The Somerset House Conference, 1604
1 of 5 portraits of Henry Howard, 1st Earl of Northampton
The Somerset House Conference, 1604
by Unknown artist
oil on canvas, 1604
81 in. x 105 1/2 in. (2057 mm x 2680 mm)
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Sittersback to top
- Charles de Ligne, Count of Aremberg (1550-1616), Delegate at the Somerset House Conference. Sitter in 1 portrait.
- Charles Blount, Earl of Devonshire (1563-1606), Soldier. Sitter associated with 10 portraits.
- Thomas Sackville, 1st Earl of Dorset (1536-1608), Poet and Lord Treasurer. Sitter associated with 7 portraits.
- Juan de Velasco Frias, Duke of Frias, Constable of Castile and delegate at the Somerset House Conference. Sitter in 1 portrait.
- Henry Howard, 1st Earl of Northampton (1540-1614), Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports. Sitter associated with 5 portraits.
- Charles Howard, 1st Earl of Nottingham (1536-1624), Lord High Admiral. Sitter associated with 14 portraits.
- Jean Richardot (1540-1609), President, Privy Council. Sitter in 1 portrait.
- Alessandro Robida, Senator of Milan and a delegate at the Somerset House Conference. Sitter in 1 portrait.
- Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury (1563-1612), Statesman. Sitter associated with 21 portraits.
- Louis Vereyken, Audencier of Brussels. Sitter in 1 portrait.
- Juan de Tassis, Count of Villa Mediana, Delegate at the Somerset House Conference. Sitter in 1 portrait.
This portraitback to top
This group portrait commemorates the peace treaty between England and Spain in 1604 which brought an end to a war which had dragged on for almost twenty years. Between 20 May and 16 July 1604, eighteen conference sessions were held at Somerset House, and the treaty was signed on 16 August. While those depicted were not all present at the same time, the painting may well record the appearance of the room in Old Somerset House where the negotiations took place. On the left are the members of the Hispano-Flemish delegation, on the right, the English commissioners. Although it apparently bears the signature of the Spanish painter Juan Pantoja de la Cruz, this painting also bears an impossible date, 1594. It is generally thought that both signature and the date are false and that it is by a hitherto unidentified Flemish artist. It may be associated with John De Critz the Elder, whose paintings were probably the source for the portraits of Robert Cecil and Thomas Sackville.
Related worksback to top
Linked publicationsback to top
- Audio Guide
- Clare Gittings, The National Portrait Gallery Book of Elizabeth I, 2006, p. 26
- Cooper, John, Visitor's Guide, 2000, p. 27
- John Cooper, National Portrait Gallery Visitor's Guide, 2006, p. 27
- Saumarez Smith, Charles, The National Portrait Gallery: An Illustrated Guide, 2000, p. 48
- Saumarez Smith, Charles, The National Portrait Gallery, 1997, p. 48
- Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 706
- Strong, Roy, Tudor and Jacobean Portraits, 1969, p. 63,351
- Various contributors, National Portrait Gallery: A Portrait of Britain, 2014, pp. 66 - 67
Placesback to top
- Place portrayed: United Kingdom: England, London (Old Somerset House, Westminster, London)
Subjects & Themesback to top
Events of 1604back to top
Current affairsJames I summons the Hampton Court Conference to ease tensions between Puritans and Anglican bishops. The conference is attended by the Archbishop of Canterbury, John Whitgift, who dies soon afterwards; he is succeeded by Richard Bancroft.Parliament assembles and debates James I's desire for administrative and parliamentary union with Scotland.
Art and scienceRobert Peake the Elder is appointed picture maker to Prince Henry. A table Alphabeticall, created by lexicographer and clergyman, Robert Cawdrey, is the first English dictionary to be published. First recorded performance at Whitehall Palace of William Shakespeare's tragedy Othello.
InternationalJames I of England ends the Anglo-Spanish War with Spain after twenty years of intermittent hostilities, resulting in the Treaty of London. A series of conferences are held at Somerset House, London, between members of the Hispano-Flemish delegation and the English commissioners to negotiate the treaty.
- Portrait of the Day: Augustus Pugin
31 January, 12:30