circa 1551 – circa 1619
Catherine Carey, Countess of Nottingham (c.1547 - 1603)
Painted circa 1597
Oil on Canvas: 79 1/4 x 54 7/8 inches, 198.1 x 137.2 cm
- wiith The Weiss Gallery, 2012, sold to
- Private Collection
Once thought to represent Elizabeth I, this is the most spectacular and elaborately decorated of all known Elizabethan female full-lengths. Without equal, the magnificent costume surpasses even the famed and wondrous portraiture of Queen Elizabeth herself. Indeed the dress and many of the jewels may well have come from the royal wardrobe, gifted or loaned by the Queen to the sitter, who was her closest friend and confidante, Catherine Carey. Catherine was the eldest daughter of the Queen’s first cousin Henry Carey, 1st Baron Hunsdon (1526 - 1596), and this familial link facilitated her life-long friendship with Elizabeth and ultimately a position at court that was the highest of any woman. Indeed, such was their bond of friendship, that Catherine’s death in February 1603 is said to have precipitated Elizabeth’s own demise some few weeks later.
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