Catalogue entry

Hans Eworth active c.1540–1574

Elizabeth Roydon, Lady Golding
Oil on panel
376 x 299 mm
Inscribed ‘HE’ in monogram, top left, beside the arms of the Roydons of Kent; ‘AETATIS XL, | M.D.LXIII,’ upper right
Presented to the National Gallery by the Misses Rachel F. and Jean I. Alexander 1959; transferred to Tate Gallery 1972

Ownership history
Possibly by descent from the sitter to Sir Edward Dering of Surrenden Dering, Kent, by whom sold to H.D. Colnaghi; bought from P.D. Colnaghi in 1891 ‘for RM’ (see label on back of panel); William Cleverly Alexander, by descent to his daughters.

Exhibition history
The Alexander Gift, National Gallery, London 1972.

J.G. Nichols, The Herald and Genealogist, vol.I, London 1863, p.569; L.T. Golding, An Elizabethan Puritan, New York 1937; Sir John Ramskill Twisden and C.H. Dudley Ward, The Family of Twisden and Twysden, London 1939, pp. 67–8, 87–9, 92–3, 96–7, 100–2, 105–7, 111, 115; R.G. Hatton and the Rev. C.H. Hatton, ‘Notes on the Family of Twysden and Twisden’, in Archaeologia Cantania (transactions of the Kent Archaeological Society), vol.58, 1946; A. Smith, ‘Presented by the Misses Rachel F. and Jean I. Alexander: Seventeen Paintings for the National Gallery’, in Burlington Magazine, vol.114, September 1972, p.630; The Tate Gallery 1972–4, Biennial Report, London 1975, pp.53–4; Linda K. Varkonda-Bishop, ‘Haunce the Drawer’, PhD thesis, Florida State University, 1979 (University Microfilms International), pp.120–1, 147, pl.21; Roy Strong, The Tudor and Stuart Monarchy, Woodbridge 1995, vol.1, no.124 reproduced

This portrait shows Elizabeth Roydon at the age of forty and was painted in 1563, as the Latin inscription ‘AETATIS XL, | M.D.LXIII,’ indicates. Elizabeth, who is dressed entirely in black, had recently been widowed, for her second husband, Cuthbert Vaughan, had been killed in that year protecting the French port of Le Havre against French Catholic forces. In the following year she was to marry Sir Thomas Golding of Belchamp St Paul, Essex.1 The heraldic arms in the top left-hand corner are those of her own family, the Roydons of Kent. They were added some years after the picture was painted, presumably by one of her descendants, to emphasise her status as an heiress in her own right.

To the left of these arms can be seen the conjoined monogram ‘HE’, which is thought to refer to the Antwerp-trained Jan Eeuwowts, known in Britain as ‘Hans Eworth’.2 Eworth worked on every scale, from large full-length to minute portrait miniature. Elizabeth Roydon’s portrait is comparatively small in size. It is in extremely good condition for its age and, using very fine brushstrokes, is carried out in a technique similar to that of a miniaturist. The translucency of the paint in the flesh areas means that the freely drawn underdrawing is now visible.

Elizabeth was the daughter of Thomas Roydon (c.1520–c.1571) of Roydon Hall, East Peckham in Kent. She first married, before 1540, William Twysden of Chelmingham in Kent and their eldest son Roger eventually became her principal heir. Elizabeth died on 19 August 1595. Her will shows her to have been a woman of strong religious convictions and an affectionate mother and grandmother who had already given away much plate and jewellery during her lifetime.3

According to a label on the back of the painting, and to family tradition, the present work had descended in the family of Sir Edward Dering of Surrenden Dering in Kent. The eighth baronet of this name, the vendor of this painting, died in 1896. The connection is plausible as the sitter’s daughter Margaret Twysden married Richard Dering of Pluckeley, Kent.

Karen Hearn
June 2009


1 Elizabeth Einberg, ‘Portrait of Elizabeth Roydon, Lady Golding’, The Tate Gallery 1972–4, Biennial Report, London 1975, pp.53–4.
2 Karen Hearn, ‘Hans Eworth: Traces of a Biography’, in The Portrait of Sir John Luttrell: A Tudor Mystery, exhibition catalogue, Courtauld Gallery, London 1999, pp.6–7.
3 The National Archives, P.C.C. 1596, 32 Drake, cited in The Tate Gallery 1972–4, Biennial Report, London 1975.