1 of 20 portraits on display in Room 2 at the National Portrait Gallery
by Unknown Netherlandish artist
oil on canvas, 1555
66 7/8 in. x 34 1/2 in. (1700 mm x 875 mm)
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This portraitback to top
This painting is one of the earliest full-length portraits of a non-royal Briton. John Astley was in Italy between 1553 and 1555. This portrait appears to be by a Netherlandish artist and may have been painted during Astley's return from Italy or by a Netherlandish artist working in England towards the end of 1555. Technical analysis proved that the inscription showing the date is authentic.
Events of 1555back to top
Current affairsBeginning of Queen Mary I's persecution of Protestants. Bishops Nicholas Ridley and Hugh Latimer are denounced as heretics and burned at the stake in Oxford.
Queen Mary suffers a false pregnancy, her husband Philip of Spain leaves England.
Art and scienceRichard Eden publishes The Decades of the Newe Worlde or West India, the first account in English of European exploration in the Americas. The book urges England to establish an empire in union with Spain.
InternationalThe Peace of Augsburg between the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V and the members of the German Protestant Schmalkaldic League. The treaty gives Lutheranism official status within the empire through a policy of cuius regio, eius religio (whose the region, his the religion).
The Holy Roman Emperor Charles V resigns the government of the Netherlands, Naples, and Milan to his son Philip of Spain, husband of Queen Mary I.