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Dudley Carleton, Viscount Dorchester

© National Portrait Gallery, London

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Dudley Carleton, Viscount Dorchester

by Michiel Jansz. van Miereveldt
oil on panel, circa 1620
25 in. x 19 3/4 in. (635 mm x 502 mm)
Given by Minnie Burton in memory of her husband, 1950
Primary Collection
NPG 3684

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More detailed information from an out-of-print National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue.

Linked publicationsback to top

  • Bolland, Charlotte, Tudor & Jacobean Portraits, 2018, p. 170 Read entry

    Dudley Carleton worked as a diplomat for James I and, subsequently, Charles I in Venice, the Low Countries and France. He also acted as an agent for the greatest English art collectors of the day, buying paintings and liaising between English connoisseurs and contemporary artists across Europe. When acting as Ambassador to the United Provinces in 1616, he entertained the exiled Elizabeth Stuart, Queen of Bohemia, and was made a Viscount and Secretary of State on his return to England in 1628. Miereveldt spent his entire career in Delft, where he established a large workshop that specialised in portraiture. His studio produced numerous versions of the portrait of the Protestant hero Maurice, Prince of Orange; following the gift of one of these portraits to Henry, Prince of Wales, a concerted attempt was made to bring Miereveldt to London in 1611. This was unsuccessful, but a number of English sitters sought to have their portraits painted by Miereveldt when they were in the Netherlands; the Carletons received him at their home only a few weeks after their arrival in The Hague in 1616. Carleton commissioned a number of portraits from the artist; this example bears a faint inscription dating the painting to 1619, which makes it the earliest version to survive. In 1621, Carleton commissioned three copies to present as gifts, and in 1622 he ordered a further copy to send to Sir Thomas Roe, who was serving as ambassador in Constantinople.

  • Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 184

Events of 1620back to top

Current affairs

The beginning of a severe economic depression in England is widely blamed on the East India Company whose export of bullion on each voyage financed their trade. Additionally, despite efforts by Lionel Cranfield, Earl of Middlesex, to reduce the royal household's expenditure, James I's debt is historically high.

Art and science

Francis Bacon publishes his major philosophical work Novum Organum, which presents his account of the correct method of acquiring natural knowledge using inductive reasoning.
Inventor and mechanical engineer, Cornelis Drebbel builds an early type of submarine which he demonstrates on the Thames.


The Catholic League's invasion of Bohemia and victory at the battle of the White Mountain, forces Frederick V, king of Bohemia and his family into exile in the Hague, after less than a year reigning.
The Pilgrim Fathers sail for America in the 'Mayflower', escaping religious persecution in England.

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