Robert Carr, Earl of Somerset; Frances, Countess of Somerset

1 portrait

Robert Carr, Earl of Somerset; Frances, Countess of Somerset, attributed to Renold or Reginold Elstrack (Elstracke), sold by  John Hinde, circa 1615 - NPG D1316 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Robert Carr, Earl of Somerset; Frances, Countess of Somerset

attributed to Renold or Reginold Elstrack (Elstracke), sold by John Hinde
line engraving, circa 1615
7 7/8 in. x 6 1/8 in. (201 mm x 154 mm) paper size
Reference Collection
NPG D1316


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This double portrait of Robert Carr, Earl of Somerset, a favourite of James I, and his new wife Frances was probably produced around 1615 when they were being interrogated over the murder of the courtier Sir Thomas Overbury who had opposed their marriage. Frances was vilified in the press and they were charged the following year. They spent over five years in the Tower of London but were spared execution and later pardoned. The portrait was still in print over thirty years later.

Related worksback to top

  • NPG D19777: Robert Carr, Earl of Somerset; Frances, Countess of Somerset (from same plate)
  • NPG D25783: Robert Carr, Earl of Somerset and Frances, Countess of Somerset (from same plate)

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Events of 1615back to top

Current affairs

George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, is knighted and appointed gentleman of the Bechamber and replaces Robert Carr, Earl of Somerset, as the king's favourite. Buckingham would prosper under the king's patronage, advancing rapidly through the peerage. The Somersets stand trial for the murder of Sir Thomas Overbury.

Art and science

James I produces Remonstrance for the Right of Kings and the Independence of their Crownes, in which he defends European kingship and directly confronts the papacy. Architect Inigo Jones is appointed Surveyor of the King's Works and would hold the post for 27 years.

International

The Spanish court send official articles to serve as a basis for negotiations concerning a marriage alliance between Charles, Prince of Wales and the Spanish king Philip III's second daughter, Maria Anna. Marriage of French king Louis XIII and the Spanish Infanta, Anne, Philip III's eldest daughter.

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