British School 17th or 18th century
Portrait of George Talbot, 6th Earl of Shrewsbury date not known

Artwork details

Portrait of George Talbot, 6th Earl of Shrewsbury
Date Date not known
Medium Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions Support: 2286 x 1460 mm
Acquisition Purchased with assistance from the Friends of the Tate Gallery, the Art Fund and the Pilgrim Trust 1980
Not on display

Display caption

George Talbot (1528?-1590) was one of the richest men of his time. Elizabeth I made him guardian of the imprisoned Mary Queen of Scots and asked him to preside at Mary's execution in 1587.
This striking image seems to be either a later copy of a lost original portrait of the Earl, or perhaps an 18th-century pastiche based on a known head-and-shoulders portrait from 1580. The misunderstood depiction of the sword-hilt is one of various details that suggest this. Such pastiches are commonly found in country-house collections. They would have been commissioned to fill a gap in a display of ancestors or famous historical figures. This is a useful example of the way that later generations used portrait images.

August 2004

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