Patronage, Culture and Power

The Early Cecils 1558-1612

Edited by Pauline Croft

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Early generations of England’s illustrious Cecil family--particularly William Lord Burghley (1520–1598) and his son Robert Earl of Salisbury (c. 1563–1612)—engaged in an extraordinary range of patronage activities. This fascinating interdisciplinary volume sets the Cecils in their historical context and reveals for the first time the ways in which they used extensive patronage and broad cultural interests to publicize and advance the family’s political position during the reigns of Queen Elizabeth and King James I.

Drawing on the most recent findings in many fields, the contributors to the volume shine new light on the broad reach of the Cecils’ patronage. Their building program was the most spectacular of the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, and many examples—including Burghley House and Hatfield House—survive today. The Cecils also pioneered the vogue for collecting paintings; were patrons to writers (including Ben Jonson) and musicians (John Dowland); encouraged new processes of manufacturing; and introduced new styles of Renaissance design into gardens and interiors. For over seven decades, the authors show, the Cecils’ pre-eminence as patrons contributed importantly to their success as the dominant noble family at court.

Pauline Croft is reader in early modern history at the University of London.

“Richly illustrated. . . . This attractive book is a substantial compendium of information about the Cecils.”—Barrett L. Beer, H-Net Reviews

“A sumptuously-produced book about the early Cecils, the father-and-son team of Lord Burghley and Lord Salisbury, Elizabeth I’s closest advisors. . . . A superb work of which Yale University Press must be proud.”—Andrew Roberts, Sunday Telegraph (London)

“This collection of essays—elegantly written and beautifully illustrated—makes an important contribution to our knowledge of the Cecil family and to the subject of patronage in early modern England. It will undoubtedly pave the way for much new research.”—Elizabeth Goldring, Burlington Magazine

"This volume provides erudition for the scholar or fascinating information for the merely curious."—Rosa Someville, The Art Book (UK)

ISBN: 9780300091366
Publication Date: February 8, 2002
Publishing Partner: Published in association with the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art
320 pages, 7 x 10
78 b/w + 19 color illus.
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