William Segar, British, fl. by 1589, d.1633
Title: Portrait of Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex (1566-1601)
Date: 1590
Medium: Oil on panel
112 x 86 cm
Credit Line: Purchased, 1886
Object Number: NGI.283
ProvenanceCollection of Lord Stafford, Costessy Hall, Norwich; Christie's, 30 May 1885, lot 380; purchased, H. Graves & co., London, 1886
Exhibition HistoryWinter Exhibition, Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1956-1957

The Age of Shakespeare, Whitworth Art Gallery, University of Manchester, Manchester, May 1964

Glamour and Governance, National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin, 29 May - 3 October 2021
Label TextSegar was herald and court painter to Elizabeth I. This portrait depicts the 2nd Earl of Essex who was the Queen’s favourite courtier in her later years. His elegant black overcoat is embroidered with pearls. It is thought to be the costume he wore to the Accession Day tilting in 1590 – an annual pageant that commemorated the monarch’s accession to the throne. In 1599, Essex was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. To the Queen’s displeasure he failed to supress the Irish chieftains during the Nine Years War. In 1601, Essex tried to raise a rebellion against the government and was executed for treason.

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