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Thomas Percy

2 of 13 portraits of Thomas Percy

Thomas Percy, by Crispijn de Passe the Elder, early 17th century - NPG D28140 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Thomas Percy

by Crispijn de Passe the Elder
line engraving, early 17th century
5 7/8 in. x 4 in. (150 mm x 103 mm) plate size
Given by the daughter of compiler William Fleming MD, Mary Elizabeth Stopford (née Fleming), 1931
Reference Collection
NPG D28140

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Sitterback to top

  • Thomas Percy (1560-1605), Organiser of the 'Gunpowder Plot'. Sitter in 13 portraits.

Artistback to top

This portraitback to top

Percy became notorious for his role in the Gunpowder Plot of 1605 and he is shown here as a rakish gentleman with an open necked collar. He rented the house used to store the gunpowder and was shot dead in the aftermath of the plot's failure. This portrait was produced as an illustration for a Dutch publication 'A true record of the discovery of the plot' (Waracht verhael v.d. ontdeck v't verraet, 1605) and includes four inset oval scenes depicting the aftermath of its failure, including his capture and death.

Linked displays and exhibitionsback to top

Events of 1600back to top

Current affairs

Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex is put on trial for failing to put an end to the rebellion in Ireland, attempting to negotiate a truce with the rebel leader Hugh O'Neill, Earl of Tyrone, and deserting his post. Charles Blount, Lord Mountjoy, replaces Essex as Lord Deputy of Ireland. The East India Company receives its Royal Charter by Queen Elizabeth I. Birth of Prince Charles in Scotland (later King Charles I).

Art and science

William Shakespeare writes Hamlet. The scientist William Gilbert writes De magnete ('on the magnet'), which pioneers research into the properties of the lodestone (magnetic iron ore) and introduces the terms 'electricity' and 'magnetic pole'. The miniature painter Nicholas Hilliard works on his painting treatise The Art of Limning at this time.


Henry IV of France marries Marie de Medici from the powerful ruling family of Florence, Italy. The Italian astronomer, philosopher and mathematician Giordano Bruno is sentenced to death by the Roman Inquisition and burned at the stake for heresy. Following the death of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, Tokugawa Ieyasu seizes control of Japan at the Battle of Sekigahara.

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