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William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley

(1520 or 1521-1598), Lord High Treasurer

Sitter associated with 46 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.

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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

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