For the known details of these two pictures see Mistress Blanche, Queen Elizabeth I’s Confidante pages 140-142. Walter Pilley arranged for the two oil paintings to be photographed. If the photographer was local then he may have been J. (John) Thirlwall, of 18, King Street, Hereford.
This picture shows the 1886 photograph taken for Walter Pilley of the oil painting which had been at Newcourt until the 1860s. At the 1908 auction of the Jenkins’ Collection the picture, described as of Queen Elizabeth in Court Dress by Hondius, was sold for £30 to a descendant of the Parry family. Its whereabouts is now unknown.
This picture is perhaps a more realistic likeness than some of the official paintings of Queen Elizabeth. Its secure connection with Newcourt, which provides a provenance for it, does suggest that it is a picture that Blanche Parry almost certainly owned and presumably considered a reasonable likeness of her adored Elizabeth.
It was probably painted in the 1580s when Jodocus Hondius (Joost de Hondt) 1563-1612, was in London. Among his known commissions was an engraved portrait of the Queen. This painting’s depiction of Queen Elizabeth also resembles the 1590s engravings by Crispin van de Passe the Elder. Most of the Queen’s portraits were painted using the officially approved likeness and it is unusual to find a picture painted from life.
This is the first time the Pilley picture has been made widely available.
The second oil painting from Newcourt, of Blanche Parry, was photographed for Walter Pilley in October 1886 (pages 140-142 for full details). The painter was possibly George Gower (page 141).
Blanche was the constant companion of Elizabeth for fifty-six years. Sir William Cecil, Lord Burghley was her friend and cousin and she facilitated his relationship, and that of Sir Robert Cecil, with the Queen. Blanche was at the centre of the Royal Court. Blanche’s aunt was Blanche Herbert, Lady Troy, the Lady Mistress who supervised the upbringing of the Tudor children. Lady Troy gave Edward VI and Elizabeth I a stable and loving childhood.
Walter Pilley wrote that these two pictures were bought at the sale at Whitehouse, Bacton, together with 4 chairs and 1 sofa – the chairs had the Royal Arms, these formerly belonged to Blanche Parry. Newcourt (see pages 28-31 and 149-150) was inherited by Elizabeth Vaughan, Blanche’s great-niece. She married her cousin Rowland Vaughan. By 1605 he had mortgaged his manors and in 1607 John Parry, a cousin, conveyed Poston manor and the lands in Turnastone to him. By 1610 Rowland and his wife were using the Whitehouse as their central home, though they retained Newcourt.