William Segar

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William Segar, Garter Principal King of Arms, early 17th century William Segar Garter King of Arms.jpg
William Segar, Garter Principal King of Arms, early 17th century

Sir William Segar (c. 1554–1633) was a portrait painter and officer of arms to the court of Elizabeth I of England; he became Garter King of Arms under James I.

Portrait Artistic representation of one or more persons

A portrait is a painting, photograph, sculpture, or other artistic representation of a person, in which the face and its expression is predominant. The intent is to display the likeness, personality, and even the mood of the person. For this reason, in photography a portrait is generally not a snapshot, but a composed image of a person in a still position. A portrait often shows a person looking directly at the painter or photographer, in order to most successfully engage the subject with the viewer.

Officer of arms state officer for heraldic, armorial or ceremonial duties

An officer of arms is a person appointed by a sovereign or state with authority to perform one or more of the following functions:

Elizabeth I of England Queen regnant of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until 24 March 1603

Elizabeth I was Queen of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death on 24 March 1603. Sometimes called The Virgin Queen, Gloriana or Good Queen Bess, Elizabeth was the last of the five monarchs of the House of Tudor.

Contents

Like other artists of the Tudor court, Segar was active in more than one medium, painting portraits of luminaries of the court in addition to his duties in the College of Arms. He painted Elizabeth's favourite the Earl of Essex in his "Sable sad" (black) armour for the Accession Day tilt of 1590. The famous "Ermine Portrait" of Elizabeth is sometimes attributed to Segar. [1]

Artists of the Tudor court painters and limners engaged by the Tudor dynasty between 1485 and 1603

The artists of the Tudor court are the painters and limners engaged by the monarchs of England's Tudor dynasty and their courtiers between 1485 and 1603, from the reign of Henry VII to the death of Elizabeth I.

College of Arms British royal corporation consisting of professional officers of arms, with jurisdiction over England, Wales, Northern Ireland and some Commonwealth countries

The College of Arms, also known as the College of Heralds, is a royal corporation consisting of professional officers of arms, with jurisdiction over England, Wales, Northern Ireland and some Commonwealth realms. The heralds are appointed by the British Sovereign and are delegated authority to act on behalf of the Crown in all matters of heraldry, the granting of new coats of arms, genealogical research and the recording of pedigrees. The College is also the official body responsible for matters relating to the flying of flags on land, and it maintains the official registers of flags and other national symbols. Though a part of the Royal Household of the United Kingdom the College is self-financed, unsupported by any public funds.

Favourite intimate companion of a ruler or other important person

A favourite or favorite was the intimate companion of a ruler or other important person. In post-classical and early-modern Europe, among other times and places, the term was used of individuals delegated significant political power by a ruler. It was especially a phenomenon of the 16th and 17th centuries, when government had become too complex for many hereditary rulers with no great interest in or talent for it, and political institutions were still evolving. From 1600 to 1660 there were particular successions of all-powerful minister-favourites in much of Europe, particularly in Spain, England, France and Sweden.

Personal life

William Segar may have been the son of one Nicholas Segar [2] or of Francis Nycholson, alias Seager, who became a freeman of the Stationers' Company in 1557. [3] Once thought to be of Dutch origin, Segar is now believed to have been born in England of an English mother. [4] Segar stated his age as "fifty or thereabouts" in a document dated 13 September 1604. [5] By 1584 William had married Helen Somers, and had three sons and three daughters. By 1596 Segar was married to Maria Browne and had four sons, including Thomas Segar who later became Bluemantle Pursuivant, and three daughters. In December 1616 one of Segar's rivals, York Herald Ralph Brooke, tricked him into confirming foreign royal arms to Gregory Brandon, a common hangman of London who was masquerading as a gentleman. Brooke then reported him to James I, who imprisoned both Brooke and Segar in Marshalsea. They were released a few days later and the Lord Chamberlain hoped that the experience would make Brooke more honest and Segar more wise. [6]

Bluemantle Pursuivant subclass of an officer of arms in Britain

Bluemantle Pursuivant of Arms in Ordinary is a junior officer of arms of the College of Arms in London. The office is reputed to have been created by King Henry V to serve the Order of the Garter, but there is no documentary evidence of this. There is, however, mention of an officer styled Blewmantle going to France in 1448. The first Bluemantle to be mentioned by name is found in a record from around 1484. The badge of office, probably derived from the original blue material of the Order of the Garter, is blazoned as A Blue Mantle lined Ermine cords and tassels Or.

York Herald Officer of arms at the U.K.s College of Arms

York Herald of Arms in Ordinary is an officer of arms at the College of Arms. The first York Herald is believed to have been an officer to Edmund of Langley, Duke of York around the year 1385, but the first completely reliable reference to such a herald is in February 1484, when John Water alias Yorke, herald was granted certain fees by Richard III. These fees included the Manor of Bayhall in Pembury, Kent, and 8 pounds, 6 shillings, and 8 pence a year from the Lordship of Huntingfield in Kent. The badge of office is the White Rose of York en soleil ensigned by the Royal Crown.

Ralph Brooke English officer of arms

Ralph Brooke (1553–1625) was an English Officer of Arms in the reigns of Elizabeth I and James I. He is known for his critiques of the work of other members of the College of Arms, most particularly in A Discoverie of Certaine Errours Published in Print in the Much Commended 'Britannia' 1594, which touched off a feud with its author, the revered antiquarian and herald William Camden.

Heraldic career

William Segar as Norroy King of Arms in the funeral procession of Elizabeth I, 1603. William Segar 1603.jpg
William Segar as Norroy King of Arms in the funeral procession of Elizabeth I, 1603.

Segar was trained as a scrivener and found employment with Sir Thomas Heneage, vice-chamberlain to Queen Elizabeth. Through Heneage's influence, Segar was admitted to the College of Arms in June 1585. [2] [3] [4] While serving as Portcullis Pursuivant, he "reluctantly" [4] accompanied Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester on his 1586 expedition to the Netherlands [8] to serve as the Master of ceremonies for the St. George's Day festivities in Utrecht. [3] A description of this festival in John Stow's Annales is based on "the true and faithful description by one William Segar, alias Portclose [Portcullis], an officer of arms in that service." [2]

Scrivener clerk, scribe, or notary

A scrivener was a person who could read and write or who wrote letters to court and legal documents. Scriveners were people who made their living by writing or copying written material. This usually indicated secretarial and administrative duties such as dictation and keeping business, judicial, and historical records for kings, nobles, temples, and cities. Scriveners later developed into public servants, accountants, lawyers and petition writers.

Sir Thomas Heneage PC was an English politician and courtier at the court of Elizabeth I.

Portcullis Pursuivant

Portcullis Pursuivant of Arms in Ordinary is a junior officer of arms at the College of Arms in London. The office is named after the Portcullis chained Or badge of the Beauforts, which was a favourite device of King Henry VII. King Henry's mother was Lady Margaret Beaufort. The office was instituted around 1485, probably at the time of Henry's coronation. The badge of office is very similar to that of Somerset Herald of Arms in Ordinary, the latter being ensigned with the Royal Crown. The earliest recorded Portcullis Pursuivant was James or Jacques Videt, who was the plaintiff in a Common Pleas case in 1498 and again in 1500.

Segar was promoted to Somerset Herald in 1589 and to Norroy King of Arms in 1593. [9] During his tenure as Norroy, Robert Cooke, Clarenceux King of Arms, was encroaching on the traditional privileges of Garter King of Arms, Sir William Dethick. In 1595 Segar sided with Dethick, criticising Cooke for his inability to write clearly and for making many grants of arms to "base and unworthy persons for his private gaine onely." [10]

Somerset Herald

Somerset Herald of Arms in Ordinary is an officer of arms at the College of Arms in London. In the year 1448 Somerset Herald is known to have served the Duke of Somerset, but by the time of the coronation of King Henry VII in 1485 his successor appears to have been raised to the rank of a royal officer, when he was the only herald to receive coronation liveries.

Norroy and Ulster King of Arms Officers of Arms of the College of Arms of the United Kingdom

Norroy and Ulster King of Arms is the King of Arms at the College of Heralds with jurisdiction over England north of the Trent and Northern Ireland. The two offices of Norroy and Ulster were formerly separate, but were merged in 1943. Norroy King of Arms is the older office, there being a reference as early as 1276 to a "King of Heralds beyond the Trent in the North." The name is derived from the French nord roi meaning "north king". The office of Ulster King of Arms was established in 1552 by King Edward VI to replace the older post of Ireland King of Arms, which had lapsed in 1487.

Robert Cooke (officer of arms) English Officer of Arms

Robert Cooke was an English Officer of Arms during the reign of Elizabeth I, who rose swiftly through the ranks of the College of Arms to Clarenceux King of Arms, serving in that office from 1567 until his death in 1592–3.

In 1596, Segar accompanied the Earl of Shrewsbury to invest Henry IV of France with the Order of the Garter, witnessing Henry's famed Royal entry into Rouen. [3] [4]

Gilbert Talbot, 7th Earl of Shrewsbury English politician and Earl

Sir Gilbert Talbot, 7th Earl of Shrewsbury, 7th Earl of Waterford, 13th Baron Talbot, KG was a peer in the peerage of England. He also held the subsidiary titles of 16th Baron Strange of Blackmere and 12th Baron Furnivall.

Henry IV of France first French monarch of the House of Bourbon

Henry IV, also known by the epithet Good King Henry or Henry the Great, was King of Navarre from 1572 and King of France from 1589 to 1610. He was the first monarch of France from the House of Bourbon, a cadet branch of the Capetian dynasty. He was assassinated in 1610 by François Ravaillac, a fanatical Catholic, and was succeeded by his son Louis XIII.

Order of the Garter Order of chivalry in England

The Order of the Garter is an order of chivalry founded by Edward III in 1348 and regarded as the most prestigious British order of chivalry in England and later the United Kingdom. It is dedicated to the image and arms of Saint George, England's patron saint.

Sir Walter Raleigh, portrait by William Segar, 1598 William Segar Sir Walter Raleigh 1598.jpg
Sir Walter Raleigh, portrait by William Segar, 1598

As Norroy, Segar carried the Sword of state in the funeral procession of Elizabeth I (1603). A contemporary manuscript shows Segar in the black gown and hood with liripipe of Tudor court mourning [11] worn with his herald's tabard (image, left). [7] That same year, Segar was made deputy Garter to invest Christian IV of Denmark with the Order of the Garter in place of the unpopular Dethick. He was appointed as Garter by a signet bill in January 1604, although Dethick (who now described Segar as "a poor, base, beggarly painter, and an ignorant peasant" [4] ) refused to resign until December 1606. Segar obtained a great seal patent, confirming him as Garter, on 17 January 1607. [12] In 1612 he invested Maurice, Prince of Orange, with the Garter, and the same year was granted arms. He was knighted on 5 November 1616. [13]

Segar was the author of The Booke of Honour and Armes which was published anonymously in 1590. An expanded and illustrated version was published as Honour Military and Civil 1602; some editions had an engraved frontispiece by Francis Delaram (image, above right). [3]

Court painter

Francis Meres in his Palladia Tamia (1598) lists "William and Francis Segar brethren" among famous painters of the day. [4] Little is known about Francis, who was residing abroad by 1605.

Segar's first documented activity is an illumination of Dean Colet in the Statute Book of St. Paul's School, for which payment is recorded in the accounts for 1585/86. The "Ermine Portrait" of Elizabeth I is dated to the same period. Segar was heavily patronised by Essex in the early 1590s, and also painted portraits of Leicester, Sir Francis Drake, and other members of the court. The last recorded payment to Segar as a painter is for a portrait of the queen in 1597. [4]

Two sonnets by one "Ch.M." in honour of his lady Oriana were addressed to Segar, who seems to have been painting her portrait; these probably date to the 1590s. [4]

Portraits by William Segar

Arms

See also

Notes

  1. Strong, Gloriana
  2. 1 2 3 Moule, Thomas, Bibliotheca heraldica Magnæ Britanniæ, 1822, at Google Books, retrieved 7 December 2007
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 Sir William Segar: Information and Much More from Answers.com
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Strong 1969, English Icon, p. 17-18
  5. Eccles, Mark (1933). "Sir George Buc, Master of the Revels". In Sisson, Charles Jasper. Thomas Lodge and Other Elizabethans. Harvard University Press. pp. 409–506; p. 449.
  6. Wagner, Heralds of England, p. 219-220
  7. 1 2 Marks and Payne, British Heraldry, p. 48, 87
  8. Hearn, Dynasties, p.97
  9. Strong 1969 gives the date as 1602; see English Icon, p. 17.
  10. Wagner, Heralds of England, p. 207
  11. For the traditional, essentially medieval dress associated with Court mourning under the Tudors, see Hayward, Dress at the Court of King Henry VIII, p. 169-170
  12. Marks and Payne, British Heraldry, p. 50
  13. Noble, A History of the College of Arms, p. 172
  14. Godfrey, Walter H; Wagner, Anthony (1963). "'Garter King of Arms', in Survey of London Monograph 16, College of Arms, Queen Victoria Street (London, 1963), pp. 38-74". british-history.ac.uk. Retrieved 2018-11-01.

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References

Further reading


Heraldic offices
Preceded by
Richard Lee
Portcullis Pursuivant of Arms
1585–1588
Succeeded by
Thomas Lant
Preceded by
Robert Glover
Somerset Herald of Arms
1589–1597
Succeeded by
Robert Treswell
Preceded by
Edmund Knight
Norroy King of Arms
1593–1603
Succeeded by
Richard St George
Preceded by
William Dethick
Garter Principal King of Arms
1607–1633
Succeeded by
John Borough