CODART, Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide

Mildred Cooke Cecil: Pregnancy Portrayed in Elizabethan England

Online event: 3 June 2021

3 June 2021 — 19:00–20:00 (GMT+1)
Free Public Lecture — Sign up via the University of Hertfordshire

The 2021 University of Hertfordshire’s Chancellor’s Lecture, titled Mildred Cooke Cecil: Pregnancy Portrayed in Elizabethan England, will be delivered virtually by CODART member Karen Hearn FSA.

The lecture will focus on Mildred Cooke, Lady Cecil (1526-89) who was one of the most learned women of her time. Her marriage to William Cecil, Lord Burghley, Elizabeth I’s trusted chief minister, was clearly companionate and successful.

In about 1563, Mildred was painted as visibly with child – one of the earliest examples of an English ‘pregnancy portrait’. The portrait was painted in England in ca. 1563, by the Antwerp artist Hans Eworth [Jan Eewouts], who had migrated to London in the 1540s, and became the leading portrait-painter of the elite there during the 1550s and 1560s. This lecture will discuss Mildred’s unusual portrait in its Elizabethan context, and suggest a number of reasons why her portrait looks the way it does.

Hans Eworth (ca. 1520–1574), Portrait of Mildred Cooke, Lady Cecil (1526-89), 1563
Marquess of Salisbury, Hatfield House, Hatfield