Object Title





Object Number



Purchased April 1972. The painting had passed by descent to Lady Henniker Heaton from her grandfather, who succeeded his cousin, 3rd Lord Gwydyr and 22nd Baron Willoughby d'Eresby in 1870

Physical Description

Full length portrait, showing the sitter reclining against a grassy bank with his left leg crossed over his right ankle and his head supported on his left hand, the right being raised with the index finger crooked as if beckoning (or pointing to the ruined castle behind. He is bareheaded and dressed in a black full-skirted doublet held by a narrow girdle, a white ruff and the vambraces and full leg harness of a blue and gold armour decorated with bands of guilloche and zigzag.
His gauntlets and tilting close-helmet lie beside him on the ground and the cuirass with gorget and tassets hangs on a tree. In the background is a landscape with a river and a willow tree, beside which stands a busted-like bird. . Inscribed top right is 'VEIQVE PERIGRINVS HIC DOMI'; to the right of the cuirass is 'CONTRAAVDENTIOR', bottom left, shield of arms above which appears 'AMARE DE LAS DOLCES and below 'THE RT HONble PEREGRINE LD WILLOVGHBY OF ERESBY BORN IN THE CHVRCH PORCH OF ST WILLEBRODE AT WESEL IN GERMANY. OCT 12 A.D.1555.


Dimensions: Height: 2057mm (81 in.); width: 1283 mm (50.5 in.)


Places England

Bibliographic References

C R Beard 1924 'Missing Armours: a National Gallery Discovery' Connoisseur LXX p176-177.

Dufty, A R 1977 'Two Paintings from the reign of Elizabeth I' Connoisseur, Jan 1977 pp 20-22.


The background in this painting appears to be allegorical; Dufty (1977) notes: 'The willow tree and the bird are a play on the name Willoughby; the ruined castle is the charge on the second and third quarterings of the Bertie arms, 'a shattered castle triple-towered'; the inscription beside the cuirass, 'Contra audentior', might be thought to allude to Willoughby's known bravery and be translated in the metaphorical sense of equivalence, 'equal in toughness'; that below the bird, 'Amare de las dolces', suggests a love of the sweets of life, for the flesh of the bustard was a particular delicacy, and that above the castle, 'Ubique peregrinus hic domi', implies that to Peregrine home was wherever he might be...' Two other copies of this painting exist. One of them, that at Grimesthorpe Castle, Bourne, has also been described as a copy of an unknown original, but on a recent visit to the Castle, Oliver Millar considered that this version was of a quality 'consistent with 1590' and was at least an early contemporary copy, comparing it to the portrait of Lord Herbert of Cherbury. The other copy (date unknown), at Ayton Castle, Berwickshire, claims to be a copy of the first.

Peregrine Bertie, soldier (1554-1601) was born in Germany when his parents were fleeing from the Marian persecution. Went to Denmark to invest Frederick II with Garter 1582, fought in Low Countries and succeeded Sir Philip Sidney as governor of Bergen-op-Zoom 1598, and Leicester as commander in 1587. He commanded an expedition to Dieppe to aid Henry of Navarre 1589, and was Governor of Berwick 1598, coming into frequent conflict with the Scots.

The armour depicted in the painting may be related to a drawing in the Jacobe Album in the Victoria and Albert Museum. The drawing is of extra pieces of armour with similar decoration to those in the painting and is uninscribed. (the main armour drawing is now missing).