Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, and the World of Elizabethan Art:
Painting and Patronage at the Court of Elizabeth I

Elizabeth Goldring

Publicaton Date
May 2014
Standard Number
Yale University Press
380 pages

Winner of the 2015 Roland H. Bainton Prize for Art History

This book is the first comprehensive survey of aristocratic art collecting and patronage in Elizabethan England, as seen through the activities of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester (ca. 1532--1588). One of the most fascinating and controversial people of his day, Leicester was also the most important patron of painters at the Elizabethan court. He amassed a substantial art collection, including commissioned works by Nicholas Hilliard, Paolo Veronese, and Federico Zuccaro; helped foster the birth of an English vernacular discourse on the visual arts; and was an early exponent, in England, of the Italian Renaissance view of the painter as the practitioner of a liberal art and, thus, fit company for the educated and well-born. Although Leicester's picture collection and personal papers were widely dispersed after his death, this volume's pioneering research reconstructs his lost world and, with it, a turning point in the history of British art. Some of the paintings featured here are little-known images from private collections, never before reproduced in color.

About the author

  • Elizabeth Goldring is Honorary Associate Professor at the Centre for the Study of the Renaissance at the University of Warwick