Sir Walter Raleigh.
11.5 x 17 inches
A head and shoulders portrait set within a decorative, architectural border; etched on copper by Houbraken and published in London in 1739.
Sir Walter Raleigh dominated the political scene and fashionable society towards the end of the C16th. He is, without doubt, one of the greatest buccaneers, statesmen and explorers that England has ever known. He was pivotal in the early colonisation of North America and was given a royal patent to explore Virginia. His dashing good looks, sound political judgement and sense of derring-do made him a firm favourite at the court of Queen Elizabeth I who delighted in his exploits and rewarded him with a knighthood in 1585. He was not without his misdemeanours, however, and six years later, in an ill-advised and secret marriage to Elizabeth Throckmorton (one of the queen's ladies in waiting) he incurred the wrath of his beloved queen and patron. In true Tudor fashion she had the newlyweds banished to the Tower of London; possibly a mixture of punishment and pique!