About the object



This portrait closely resembles Robert Bertie, 1st earl of Lindsey, who became a Knight of the Garter (and a member of the privy council) in 1630. The eldest son of Peregrine Bertie, 13th Baron Willoughby, and Mary, daughter of John de Vere, the Earl of Oxford, he succeeded to his father's title in 1601 and married Elizabeth Montagu in 1604.[1]

Lindsey had a distinguished military career, first gaining experience in the army of Christian IV of Denmark in 1612 and then under Prince Maurice of Nassau in 1624. He was created Earl of Lindsey in 1626, and shortly afterwards served as vice-admiral to the Duke of Buckingham on his ill-fated expedition to liberate La Rochelle in 1627. Upon his return to England he was appointed to the King's privy council.

Lindsey’s association with the Duke of Buckingham ended with the Duke’s assassination in Portsmouth in 1628, where he was responsible for the interrogation of his assassin John Felton. In 1630 he became a Knight of the Garter – the sash of which he wears in this portrait. This miniature may celebrate that appointment. Lindsey returned to naval command in 1635 when he was appointed admiral of the first of King Charles' ship-money fleets, but he was later rejected for the office of lord high admiral in favour of Algernon Percy, the Earl of Northumberland.

As a member of the House of Lords, Lindsey remained a loyal supporter of the King. After his commission as lord-lieutenant of Lincolnshire was withdrawn in February 1642, he joined the King at York and a few months later was appointed lord-general of the King's army.

Although Lindsey was an experienced soldier and commander, he was forced to take orders from Prince Rupert, nephew of the king, whose relative youth led to impatience and a lack of diplomacy in dealing with his more experienced military peers. Prior to the battle of Edgehill in 1642, this acrimony led to bitter quarrels over the deployment of troops and Lindsey angrily resigned his commission. Lindsey fought bravely on foot during the battle, as a colonel at the head of his regiment and was wounded by a shot in the thigh. Taken prisoner by the Roundheads, he died from his wounds the following day in the inglorious surroundings of a nearby barn.

The connection between the Cavendish and Lindsey families is evidenced by correspondence between Robert Bertie 4th Earl of Lindsey to William Cavendish 1st Duke of Devonshire.[2] It may be that this portrait was gifted by Lindsey’s descendent to the 1st Duke of Devonshire, or that it entered the family collection earlier as a memorial to the Earl. It is likely that Robert Bertie, 1st Earl of Lindsey and William Cavendish, 1st Duke of Newcastle were acquainted at court and in their support for the king during the early years of the Civil War.

[1] Sources for biographical information; Andrew Thrush, Robert Bertie, first earl of Lindsey, Oxford DNB, 2004 and Stuart Reid, All the King's Armies (Staplehurst 1998)

[2] Bodleian Library, University of Oxford (ref GB 161 Dep. c. 145-51)



Oval 3.5 cm

Stock number