Historical Portraits Picture Archive

Portrait of Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex (1566-1601) 1599c.

Circle of Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger (1561/62-1636)

Portrait of Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex (1566-1601), Circle of Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger
Oil on Panel
16th Century
20 x 11 1/2 inches 50.8 x 29.2 cm
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Lord Essex was highly placed at Court - his mother Lettice Knollys married the Earl of Leicester who groomed his stepson to take his place at Court. But Essex was even more headstrong than his stepfather, even less prudent and despite some military successes against Spain such as the famous Raid of Cadiz ultimately far less accomplished as a general. His incompetent handling of the Rebellion in Ireland which he was despatched to suppress infuriated the Queen and his isolation at Court, his poverty and the flattery of his circle encouraged him to launch a disastrous rebellion in 1601, which was quashed immediately. He was executed for treason in the same year.

This portrait derives from Gheeraerts's portraits of Essex (eg the full-length in Garter robes National Portrait Gallery, London) painted in the second half of the 1590s.
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