Sir Christopher Hatton

Sir Christopher Hatton, by Unknown English artist, circa 1580 - NPG L256 - © Northampton Museums and Art Gallery

© Northampton Museums and Art Gallery

  • Larger Image
  • Image zoom
  • Use this image
  • ShareShare this

Sir Christopher Hatton

by Unknown English artist
oil on panel, circa 1580
37 3/4 in. x 28 1/2 in. (960 mm x 723 mm) overall
Lent by Northampton Museums & Art Gallery: UK, 2014
Primary Collection
NPG L256

Sitterback to top

Artistback to top

This portraitback to top

The painting has previously been ascribed to the workshop of William Segar but recent analysis suggests this attribution cannot be sustained. It appears to have been designed as a testament to Hatton’s achievements and is a rare survival of a decorative panel for a domestic interior of a type that must have once been more common. The text on the reverse of the painting indicates that it was part of an architectural scheme (where it was displayed in a vestibule) probably in one of Hatton’s properties at Holdenby, Northampton, or in London.
In this remarkable double-sided panel, the primary image comprises a central portrait of Hatton surrounded by astrological signs, text and emblems. On the reverse of the panel the figure of Father Time is shown above three phases of life: youth, middle-age, death and eternity. A passage of text appears beneath with a dialogue between Time and the painting (or viewer).

Linked publicationsback to top

Events of 1580back to top

Current affairs

Sir Francis Drake completes his three-year circumnavigation of the globe and returns to England in triumph.
Spanish and Italian soldiers land in Ireland to assist the Irish Catholic rebellion against English Protestant rule. Surrendering after the siege of Smerwick, the entire force is massacred under orders from the Lord Deputy of Ireland, Baron Grey of Wilton.
England signs an advantageous trade treaty with the Ottoman Empire.

Art and science

The French scholar and nobleman Michel de Montaigne publishes Essais (Essays), an influential development of the essay as a literary form.
Robert Smythson is employed by Sir Francis Willoughby as architect of Wollaton Hall, Nottingham, completed in 1588. It is one of the masterpieces of Elizabethan architecture.


Philip II of Spain invades Portugal and is proclaimed King. His conquest unites the vast colonial empires of Spain and Portugal.
The heir to the French crown, François, Duke of Anjou is invited become the sovereign of the Netherlands by William of Orange, leader of the Dutch rebellion against Phillip II of Spain.

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.

If you require information from us, please use our Archive enquiry service. If you wish to license this image, please use our Rights and Images service.

Please note that we cannot provide valuations.

We digitise over 8,000 portraits a year and we cannot guarantee being able to digitise images that are not already scheduled.

What can you tell us?close

There are occasions when we are unsure of the identity of a sitter or artist, their life dates, occupation or have not recorded their family relationships. Sometimes we have not recorded the date of a portrait. Do you have specialist knowledge or a particular interest about any aspect of the portrait or sitter or artist that you can share with us? We would welcome any information that adds to and enhances our information and understanding about a particular portrait, sitter or artist.


How do you know this? Please could you let us know your source of information.

* Permission to publish (Privacy information)
Privacy Informationclose

The National Portrait Gallery will NOT use your information to contact you or store for any other purpose than to investigate or display your contribution. By ticking permission to publish you are indicating your agreement for your contribution to be shown on this collection item page. Please note your email address will not be displayed on the page nor will it be used for any marketing material or promotion of any kind.

Please ensure your comments are relevant and appropriate. Your contributions must be polite and with no intention of causing trouble. All contributions are moderated.

Your Emailclose

Contributions are moderated. We'll need your email address so that we can follow up on the information provided and contact you to let you know when your contribution has been published.