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Anthony or Essex?


Eric Roberts

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So...we see:

"The queen in return for this entertainment gave Sir Nicholas her portrait painted by Hilliard, which still remains at Gorhambury."

But we are not fully feeling that the mystery lady painting is Elizabeth.  I get a little excited to think there may be an Elizabeth Hilliard painting we have never seen before hidden away at Gorhambury.

Do Hilliard historians have a collection of paintings he did? A diary? An Elizabethan floppy disk of dates and subjects?

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11 hours ago, A Phoenix said:

Nicholas Hilliard was of course in the train of Amias Paulet with Francis Bacon when he went into France. It was in Paris where Bacon would have sat for the famous Hilliard miniature and they would have known each other very well from these early days.

The necklace around Mildred's neck does look a little like a bird (phoenix, eagle) of some description.

Very inclined to think that the Lady sitter’s clothes and jewellery are that of a royal sitter however facially it doesn’t seem to stack up. It was known for high ranking Ladies of the court (wives of Elizabeth’s statesmen) to dress in an extremely fabulous manner with Mildred Cecil being a very good example of this.

From Shakespeare’s Henry VI part 2, Professor Fitter makes good the identification of Bacon’s uncle and patron William Cecil, Lord Burghley with Lord Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester and also hints at his wife resembling Mildred Cecil and her ‘splendid garb’ :  

Unanimously, the Tudor chronicles had presented Gloucester as “the good Duke Humphrey,” loyal servant of the realm and beloved of the commons. Shakespeare emphatically reproduces the popular gratitude for justice and underlines the Duke’s unswerving impeccable loyalty to the crown (1.2.17-21). He also, however, introduces a range of further characteristics that must have made identification of Gloucester with Burghley in the minds of many in the audience entirely inescapable at many significant moments.    
 …A[nother] key similarity was a cluster of parallels centering upon the peers’ wives. “Art thou not second woman of the realm?” demands Gloucester of Dame Eleanor, whose sumptuous dress (she “bears a Duke’s revenues on her back” [1.3.84,134]) more than hinted at Mildred Cecil, whose “splendid garb,” worn from the earliest of days of her marriage and reflecting “personal pleasure” not a necessary uniform,” has been remarked upon by biographers and displayed in portraits. Mildred knew that “the status of her husband” demanded her “visibility at the centre of power,” and was a regular attender at court….What is certain is that Gloucester’s conspicuous pain over a “lost” wife (“sorrow and grief have vanquished all my powers” [2.1.193]) echoed Burghley’s: Mildred’s had recently died (1589), and Burghley’s spirit was left, in his own words, “oppressed with the greatest grief.”1


1. Chris Fitter, ‘Emergent Shakespeare and the Politics of Protest: 2 Henry VI In Historical Contexts’, English Language History, 72 (2005), pp. 146-50. 
 

Hi A. Phoenix

Your suggestion that the sitter in Hilliard's portrait of a Nobel woman at Gorhambury is Baroness Burghley makes much sense. The wife of perhaps the most powerful man in the country, the sister of Lady Bacon, the extravagant dress... And as you pointed out, there is some resemblance between the mystery woman and Anne Bacon, which makes sense if the sitter is Mildred Cooke Cecil. Are we then to dismiss the legend that Elizabeth gave Sir Nicholas a portrait of herself by Hilliard after her 1577 visit to Gorhambury?  

image.png.0d57148a371c6e513bccba01da73ed0f.png

image.png.79f8a20ddff943c2855e324df0327b13.png

The plaque at the bottom of the picture frame looks like a later addition, perhaps by Sir Harbottle Grimston? 

 

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29 minutes ago, Eric Roberts said:

Are we then to dismiss the legend that Elizabeth gave Sir Nicholas a portrait of herself by Hilliard after her 1577 visit to Gorhambury?  

It was listed in a receipt or something? In some notes regarding her visit to Gorhambury to visit the Bacon family for a few days?

I'm not going to dismiss it at all. My question is where is the Hilliard painting of Elizabeth she gave to the Bacons? Maybe we are familiar with it and missed a short piece of history, or maybe there is this panting in the back of a closet or behind some clutter waiting to be discovered.

Maybe a handful of people know where it is and what it is. 😉

Henry VI, Part 2 - Act 1, Scene 3

https://internetshakespeare.uvic.ca/doc/2H6_F1/page/4/index.html

  Queene. Not all these Lords do vex me halfe so much,
As that prowd Dame, the Lord Protectors Wife:
She sweepes it through the Court with troups of Ladies,
More like an Empresse, then Duke Humphreyes Wife:
Strangers in Court, doe take her for the Queene:
She beares a Dukes Reuenewes on her backe,
And in her heart she scornes our Pouertie:
Shall I not liue to be aueng'd on her?
Contemptuous base-borne Callot as she is,
She vaunted 'mongst her Minions t'other day,
The very trayne of her worst wearing Gowne,
Was better worth then all my Fathers Lands,
Till Suffolke gaue two Dukedomes for his Daughter.

https://internetshakespeare.uvic.ca/Library/facsimile/book/SLNSW_F1/477/index.html%3Fzoom=850.html

image.png.37b7f0c860eb8409ed0414689ade61e7.png

So the real painting was hid, and Mildred Cecil's, although not a Hilliard perhaps, was used to satisfy the curious. I guess that can be a theory to be aware of as more evidence becomes apparent.

I believe this is a Hilliard work of Elizabeth below. I love his style.

https://www.npg.org.uk/collections/search/portrait/mw02074/Queen-Elizabeth-I

 

image.png.5938796d030bd6135c3577a0c4acfb6e.png

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Eric, brilliant collection of paintings - thank you! Hilliard certainly liked to paint Elizabeth - although I expect he had little choice in the matter! We certainly don't discount that Elizabeth would have given the Bacons a painting of herself (she did this often to her statesmen and if we further consider the gratitude to the Bacons for bringing up her son it seems very likely) just not sure that the one under discussion is her. The plaque was added after 1619 because Hilliard's death date is on there so maybe Harbottle Grimston or later family members put the plaque there. It would be quite natural to assume the sitter's identity because of the red hair and regal dress but Elizabeth by personal accounts and her paintings had brown eyes. Lady Anne and her sister light eyes.

Perhaps Rob is right and there's another painting waiting to be discovered in a Gorhambury closet somewhere!

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3 hours ago, A Phoenix said:

Eric, brilliant collection of paintings - thank you! Hilliard certainly liked to paint Elizabeth - although I expect he had little choice in the matter! We certainly don't discount that Elizabeth would have given the Bacons a painting of herself (she did this often to her statesmen and if we further consider the gratitude to the Bacons for bringing up her son it seems very likely) just not sure that the one under discussion is her. The plaque was added after 1619 because Hilliard's death date is on there so maybe Harbottle Grimston or later family members put the plaque there. It would be quite natural to assume the sitter's identity because of the red hair and regal dress but Elizabeth by personal accounts and her paintings had brown eyes. Lady Anne and her sister light eyes.

Perhaps Rob is right and there's another painting waiting to be discovered in a Gorhambury closet somewhere!

Hi A.P. Fascinating... thank you for your thoughts on the picture.

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