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William Herbert (1501–1570), 1st Earl of Pembroke

Photo credit: Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales

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Born in 1507, the sitter was an important political and military figure during the reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI and Mary I. Intensely proud of his Welsh ancestry, he is said to have been happier speaking Welsh than English. He was a major landowner in South Wales and the West Country. His first wife was Anne Parr, sister of Henry VIII's last Queen. It was through her influence that he rose to power at Court. He was one of Edward VI's twelve privy councillors and retained his political ascendancy on the accession of Mary I in 1554, being appointed Captain General of the British forces in France. He died in 1570. This portrait, painted in the early 1560s, shows the Earl wearing Italian armour, known as a medium cavalry 'demi-lance'.

National Museum Wales, National Museum Cardiff




oil on panel


H 111.5 x W 85.8 cm

Accession number

NMW A 16468

Acquisition method

purchased from a private collection, 2000

Work type


National Museum Wales, National Museum Cardiff

Cathays Park, Cardiff (Caerdydd) CF10 3NP Wales

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