so much for the link to a selection of them. Subjects range from the religious controversies and politics of the day to her profuse dispensing of advice to her sons covering their overspending, their neglect of prayer, their lack of wives but all delivered in a most wonderful (if quirky) loving way. We too have not come across any other representation of Lady Anne other than the ones you have so helpfully reproduced. She was obviously a monumentally important influence in Francis' life.

I was quite surprised to find that Lady Bacon and Robert Devereux corresponded. She even wrote to him to tell him to stop swearing at court (no. 146 in this selection of letters).

Edited by Eric Roberts
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Hi Eric, it was actually to Robert Devereux (the Earl of Essex) that she did correspond with  quite regularly (presumable becuse of Essex's close relationship with Francis and Anthony). We used to have a library edition of her letters by the scholar Gemma Allen and there was another letter where she has heard rumours of Essex's infidelities. He wrote back protesting his innocence, however he did indulge in several extra marital affairs and had a child by another woman, so it seems Lady Anne's instincts were spot on!! 

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38 minutes ago, A Phoenix said:

Hi Eric, it was actually to Robert Devereux (the Earl of Essex) that she did correspond with  quite regularly (presumable becuse of Essex's close relationship with Francis and Anthony). We used to have a library edition of her letters by the scholar Gemma Allen and there was another letter where she has heard rumours of Essex's infidelities. He wrote back protesting his innocence, however he did indulge in several extra marital affairs and had a child by another woman, so it seems Lady Anne's instincts were spot on!! 

Hi A.P.   Thank you for correcting my clumsy mistake.

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Speaking of Lady Anne's letters, I came across this last night when looking for Bacon and Fly (page 72):

The Search for Francis Bacon By Catherine Drinker Bowen

https://cdn.theatlantic.com/media/archives/1966/01/217-1/132646059.pdf

William Camden, a contemporary historian, writes that Lord Bacon “was of a high-flying and lively wit, striving in some things to be rather admired than understood .” Bacon’s fancy phrases irritated his mother, that redoubtable lady, who was herself fluent in both Greek and Latin . Writing to Bacon’s brother, Lady Bacon once enclosed a letter of Francis’, with the comment, “Construe the interpretation. I do not understand his enigmatical, folded language.”

 

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