Henry Bone, R.A. (British, 1755-1834) Thomas Sackville, 1st Earl of Dorset (1536-1608), wearing tall
Lot 24
Henry Bone, R.A. (British, 1755-1834) Thomas Sackville, 1st Earl of Dorset (1536-1608), wearing tall black hat and black doublet embroidered with gold, white cuffs and pleated ruff, a brown fur stole around his shoulders, the badge of the Order of the Garter on a blue ribbon around his neck, holding a long white staff in his right hand
Sold for £9,600 (US$ 15,914) inc. premium
Auction Details
Henry Bone, R.A. (British, 1755-1834) Thomas Sackville, 1st Earl of Dorset (1536-1608), wearing tall
Lot Details
Henry Bone, R.A. (British, 1755-1834)
Thomas Sackville, 1st Earl of Dorset (1536-1608), wearing tall black hat and black doublet embroidered with gold, white cuffs and pleated ruff, a brown fur stole around his shoulders, the badge of the Order of the Garter on a blue ribbon around his neck, holding a long white staff in his right hand.
Enamel, signed on the obverse HBone, signed, dated and inscribed on the counter-enamel Tho.s Sackville Baron Buckhurst, first Earl/ of Dorset Died suddenly [sic] 1608/ A Privy Councellor Knight of the Most/ Noble Order of the Garter - Lord High/ Treasurer of England.-/ 1601 Lord Steward on the Trials of the/ Earls of Essex and Southampton/ Created an Earl by James first.-/ London Oct.r 1814/ Painted by Henry Bone R.A. Enamel painter/ in Ordinary to His Majesty and Enamel painter/ to H.R.H. the Prince Regent after the Original/ in the Collection of His the [sic] Duke of Dorset/ Knole - Kent, carved gilded wood frame.
Rectangular, 200mm (7 7/8in) high
Literature: Richard Walker, 'Henry Bone's Pencil Drawings', The Walpole Society, Volume LXI, 1999, p.323


  • The present work is after the portrait of Sackville attributed to John de Critz the Elder, dated 1601, which is currently in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery, London (NPG 4024). Bone's original pencil drawing, squared for transfer, is also in the archives of the National Portrait Gallery (NPG D17132). Dated November 16, 1813, it once in the collection of Sir George Scharf.

    The sitter was the son of Richard Sackville and his wife, Winifred Brydges. Both his parents were extremely well-connected - his father served as Chancellor of the Exchequer whilst his mother was the daughter of the Lord Mayor of London. In addition, he could claim kinship with Henry VIII's ill-fated queen, Anne Boleyn. In 1555, Sackville married Cecily Baker and the pair had seven children. Whilst on a visit to Rome in the mid-1560s, he was detained for a fortnight as a prisoner; although whether this punishment was on account of debt or some other misdemeanour is unclear. Whatever the reason, it did not prevent him from being elevated to the peerage as Baron Buckhurst in 1567. Upon his return to England, Sackville entered into the service of the crown and, in 1571, he was sent on a diplomatic mission to France. The ostensible purpose of the trip was to congratulate King Charles IX on his marriage to a daughter of the Austrian Emperor. However, it seems likely that he also entered into negotiations connected with the proposed alliance of Elizabeth I with Charles' brother, the Duke of Anjou.

    In 1572, Sackville was one of the peers who sat in on the trial of the Duke of Norfolk for high treason (he was found guilty and subsequently beheaded). This was but one of a number of occasions when he found himself caught up in the domestic turmoil of the period. In 1586, for example, he was chosen to convey to Mary, Queen of Scots, the tidings of her imminent execution. His reward for the completion of this unhappy duty was an appointment to the position of Ambassador to the United Provinces. Although he generally acquitted himself well, the Queen's favourite, the Earl of Leicester, used his influence to have him recalled and he found himself placed under a form of house-arrest for having presumed to criticise Elizabeth's own abilities as a diplomat. However, in the closing years of the 16th century, he returned to favour, succeeding Lord Burghley as Lord High Treasurer in 1599, besides assuming the chancellorship of the University of Oxford.

    In addition to his career as statesman, Sackville was also a writer of some note. Together with Thomas Norton, he co-authored the 1561 play Gorboduc, which was the first English drama to be written in blank verse and which dealt with the consequences of political rivalry. Two years later, he made a contribution to the Mirror for Magistrates, with his poem entitled Complaint of Henry, Duke of Buckingham. However, his first truly significant work was Induction, in which he describes a poet's harrowing journey into Hell, where he encounters all manner of allegorical figures representing suffering and despair.

    In 1608, Sackville (who had latterly been created Earl of Dorset by the new king, James I) had a massive stroke whilst seated at the council table and died quite suddenly. His remains were buried in Westminster Abbey.
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