Robert Rich, 1587-1658, 2nd Earl of Warwick

A full-length portrait facing slightly to right wearing a black cloth doublet and breeches ornamented with many small gold buttons. The sleeves of the doublet are open and hanging, to reveal the sleeves of the undercoat of a Venetian golden-ribbed material. The breeches are laced at the knee with ribbons and the brown gloves are also beribboned and decorated with rosettes of gold braid. Rich wears a wide collar edged with scalloped Italian bobbin lace and his stockings and shoes are black, the latter with large gold lace shoe roses. His right hand rests on a Malacca cane, his left on his hip. He stands by a balustrade with red draperies above him, revealing his rapier with a large and elaborate hilt. Rich fitted out privateers and beyond on his right, is a depiction of an incident from one of his privateering ventures. One of his ships, the 'Old Warwick', was the first 'frigate' bought for the Navy.

A puritan, he directed much of the policy for the colonization of America in the 1620s. He was appointed Lord High Admiral just before the Civil War, and was thus in opposition to the King and the Earl of Northumberland, but he completely won over the fleet to Parliament for the whole of the war. He did not serve after the King's execution.

The portrait is a fine example of the work of the Flemish artist, Mytens. He was a member of a dynasty of painters, and he introduced a new elegance and grandeur to English portraiture, especially in full-lengths such as this. It is inscribed, signed and dated 'Robert, Erle of Warwicke, Aetatis Suae 44, Anno 1632 Mytens, P'.

Object Details

ID: BHC3080
Collection: Fine art
Type: Painting
Display location: Not on display
Creator: Studio of Daniel Mytens the Elder
Date made: circa 1632
People: Rich, Robert
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London. Caird Fund.
Measurements: Frame: 2450 mm x 1610 mm x 115 mm;Painting: 2210 x 1395 mm

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