Sir Francis Walsingham

1 portrait

Sir Francis Walsingham, possibly after John De Critz the Elder, 16th century (circa 1587) - NPG 1704 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Sir Francis Walsingham

possibly after John De Critz the Elder
oil on panel, 16th century (circa 1587)
14 3/4 in. x 11 3/4 in. (375 mm x 298 mm)
Purchased, 1913
Primary Collection
NPG 1704


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This portrait is a reversed version of the only known portrait type of Walsingham, which is associated with the artist John de Critz the Elder, who received extensive patronage from Walsingham in the 1580s. Although Walsingham, or the individual who commissioned this portrait, would probably have been unaware of it, technical analysis has shown that this panel has been reused. Investigations have revealed the fascinating juxtaposition of a portrait of the Protestant spymaster superimposed over a small devotional image of the Virgin and Child. In x-ray two figures can be seen beneath the portrait, one figure is likely to be the Virgin Mary, possibly with the infant Christ in her lap; the second figure could be St. Joseph or an angel.

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