Elizabeth Talbot, Countess of Shrewsbury

1 portrait on display in Room 3 at Montacute House

Elizabeth Talbot, Countess of Shrewsbury, by Unknown artist, probably 17th century (circa 1590) - NPG 203 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Elizabeth Talbot, Countess of Shrewsbury

by Unknown artist
oil on canvas, probably 17th century (circa 1590)
38 7/8 in. x 31 in. (988 mm x 787 mm)
Purchased, 1865
Primary Collection
NPG 203


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An unusual Elizabethan-revival frame of 1865…

Sitterback to top

Artistback to top

This portraitback to top

'Bess of Hardwick' was one of the wealthiest people in late Elizabethan England, and an important patron of architecture. She acquired her wealth through a succession of four increasingly profitable marriages and through her own business acumen. She is remembered mainly for the house she had built at Hardwick to a plan by the great Elizabethan architect Robert Smythson. She is shown here in mourning dress whose understated nature is set off by the splendid five-strand rope of pearls which she wears. The Elizabethan-style frame which incorporates the sitter's initials at the top was made in 1865 by the Gallery and is likely to be much more elaborate than the original.

Linked publicationsback to top

  • Bennett, Sue, Five Centuries of Women and Gardens, 2000 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 5 October 2000 to 21 January 2001), p. 23
  • MacLeod, Catherine, Tudor and Jacobean Portraits in the National Portrait Gallery Collection at Montacute House, 1999, p. 23
  • Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 563
  • Simon, Jacob, The Art of the Picture Frame: Artists, Patrons and the Framing of Portraits in Britain, 1997 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 8 November 1996 - 9 February 1997), p. 112
  • Strong, Roy, Tudor and Jacobean Portraits, 1969, p. 287

Linked displays and exhibitionsback to top

Events of 1590back to top

Current affairs

King James VI of Scotland brings his wife Anne of Denmark to Edinburgh for her coronation at Holyrood Abbey. Death of Walsingham, Queen Elizabeth I's Principal Secretary and spymaster. The colonial governor John White returns to Roanoke Island (in present day North Carolina, USA) to find the settlement deserted. The lost colonists include his granddaughter Virginia Dare, the first English child to be born in America.

Art and science

The courtier, poet and soldier Sir Philip Sidney's pastoral romance Arcadia is published posthumously. It is one of the first English vernacular works to achieve a European readership, with translations into French, German, Dutch and Italian. The poet and administrator Edmund Spenser publishes the first three books of The Faerie Queene, an epic allegorical poem in praise of Queen Elizabeth I.

International

Henry IV of France defeats the Catholic League under Charles, Duke of Mayenne at the Battle of Ivry. The King marches on Paris before being driven back by Catholic forces sent by Philip II of Spain. Abbas I, Shah of Persia makes peace with the Ottoman Empire, allowing him to campaign agaist the Uzbeks. Toyotomi Hideyoshi defeats the Hojo clan at the Siege of Odawara, Japan. The victory completes Hideyoshi's military reunification of Japan.

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