Arnold Bronckorst

James Douglas, 4th Earl of Morton, about 1516 - 1581. Regent of Scotland (About 1580)

About this artwork

James, 4th Earl of Morton, was involved in the most dramatic events of the reign of Mary, Queen of Scots. He was among those who burst into the Queen's chamber and murdered her secretary, David Rizzio. Morton was also implicated in the murder of her second husband, Lord Darnley. He ruled Scotland from 1572 to 1578 during the minority of James VI, working hard to maintain friendship with England and dealing ruthlessly with Mary's supporters. The castle in the background of this portrait may be a fanciful representation of Aberdour or Tantallon.

Arnold Bronckorst

Arnold Bronckorst

Arnold Bronckorst is believed to have started his career in England in association with the miniaturist Nicholas Hilliard. It seems that Hilliard sent Bronckorst to Scotland around 1578 to procure gold for their work. Bronckorst was not allowed to export the gold and was instead employed by James VI's uncle, the Earl of Morton, to paint portraits of the boy-king and his courtiers. In 1581 he was appointed painter to the king and given a yearly pension of £100. By 1583 Bronckorst was back in London, where he was described as a 'Dutch painter', but no works by him are known from this period.