With a family history reading like a who’s who of Tudor celebrity (find out more here), this hypnotic portrait has now rightfully taken its place on The Beaney ‘Wall of Fame’.
Born in 1554 Susan Bertie was the daughter of Catherine Brandon, Duchess of Suffolk and her second husband Richard Bertie.
As her parents were Protestant, Susan’s family spent the years of the Catholic Queen Mary’s reign abroad to avoid persecution, only returning in 1559 after Elizabeth I became Queen.
At sixteen years of age, Susan married Reginald Grey of Wrest, who was later restored as the fifth Earl of Kent. Tragically their marriage was short as her husband died the following year. As they were childless the Earldom passed to Reginald Grey’s brother. Presumably unable to continue living in the new Earl of Kent’s inherited residence; it is likely that at she was invited to live at court by invitation of Queen Elizabeth I.
In 1581 Susan remarried to Sir John Wingfield, a nephew of her mother’s friend Bess of Hardwick. They had two sons, Peregrine Wingfield and Robert Wingfield.
The identity of the portraits artist is not known, but several paintings from this period share enough characteristics, such as great attention to jewellery, that they are attributed to the same person – referred to as the Master of the Countess of Warwick (active in England 1567-1569).Period 1567
Material Oil on canvas
Find me in People and Places, The Beaney