Sir Nicholas Bacon
1 portrait on display in Room 2 at the National Portrait Gallery
Sir Nicholas Bacon
by Unknown artist
oil on panel, inscribed 1579
24 3/4 in. x 19 1/4 in. (629 mm x 491 mm)
Sitterback to top
- Sir Nicholas Bacon (1510-1579), Lord Keeper of the Great Seal. Sitter associated with 14 portraits.
This portraitback to top
Bacon is shown here holding his staff of office and the 'burse', a bag containing the seal, embroidered with Elizabeth's royal coat of arms. He wears an elaborate jewel, which is probably a whistle, at his chest. The inscription at the top right can be translated as 'the middle course is most secure'.
Related worksback to top
Linked publicationsback to top
- Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 28
- Strong, Roy, Tudor and Jacobean Portraits, 1969, p. 15
Subjects & Themesback to top
Events of 1579back to top
Current affairsDuring his circumnavigation of the globe, Sir Francis Drake sails up the west coast of North America and asserts English sovereignty over New Albion (present-day California).
Rebellion in Munster, Ireland, against English rule.
Art and scienceThe cartographer Christopher Saxton publishes the first atlas of England and Wales.
The poet and administrator Edmund Spenser publishes The Shepheardes Calender.
Nicholas Bacon is painted in his role as Lord Keeper of the Great Seal to Elizabeth I.
InternationalThe division of the Netherlands. The Union of Utrecht unites the northern, Protestant provinces marking the foundation of the Dutch Republic. The southern, Catholic provinces are reconciled with Philip II of Spain though the Union of Arras.
Exhibitions and displays
- Life, Death and Memory
Until 4 February 2018
- Portrait of the Day: Henry VIII & Katherine of Aragon
17 December, 12:30
Tell us more
Help us conserve a portrait of a female adventurer, poet and medical pioneer