The Portraits of Robert Dudley (3)

Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, in red, and with a characteristic wart on his right cheek

The portrait of Robert Dudley in silver brocade, painted in c.1563 and with his dog by his side, seems to have been copied a lot. One particular set of copies shows Robert wearing red sleeves under a slashed leather jerkin, as well as a red trunk hose. The dog has vanished.

The headgear is the same as in the silver brocade portrait. It again shows the mythical Roman hero, Marcus Curtius, on horseback. Marcus was famed for saving his hometown (Rome) from the abyss by riding into a chasm that had opened in the Forum. It was a fitting allusion to the Master of the Horse, Robert Dudley’s chief office at Elizabeth’s court.

All these paintings have sometimes been attributed to the Flemish painter Steven van der Meulen or his workshop (Steven may be the same Steven as the artist called Steven van Herwijck).

Another version without the wart in the Yale Center for British Art

A version that was cut down to head and shoulders of the above portrait now in the National Gallery of Victoria (Australia). The wart is clearly visible.

Further reading:
Elizabeth Goldring, Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, and the World of Elizabethan Art: Painting and Patronage at the Court of Elizabeth I, 2014.

Karen Hearn (ed.), Dynasties: Painting in Tudor and Jacobean England 1530–1630, 1995.,-Earl-of-Leicester-

About Christine Hartweg

Hi, I'm the author of "Amy Robsart: A Life and Its End" and "John Dudley: The Life of Lady Jane Grey's Father-in-Law". I blog at
This entry was posted in paintings, Robert Dudley and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.