Search the Collection

William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley

(1520 or 1521-1598), Lord High Treasurer

Sitter associated with 45 portraits
William Cecil served both Edward VI and Mary I but exercised most power when chief minister to their sister Elizabeth I. When she ascended to the throne, Elizabeth's first appointment was to make Cecil her principal secretary of state, making him the youngest member of her council. Throughout his life he was the queen's most influential minister, tempering her actions with cautious but decisive advice. As a result, the Queen nicknamed Cecil her 'Spirit'. He was created Baron Burghley in 1571, and was Lord High Treasurer and Chief Minister from 1572. The only serious threat to his influence came from Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, whose great dislike he returned.

List Thumbnail

William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley, by Unknown Anglo-Netherlandish artist - NPG 2184

William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley

by Unknown Anglo-Netherlandish artist
oil on panel, 1560s
On display in Room 2 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG 2184

William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley, by Unknown artist - NPG 715

William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley

by Unknown artist
oil on panel, after 1572
NPG 715

William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley, by Unknown artist - NPG 604

William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley

by Unknown artist
oil on panel, after 1572
NPG 604

William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley, by Unknown artist - NPG 1905

William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley

by Unknown artist
oil on panel, after circa 1585
NPG 1905

William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley, by Unknown artist - NPG 525

William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley

by Unknown artist
oil on panel, after circa 1585
NPG 525

William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley, by Unknown artist - NPG 362

William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley

by Unknown artist
oil on panel, after 1587
On display in Room 3 at Montacute House
NPG 362

William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley, by William Rogers, after  Unknown artist - NPG D21159

William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley

by William Rogers, after Unknown artist
line engraving, circa 1572-1604
NPG D21159

Procession of the Knights of the Garter (sheet 5), after Marcus Gheeraerts the Elder - NPG D31857

Procession of the Knights of the Garter (sheet 5)

after Marcus Gheeraerts the Elder
photograph of engraving, (1576)
NPG D31857

Queen Elizabeth I, William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley, Sir Francis Walsingham, after Unknown artist - NPG D25033

Queen Elizabeth I, William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley, Sir Francis Walsingham

after Unknown artist
line engraving, possibly early to mid 17th century
NPG D25033

William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley, by Thomas Cecill - NPG D25114

William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley

by Thomas Cecill
line engraving, possibly early to mid 17th century
NPG D25114

William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley, after Unknown artist - NPG D25115

William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley

after Unknown artist
line engraving, possibly 17th century
NPG D25115

William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley, after Unknown artist - NPG D25116

William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley

after Unknown artist
line engraving, possibly 17th century
NPG D25116

William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley, after Unknown artist - NPG D25117

William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley

after Unknown artist
line engraving, possibly 17th century
NPG D25117

William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley, after Magdalena de Passe, after  Willem de Passe - NPG D21163

William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley

after Magdalena de Passe, after Willem de Passe
line engraving, 17th century
NPG D21163

William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley, possibly by Willem de Passe - NPG D25112

William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley

possibly by Willem de Passe
line engraving, 1620
NPG D25112

William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley, by Thomas Cecill, after  William Rogers - NPG D21160

William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley

by Thomas Cecill, after William Rogers
line engraving, 1620s-1630s
NPG D21160

William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley, by Magdalena de Passe, by  Willem de Passe - NPG D21164

William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley

by Magdalena de Passe, by Willem de Passe
line engraving, published 1620
NPG D21164

William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley, by William Marshall - NPG D25111

William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley

by William Marshall
line engraving, 1642
NPG D25111

William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley, by William Marshall - NPG D25113

William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley

by William Marshall
line engraving, 1642
NPG D25113

William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley, by William Marshall - NPG D19050

William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley

by William Marshall
line engraving, published 1642
NPG D19050

William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley, by William Marshall, after  Magdalena de Passe, after  Willem de Passe - NPG D21161

William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley

by William Marshall, after Magdalena de Passe, after Willem de Passe
line engraving, published 1642
NPG D21161

William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley, by William Marshall, after  Magdalena de Passe, after  Willem de Passe - NPG D21162

William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley

by William Marshall, after Magdalena de Passe, after Willem de Passe
line engraving, published 1642
NPG D21162

William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley, after Unknown artist - NPG D25106

William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley

after Unknown artist
line engraving, possibly 18th century
NPG D25106

William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley, by John Goldar - NPG D25107

William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley

by John Goldar
line engraving, probably mid to late 18th century
NPG D25107

William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley, after Unknown artist - NPG D25109

William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley

after Unknown artist
line engraving, possibly mid 18th century
NPG D25109

William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley, after Unknown artist - NPG D25110

William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley

after Unknown artist
line engraving, probably mid 18th century
NPG D25110

William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley, by Jacobus Houbraken, after  Unknown artist - NPG D32414

William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley

by Jacobus Houbraken, after Unknown artist
line engraving, published 1738
NPG D32414

William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley, by Jacobus Houbraken, after  Unknown artist - NPG D32415

William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley

by Jacobus Houbraken, after Unknown artist
line engraving, published 1738
NPG D32415

A View of the Court of Wards and Liveries, by George Vertue - NPG D11100

A View of the Court of Wards and Liveries

by George Vertue
line engraving, published 1747
NPG D11100

William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley, published by Edward Evans, after  Silvester Harding - NPG D20134

William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley

published by Edward Evans, after Silvester Harding
stipple engraving, circa 1775-1800
NPG D20134

William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley, by William Nelson Gardiner - NPG D25105

William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley

by William Nelson Gardiner
stipple engraving, possibly early 19th century
NPG D25105

William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley, by R. Cooper - NPG D25108

William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley

by R. Cooper
stipple engraving, probably early 19th century
NPG D25108

William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley, after Unknown artist - NPG D25118

William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley

after Unknown artist
stipple engraving, possibly early 19th century
NPG D25118

William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley, by Henry Bone, after  John De Critz the Elder, or after  Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger - NPG D17108

William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley

by Henry Bone, after John De Critz the Elder, or after Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger
pencil drawing squared in ink for transfer, December 1811
NPG D17108

William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley, by Henry Bone, after  Unknown artist - NPG D17134

William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley

by Henry Bone, after Unknown artist
pencil drawing squared in ink for transfer, February 1816
NPG D17134

William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley, by John Samuel Agar, after  William Hilton, after  Unknown artist - NPG D32416

William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley

by John Samuel Agar, after William Hilton, after Unknown artist
stipple engraving, published 1818
NPG D32416

Web image not currently available

William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley

by Jacobus Houbraken, published by John & Paul Knapton
line engraving, published 1738
NPG D42896

Web image not currently available

William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley

by Jacobus Houbraken, published by John & Paul Knapton, after Unknown artist
line engraving, published 1738
NPG D19920

Tell us moreback to top

Can you tell us more about this person? Spotted an error, information that is missing (a sitter’s life dates, occupation or family relationships, or a date of portrait for example) or do you know anything that we don't know? If you have information to share please complete the form below.

If you require information from us, please use our Archive enquiry service. If you wish to license an image, please use our Rights and Images service.

Please note that we cannot provide valuations.

We digitise over 8,000 portraits a year and we cannot guarantee being able to digitise images that are not already scheduled.

What can you tell us?close

There are occasions when we are unsure of the identity of a sitter or artist, their life dates, occupation or have not recorded their family relationships. Sometimes we have not recorded the date of a portrait. Do you have specialist knowledge or a particular interest about any aspect of the portrait or sitter or artist that you can share with us? We would welcome any information that adds to and enhances our information and understanding about a particular portrait, sitter or artist.

Citationclose

How do you know this? Please could you let us know your source of information.

* Permission to publish (Privacy information)
Privacy Informationclose

The National Portrait Gallery will NOT use your information to contact you or store for any other purpose than to investigate or display your contribution. By ticking permission to publish you are indicating your agreement for your contribution to be shown on this collection item page. Please note your email address will not be displayed on the page nor will it be used for any marketing material or promotion of any kind.

Please ensure your comments are relevant and appropriate. Your contributions must be polite and with no intention of causing trouble. All contributions are moderated.

Your nameclose

If you tick permission to publish your name will appear above your contribution on our website.

Your Emailclose

Contributions are moderated. We'll need your email address so that we can follow up on the information provided and contact you to let you know when your contribution has been published.