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Elizabeth I's last favourite, 'a nature not to be ruled', Essex was the hot-headed and ambitious stepson of the Earl of Leicester. In his early years at court the queen was captivated by him and he was with her constantly, so that 'he cometh not to his own lodgings till birds sing in the morning'. Essex organised royal entertainments in his capacity as Master of the Horse. He wrote poetry, was a patron of writers and the dedicatee of numerous books. Confirmed as a popular hero when he took Cadiz in 1596, he lost his place at court as a result of his activities in Ireland in 1599. He tried to raise a rebellion against the Queen's ministers in 1601, which failed, and he was executed. This portrait is a version after a full-length painting of c.
probably 17th C
oil on canvas
H 63.5 x W 50.8 cm