Elizabethan Limestone Bust of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester

Elizabethan Limestone Bust of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester

Elizabethan Limestone Bust of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester

English City of Oxford c. 1564 to 1585
English Limestone carved sculptural portrait bust, depicting Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester, 1532 to 1588. Circa 1564 to 1585.

Medium Pale Limestone


It should be considered as Object of the Year as it is an important sculptural item, representing one of Elizabethan Englands' most important Statesmen.

It is a rare survival of period decorative exterior sculptural architecture from one of Tudor England's most important seats of learning which he was strongly associated with during his Chancellorship.


This limestone bust is significant as it is a sculptural likeness of one the major characters of Elizabethan England. His position of high political importance in the country leading to him being appointed to the highest offices of the time.

Importantly he was recognised as a scholar and patron, culminating in his appointment as Chancellor of Oxford University. The bust is in the local Oxfordshire limestone and by repute was removed from an unnamed College building.


From a dealer's private collection, originally purchased within close proximity to Oxford. By repute removed from one of the Oxford College Buildings.

Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester was one of Elizabethan England's leading statesmen both domestic and foreign. He was acknowledged as the "Queens favourite" with much intrigue about their personal relationship throughout their lives.

He was a staunch non conformist and patron of the English puritan movement. He was substantially involved with the case of Mary Stuart, Mary Queen of Scots and was complicit in the act of her subsequent execution in 1587, without Elizabeths' authority.

He was a Knight of the Garter, being created in 1559 and held the position of Privy Councillor from 1562 and was created Lord Steward of the Royal Household in 1587.

Dudley was also a highly successful businessman and was considered a pioneer of new business, additionally being a main backer of Francis Drake and his privateering conquests.

In 1585 he was appointed Governor General of the United Provinces of the Netherlands, during the ongoing disturbances with Philip of Spain. In early 1588 He was appointed Lieutenant & Captain General of the Queens Armies and Companies, in anticipation of the Spanish Armada.

Robert Dudley was appointed Chancellor of the Oxford Colleges during Queen Elizabeth's reign from the years 1564 to 1585. Whereupon he was classified as one of the greatest literary patrons of Elizabeths' reign, being instrumental in the founding of the Oxford University Press.
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