Queen Elizabeth I and the Earl of Leicester


Elizabeth + Robert: The missing paintings by Federico Zuccaro

In early 1575 Robert Dudley invited to England the Italian Mannerist painter, Federico Zuccaro. These paintings were intended to be displayed at the great festival at Kenilworth Castle in July 1575. Zuccaro arrived in England in March 1575 and got to work. In 1584 his contemporary, Raffaello Borghini, noted that Zuccaro had indeed painted life-sized, full-length portraits of both the queen and “Milord Lostre”. Today only two preparatory sketches in black and red chalk survive in the British Museum.

The sketch of Elizabeth has been described by Sir Roy Strong as probably her closest likeness. When first sitting for a portrait by Nicholas Hilliard, in 1572, Elizabeth had expressed her appreciation of Italian artists, “who had the name to be cunningest and to draw best”, as she thought. 

A full-length oil painting of Leicester that was clearly based on the Zuccaro sketch survived until the Second World War. Other than the lost portrait, which may have been a copy, Zuccaro’s sketch is of exceptional quality and surely gives a perfect impression of Robert Dudley’s presence and his irresistible charm. (x)

via  robindudley  (originally  robindudley)
1 day ago on 19 October 2014 @ 6:22pm 21 notes



Wardrobes of History - Accessories:Hats of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester

Something tells me he was the kind of guy who would be tickled to know 500 years later we’re still talking about how sweet his accessories were.

I’m 100000% sure he is that type of guy ;)

via  blahblah369  (originally  wardrobesinhistory)
2 days ago on 18 October 2014 @ 6:24pm 9 notes


Wardrobes of History - Accessories:Hats of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester

2 days ago on 18 October 2014 @ 12:20am 9 notes

I’m hoping to get a queue set up this weekend. I’ve been really busy and don’t have much time to post during the week and the tags are fairly inactive at the moment so there’s not much to reblog :(

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3 days ago on 17 October 2014 @ 3:17pm


Wardrobes in History: Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester

6 days ago on 14 October 2014 @ 4:52pm 10 notes

The Peace Portrait: The Significance of the Little Dog

Next to the sword of justice a lap-dog is seen in the picture, an animal occuring very rarely in depictions of Elizabeth, Federico Zuccaro’s masterful drawing of the queen in 1575 being the only other coming to mind. This sketch is known to have been commissioned by Leicester, alongside a companion piece of his own figure in tilting armour. Both drawings, taken from life, were the basis for portraits in oil, now lost, but exhibited at the earl’s grand festivities at Kenilworth in 1575.

A little dog in a painting commissioned by Robert Dudley would certainly make sense. It might have alluded to an incident between the queen and Leicester, witnessed by the French ambassador de Foix in 1566: Catherine de Medici had heard that the English earl would like to make a voyage through France, and since she hoped for his support in thwarting a Habsburg match for Elizabeth she sent him a gracious invitation. De Foix delivered the letter in Elizabeth’s presence, assuming she knew about Leicester’s travelling wishes. Of course, Leicester had not dared to tell her, nor was Elizabeth thrilled at the prospect of having to forbear his company. Her reply to her favourite was sharp: “I cannot live without seeing you every day. You are like my little dog. As soon as he is seen anywhere, people know that I am coming, and when you are seen, they say I am not far off.”

- Christine Hartweg, All Things Robert Dudley

1 week ago on 11 October 2014 @ 12:20am 12 notes

BANKS, LESLIE (1890 - 1952; actor): Photograph, half-length, in his role as the Earl of Leicester in the production of ‘Fire over England’. Inscribed ‘To Leslie with my very best wishes from the other Leslie’ [Leslie Howard?]


1 week ago on 10 October 2014 @ 10:47pm 6 notes


Robert Dudley: the only man in England officially allowed to touch the Queen

via  video-et-taceo  (originally  robindudley)
1 week ago on 7 October 2014 @ 11:28pm 8 notes

The Queen’s day began with the great curtains of her bed being drawn back by her ladies. Elizabeth was not, as she said of herself, a ‘morning person’. Sometimes she rose early in order to be ready to grant an audience at eight o’clock, but more usually she was still in bed while the rest of her household went about their duties, lighting fires and sweeping the chambers. (…) Elizabeth rarely dressed immediately but, clothed in her ‘night stuff’, would be served breakfast in her Bedchamber – manchet bread, meat, pottage, ale or wine – before taking a fast walk in her privy garden. She was an ‘inveterate walker’ whatever the weather. She generally walked with a ‘stately gait’, unless she wanted to ‘catch a heat in the cold morning’ or wander through her gardens for pleasure and recreation. Sometimes she might walk accompanied by her ladies, but very often she preferred to be alone, with her guards at a careful distance. On other occasions she would begin the day sitting in her nightgown, reading by the window in her Bedchamber. [The Queen’s Bed - Anna Whitelock]

2 weeks ago on 5 October 2014 @ 2:22pm 102 notes

…on 29 September, Melville witnessed Dudley’s ennoblement as the Earl of Leicester.  It was an act of enormous honour and, as the Spanish ambassador Diego Guzman de Silva reported, a tile ‘usually given to the second sons of the Kings of England.’

-Anna Whitelock, The Queen’s Bed: An Intimate History of Elizabeth’s Court.

2 weeks ago on 2 October 2014 @ 4:19pm 4 notes