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Miniature - Portrait of Mary Dudley, Lady Sidney (d.1586)
  • Portrait of Mary Dudley, Lady Sidney (d.1586)
    Teerlinc, Levina
  • Enlarge image

Portrait of Mary Dudley, Lady Sidney (d.1586)

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Britain (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1575 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Teerlinc, Levina (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Watercolour on vellum, mounted on card with 4 spades verso

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Physical description

Watercolour on vellum, stuck onto playing card with 4 spades verso, depicting Mary Dudley, full face in a black dress with white sleeves, ruff collar and white bonnet. She is also wearing a jewelled necklace linked with a gold chain around her neck. The background is blue with a double border of ochre and gold guilloche.

Inscription Content: Inscribed on the back in pre-Civil war hand La: Mary Sydney

Place of Origin

Britain (made)


ca. 1575 (made)


Teerlinc, Levina (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Watercolour on vellum, mounted on card with 4 spades verso


Diameter: 36 mm circular, sight size

Object history note

Item Provenance: The estate of the late Rt. Hon. Viscount Harcourt, K.C.M.G., O.B.E.

Exhibitions: Special Exhibition of Portrait Miniatures on Loan at the South Kensington Museum, London, 1865, No. 1710

This miniature is one of ten by various artists acquired as a group and displayed in two frames. Nine of these miniatures are in the V&A collection, E.1170-1178-1988. The tenth miniature by Nicholas Hilliard, of the poet Mary Herbert, Countess of Pembroke, is now held by the National Portrait Gallery, London.

Descriptive line

Portrait miniature on vellum, attributed to Levina Teerlinc, depicting Mary Dudley, Lady Sidney. Great Britain, ca. 1575.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Strong, Sir Roy, "The Leicester House miniatures: Robert Sidney, 1st Earl of Leicester and his circle", Burlington Magazine CXXVII, October 1988, p. 698, Cat. No. II, fig. 46.
The following in an excerpt from a valuation report made by Christie's of the estate of the late Rt. Hon. Viscount Harcourt, K. C. M. G., O. B. E.

"The attribution to Teerlinc can only be tentative as little evidence has emerged to draw any substantiative facts. It is known that she painted a number of small paintings from the lists of the New Year gifts to the Queen, the attribution of a group of 14 miniatures is based on the 'Elizabethan Maundy' at Madresfield Court (Auberach, 1961, p.53). In a comparison to this miniature and that of Katherine Grey, Countess of Hertford, which is generally accepted as being part of the group, not only is the formal and composition similar, but there is the same thin application of colour, red rosebud lips and thin twiggy arms. it is possible, therefore, to add this miniature to the other small group painted at the time and bearing similar characteristics, which are all attributed to Teerlinc.
The dress suggests a date of ca. 1570s as Teerlinc died in 157, it is probably one of the artist's last works. Lady Sidney (d. 1586) was the wife of Henry Sidney and mother of Robert Sidney, she nursed the Queen through smallpox, and it is therefore quite possible that she was granted the privilege of having her portrait executed by Teerlic.
The miniature is extremely interesting in that it is the only example of this important sitter, and one of the last works of the artist."






Paintings; Portraits


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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