Sir Francis Walsingham

1 portrait

Sir Francis Walsingham, attributed to John De Critz the Elder, circa 1589 - NPG 1807 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Sir Francis Walsingham

attributed to John De Critz the Elder
oil on panel, circa 1589
30 in. x 25 in. (762 mm x 635 mm)
Purchased, 1917
Primary Collection
NPG 1807


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This is the only known portrait type of Walsingham, and is associated with the artist John de Critz whom he patronised extensively in the 1580s. Despite mounting debts, Walsingham repeatedly entertained Elizabeth I at his home at Barn Elms, near Putney, in the second half of the 1580s, the period from which this portrait dates. It shows Walsingham wearing a cameo of the queen who he served so faithfully and yet who failed to reward him for his loyalty and patriotism.

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Current affairs

Sir Francis Drake sets sail from Plymouth in command of over 100 ships and 18,000 men. Ignoring orders to attack Spanish ports in the Bay of Biscay, the fleet embarks on a disastrous invasion of Portugal. After sacking La Coruña, Drake fails to take Lisbon and returns to face accusations of disobedience and cowardice. King James VI of Scotland (later James I of England) marries Princess Anne of Denmark.

Art and science

The geographer Richard Hakluyt publishes Principal Navigations, Voyages, Traffiques and Discoveries of the English Nation, a large collection of voyages from the fourth century to contemporary seamen such as Sir Francis Drake. The satirical pamphleteer Thomas Nashe publishes The Anatomie of Absurdity, a criticism of contemporary literature.

International

Assassination of Henry III of France. On his deathbed, he recognises the Protestant Henry of Navarre as his successor. As Henry IV, he becomes the first of the Bourbon kings of France.

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