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Early Stuart Portraits Catalogue

William Russell, 1st Duke of Bedford (1616-1700), Soldier and Privy Counsellor

Landowner and politician. Styled Lord Russell until 1641; KB 1626; travelled in Europe c.1633-35; MP 1640-41; succeeded as 5th Earl of Bedford 1641; fought at Edgehill 1642 for Parliament and at Newbury 1643 for the King, before withdrawing to Woburn in 1644 (no portrait of him is known between 1640 and 1675); KG 1672; his son, William Russell, implicated in the Rye House Plot, was executed 1683; created Duke of Bedford 1694; the development of his estate at Woburn remained a prime concern.

‘A graceful old nobleman, and his outside was all. He always had lived to himself’ (Memoirs of Thomas, Earl of Ailesbury).

This extended catalogue entry is by John Ingamells, one of a limited number of entries drafted in 2010 for the incomplete catalogue, Early Stuart Portraits 1625-1685, and is as written then. For the most up-to-date details on individual Collection works, we recommend reading the information provided in the Search the Collection results on this website in parallel with this text.