(n/a) English School, 17th Century Sir Philip Sidney (1554-1586), wearing steel armour with gilt decoration and pleated white ruff
Lot 23
(n/a) English School
17th Century
Sir Philip Sidney (1554-1586), wearing steel armour with gilt decoration and pleated white ruff
Sold for £3,000 (US$ 4,869) inc. premium

Lot Details
(n/a) English School, 17th Century
Sir Philip Sidney (1554-1586), wearing steel armour with gilt decoration and pleated white ruff.
Watercolour on vellum, within a feigned oval, rectangular gilded wood frame.
Rectangular, 75mm (2 15/16in) high

Footnotes

  • Viewed as the archetypal Elizabethan courtier, poet and soldier, Sir Philip Sidney was born at Penshurst in Kent. As the son of Sir Henry Sidney and Lady Mary Dudley he was connected to some of the most prominent aristocratic families in England - his maternal grandfather was the Duke of Northumberland and his uncle became the Earl of Leicester. Sidney was educated at Shewsbury and Oxford, where he distinguished himself with his learning and intellectual prowess. Throughout his late teens and early twenties, he travelled widely across Europe and came into contact with some of the leading political and cultural figures of the Renaissance.

    Returning to England in 1575, Sidney presented himself at the court of Elizabeth I - however, he soon incurred the queen's displeasure by writing to her on the foolishness of a match she was contemplating with the Duc d'Alençon, and he was forced to retire again. During this period, he wrote the first drafts of The Countess of Pembroke's Arcadia and In Defence of Poetry. Upon his acceptance back into royal circles in 1581, he continued to write; although it was not published until later, his Astrophil and Stella (the first of the English sonnet sequences) dates from this period.

    Besides his literary accomplishments, Sidney (who was knighted in 1583) had a noteworthy career as a soldier. Deeply committed to the Protestant cause, he lobbied for a direct assault on Catholic Spain. This was not forthcoming but, upon his appointment to the governorship of Flushing in the Netherlands, he was ideally placed to take a more active role in the struggle between the rival powers. In 1586, he was wounded at the Battle of Zutphen and died twenty-six days later. Buried at St. Paul's Cathedral, he was commemorated in his friend Edmund Spenser's poem Astrophel.

    The present lot is after a portrait of Sidney by an unknown artist painted circa 1576 in the National Portrait Gallery, London (NPG 5732).
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