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Portrait of Joyce Clopton


Portrait of Joyce Carew (née Clopton), Lady Totnes (d.1636)

Oil on panel

Attributed to the school of Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger (c.1561/2 - 1636)

An early 17th century portrait painting, thought to depict Joyce Clopton. The sitter is shown wearing a deep cut, richly embroidered green dress and dark cape, a high ruff, fine lace at her neck and wrists, and a large pearl earring. She is shown against a red background, her hair is undressed apart from what appears to be a dark-coloured feather at the back.

The portrait was purchased from a sale at Clopton House near Stratford-upon-Avon in 1930. This was once the home of Joyce Clopton and her husband, George Carew. Joyce Clopton would have been 48 at the time the portrait was painted. A portrait of George Carew (also in the collections of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust) dates from around the same time.

Joyce was the daughter of William and Ann Clopton of the wealthy and well-established Clopton family. Joyce and her younger sister, Anne, were the only two of the couple's seven children to survive to adulthood. Joyce married George Carew in 1580. The son of an Anglican dignitary, both he and Joyce were conforming members of the Church of England and indeed stood high in the esteem of Queen Elizabeth I and Queen Anne to whom Joyce was Lady-in-Waiting and George respectively Master of Ordnance and Receiver-General. George was knighted in 1582, in 1605 was created Baron Carew of Clopton and in 1626 Earl of Totnes. Although they owned Clopton House in Stratford-upon-Avon, they spent much of their time at court or abroad. George was heavily involved in the wars in Ireland on behalf of the English crown.

  • Measurements

  • Width

    800 mm

  • Height

    990 mm

  • Credit line

    CC-BY-NC-ND Image Courtesy of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust