Mary Herbert, Countess of Pembroke
12 of 34 portraits by Nicholas Hilliard
Mary Herbert, Countess of Pembroke
by Nicholas Hilliard
watercolour on vellum, circa 1590
2 1/8 in. (54 mm) diameter
Accepted in lieu of tax by H.M. Government and allocated to the Gallery, 1988
Sitterback to top
- Mary Herbert, Countess of Pembroke (1561-1621), Writer and literary patron. Sitter in 11 portraits.
Artistback to top
- Nicholas Hilliard (1547-1619), Miniature painter. Artist associated with 34 portraits.
This portraitback to top
This miniature dates from the 1590s, when Mary's literary activity was at its height. She wears a fashionable cartwheel ruff and the roses and honeysuckle in her hair and on her bodice are suggestive of summer (see detail). The beads of her necklace are burnished silver highlights which have oxidised over time and turned black. The portrait is executed in watercolour on vellum stuck onto a playing card from the suit of clubs.
Linked publicationsback to top
- Tudor Portraits Resource Pack, p. 35
- 100 Pioneering Women, p. 25
- Charles Nicholl, Shakespeare and his Contemporaries, 2015, p. 70
- Cooper, John, Visitor's Guide, 2000, p. 114
- Cooper, Tarnya, Searching for Shakespeare, 2006 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 2 March - 29 May 2006), p. 186
- Cooper, Tarnya, Searching for Shakespeare (hardback), 2006 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 2 March - 29 May 2006), p. 186
- John Cooper, National Portrait Gallery Visitor's Guide, 2006, p. 114
- MacLeod, Catharine, Tudor Portraits in the National Portrait Gallery Collection, 1996, p. 35
- Nicholl, Charles, Character Sketches: Elizabethan Writers, 1997, p. 30
- Nicholl, Charles, Insights: Shakespeare and His Contemporaries, 2005, p. 56
- Rogers, Malcolm, Master Drawings from the National Portrait Gallery, 1993 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 5 August to 23 October 1994), p. 11
- Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 487
- Tarnya Cooper, Elizabeth I & Her People, 2013 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 10 October 2013 - 5 January 2014), p. 97
- Various contributors, National Portrait Gallery: A Portrait of Britain, 2014, p. 73
- Walker, Richard, Miniatures: 300 Years of the English Miniature, 1998, p. 22
Linked displays and exhibitionsback to top
Events of 1590back to top
Current affairsKing James VI of Scotland brings his wife Anne of Denmark to Edinburgh for her coronation at Holyrood Abbey.
Death of Walsingham, Queen Elizabeth I's Principal Secretary and spymaster.
The colonial governor John White returns to Roanoke Island (in present day North Carolina, USA) to find the settlement deserted. The lost colonists include his granddaughter Virginia Dare, the first English child to be born in America.
Art and scienceThe courtier, poet and soldier Sir Philip Sidney's pastoral romance Arcadia is published posthumously. It is one of the first English vernacular works to achieve a European readership, with translations into French, German, Dutch and Italian.
The poet and administrator Edmund Spenser publishes the first three books of The Faerie Queene, an epic allegorical poem in praise of Queen Elizabeth I.
InternationalHenry IV of France defeats the Catholic League under Charles, Duke of Mayenne at the Battle of Ivry. The King marches on Paris before being driven back by Catholic forces sent by Philip II of Spain.
Abbas I, Shah of Persia makes peace with the Ottoman Empire, allowing him to campaign agaist the Uzbeks.
Toyotomi Hideyoshi defeats the Hojo clan at the Siege of Odawara, Japan. The victory completes Hideyoshi's military reunification of Japan.
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Help us conserve a portrait of a female adventurer, poet and medical pioneer