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Steven van der Meulen, active 1543–died 1563

Robert Dudley, first Earl of Leicester (1532/3–1588)

Former Title(s):

Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester

ca. 1565
Oil on panel
35 1/2 x 28 1/2 inches (90.2 x 72.4 cm)
Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
Paintings and Sculpture
Subject Terms:
aglet | aiguillettes (cords) | beard | belt | collar | costume | doublet | earl | feather | gold braid | headgear | headpiece | man | medallion | moustache | necklace | pattern | pendant | portrait | ruffles | sword | Tudor
Associated People:
Dudley, Robert, earl of Leicester (1532/3–1588), courtier and magnate
Not on view
IIIF Manifest:

This portrait gives a good sense of Robert Dudley’s assertive, self-regarding, and ambitious character. It was painted when he was still a credible suitor for the hand of Elizabeth I. Dudley retained his status as the queen’s favorite his whole life and was rewarded with appointments in the royal household, and grants of land and titles. But he never won the ultimate prize of marrying the queen. In 1560 his wife, Amy Rosbart, was found dead at the foot of a flight of stairs. Though probably an accident, suggestions that Dudley had removed her to make way for the queen did lasting damage to his reputation. A patron of Continental artists, and always conscious of his image, he had the Italian painter Federico Zuccaro make pendant portraits of him and Elizabeth I in 1575. But by this point Dudley’s ambitions to marry the queen were thwarted, and thereafter he poured his energy into war against Catholic Spain.

Gallery label for installation of YCBA collection, 2016

Art in Focus : The British Castle - A Symbol in Stone (Yale Center for British Art, 2017-04-07 - 2017-08-06) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition] [Exhibition Description]

Malcolm Cormack, Concise Catalogue of Paintings in the Yale Center for British Art, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 1985, pp. 158-159, N590.2 A83 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Elizabeth Goldring, Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester and the world of Elizabethan art : painting and patronage at the court of Elizabeth I, The Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, New Haven, 2014, pp. 60-62, fig. 51, N5247.L45 G65 2014 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Lawrence Hendra, Love's labour's found : Elizabethan & Jacobean portraiture, Philip Mould Ltd., London, p. 28, fig. 27, ND1314.P44 L68 2021+ (YCBA) [YCBA]

The British Castle : A Symbol in Stone, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, 2017, pp. 12-13, cat. 6, V2722 [ORBIS]

Ian Tyers, The tree-ring analysis of 23 panel paintings from the Yale Center for British Art , New Haven, dendrochronological consultancy report 470 , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, 2011, p.9, CC78.3 .T94 2011 [ORBIS]

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