Mary Sidney Countess of Pembroke 1621.

Mary Sidney, Countess of Pembroke, England, 17th century, clothing, Baroque, costume, Headdress

Mary Sidney. Countess of Pembroke 1621.

Mary Sidney Countess of Pembroke 1621.

Mary Sidney Herbert, Countess of Pembroke (1561-1621) was a scholar noble English writer in Elizabethan time and the center of an artist circle. She enjoyed a humanist education: French, Italian (by an Italian woman), Greek and Latin, as well as music lessons, playing lute, virginal, possibly violin and sang. Her brothers were the poet Sir Philip Sidney, Henry Sidney, Earl of Leicester and Sir Robert Sidney.

The parents were Sir Henry Sidney (1529-1586), the Lord Deputy of Ireland was three, and Mary Sidney, daughter of John Dudley, 1st Duke of Northumberland and under Edward VI. High Protector of England. In her country estate, she gained over 20 years in a circle of poets and musicians around (“Wilton Circle”), including Edmund Spenser (he dedicated his “Ruines of Time”), Michael Drayton, Sir John Davies, who was also her secretary , and Samuel Daniel.

Like her brother, she tried in her circle to promote the English language and refine, in particular by translations of the Bible. She herself was well versed and active in the Calvinist theology in the help for Huguenot refugees. 1577 she married the much older Henry Herbert, 2nd Earl of Pembroke (1534-1601), lived with on the family seat of Pembroke at Wilton House in Salisbury (Wiltshire) and in London in Baynard’s Castle.

She also had an alchemy lab at Wilton House. Adrian Gilbert, Walter Raleigh’s half-brother, assisted her in her experiments (which still contain secret ink recipes, for example) and designed her garden according to strictly geometric rules inspired by occult thought.

She died in her London house in Aldersgate Street of chickenpox and is buried next to her husband in the Cathedral of Salisbury, buried under the stairs to the choir.