Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex (1567-1601)
Essex grew his beard on his acclaimed expedition to Cadiz in 1596 which makes it possible to date his later portraits to the period 1596-1601. Gheeraerts, the leading portrait painter of this time, was responsible for all large-scale representations of Essex as a mature man within this period. The face pattern and pose are based on the full-length portrait now at Woburn Abbey. The carefully rendered details of the jewellery - the chain and pendant of the Lesser George, part of the insignia of the Order of the Garter - stand out against the white of Essex's costume, a colour closely associated with Elizabeth I, the Virgin Queen.
Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger
- Image reference: BHC2681
- National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
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