Amy Robsart, 1884
Oil on Board
Wolverhampton Art Gallery, Wolverhampton, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Amy Robsart was the first wife of Lord Robert Dudley, the 1st Earl of Leicester and a favorite of Queen Elizabeth I. Legend has it that Robert arranged to have Amy murdered, so he would be free to marry Elizabeth. An official inquest cleared him of wrongdoing, but the story persisted and the scandal is thought to have played some part to discourage the Queen from marrying Dudley. Robsart's story became very popular in the 19th century thanks to Sir Walter Scott, who made her the tragic heroine of his novel Kenilworth; I think it likely that the popularity of that work inspired both this painting and another by the same artist.