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Sir Nicholas Bacon

1 of 773 portraits matching these criteria:

- subject matching 'Pets and animals - Wild and exotic animals'
- 'Image on website'

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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)
Purchased, 1863
Primary Collection
NPG 164

Sitterback to top

  • Sir Nicholas Bacon (1510-1579), Lord Keeper of the Great Seal. Sitter associated with 14 portraits.

Artistback to top

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

Events of 1579back to top

Current affairs

During 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 science

The 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.


The 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.

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Robert Tittler

07 August 2020, 12:35

Viewers may wish to know that a full modern biography of Sir Nicholas Bacon may be found in my book, NICHOLAS BACON, THE MAKING OF A TUDOR STATESMAN (Jonathan Cape, 1976).

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