A Portrait of William Cecil, Lord Burghley (1520-1598), attributed to Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger (1561-1636).

Oil on panel, 111.8cm by 87.6cm.

Lord Burghley is shown wearing the robes and insignia of the Noble Order of the Garter, to which he was appointed in 1572.

It is thought to be the honour most prized by him of the many honours bestowed upon him by the Queen.

In the same year he became Lord High Treasurer, and is shown holding his staff of office; his Coat of Arms and motto Cor Unum Via Una appearing above him to the left.

Gheeraerts was born in Bruges and was brought to London in 1571 by his father, who was also an artist, to escape religious persecution.

In the 1590s, he secured the patronage of Sir Henry Lee, the Queen’s champion and Pageant Master and quickly became fashionable as a portraitist in court circles.

The 1688 Burghley Inventory records: ‘The North Dineing roome…Old Pictures… Ld Treasurer Burghley’s picture in a frame.’


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