Sir Richard Grenville

Sir Richard Grenville, after Unknown artist, 17th century, based on a work of 1571 - NPG 1612 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

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Sir Richard Grenville

after Unknown artist
oil on canvas, 17th century, based on a work of 1571
41 3/4 in. x 28 7/8 in. (1060 mm x 733 mm)
Purchased, 1911
Primary Collection
NPG 1612

Sitterback to top

Artistback to top

This portraitback to top

Although this portrait probably dates from the 17th century, if the inscription is an accurate copy it was taken from a lost original of 1571, painted when the sitter was aged 29. It may have been commissioned to celebrate Grenville becoming vice-admiral of the fleet that year, and gaining his first seat in parliament for Cornwall.

Linked publicationsback to top

  • Dodd, Christopher, Unto the tideway born, 2015, p. 50
  • Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 264
  • Strong, Roy, Tudor and Jacobean Portraits, 1969, p. 128

Subjects & Themesback to top

Events of 1571back to top

Current affairs

Secret papal agent Roberto di Ridolfi plots to restore Catholicism in England by overthrowing Queen Elizabeth I and marrying Mary, Queen of Scots to Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk. Norfolk is arrested for his part in the conspiracy.
Parliament formally endorses intolerance of Roman Catholicism, it becomes a treasonable offence to bring a Papal 'bull' into England and clerical obedience to the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion is enforced.

Art and science

The Royal Exchange opens in London.
The unusual painting of King Edward VI's triumph over the Pope is painted at about this time to commemorate the young king's anti-papal policies and to celebrate the successful re-establishment of the Church of England under Elizabeth I.


Ottoman forces take the port of Famagusta in Cyprus from Venice.
Pope Pius V calls a Holy League to halt the expansion of the Ottoman Empire in the Mediterranean. John of Austria, half-brother of Philip II of Spain, leads naval forces from Spain, the Papal States, Venice and Genoa to a decisive victory over the Ottoman fleet at the Battle of Lepanto. The victory is of great symbolic importance to European Mediterranean powers.

Tell us more back to top

Can you tell us more about this portrait? Spotted an error, information that is missing (a sitter’s life dates, occupation or family relationships, or a date of portrait for example) or do you know anything that we don't know? If you have information to share please complete the form below.

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David Carter

27 January 2017, 21:18

Sir Richard Grenville was born in 1542 (15th June), not '1541?' as you state. For verification of this - see the citation link to research done by myself, I note that this portrait was said to have been purchased in 1911. Do you have information about where this came from? This would be useful to me with regards to other research about Sir Richard. Many thanks if you do. David Carter.

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