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Robert Dudley (1532?–1588) was the fifth son of the Duke of Northumberland. His chief claim to fame lies in his position as a favourite of Elizabeth I, who made him a Knight and Privy Councillor in 1559 and Earl of Leicester in 1564. The present picture is the earliest accepted portrait of the sitter, and is dateable c.1560–1565, soon after Van Der Meulen’s arrival in England. It was described as a portrait of Leicester’s elder brother, Ambrose, Earl of Warwick in a posthumous inventory of the 3rd Marquess of Hertford in 1842, while another portrait in the collection was thought to represent the Earl of Leicester.
oil on oak panel
H 91.2 x W 71 cm
acquired by Francis Charles Seymour-Conway, 3rd Marquess of Hertford, at an unknown date; bequeathed to the nation by Lady Wallace, 1897