Identity and Influence: Art in Wales (1550–1700)

William Herbert, 1st Earl of Pembroke (1507-1570), Steven Van Herwijk

VAN HERWIJK, Steven (c.1530–c.1565)
William Herbert, 1st Earl of Pembroke (1507–1570)
oil on panel
purchased, 2000
NMW A 16468

In 1500 Wales was a small, impoverished country with a population smaller than that of Cardiff today.

There were few towns of any size. Nearly everyone lived in the countryside, and most people were very poor. You might not expect to find expensive things like silver and paintings here, but you do.

Wales under the Tudors was a time of dramatic social, political and religious change. Between 1536 and 1543 a series of laws, later known as the Acts of Union, gave Wales a new system of government. The whole country was divided into counties, as in England.

These sent MPs to the Westminster Parliament, and were administered by local Justices of the Peace. Some Welsh people benefitted greatly, and became influential beyond Wales.

They attended the Court in London, and built careers in the Church and in the Law. This is reflected in the art and luxury objects they owned.

As can be seen in this display, their taste balanced continental fashions with a concern for their Welsh identity, and support for local traditions.

Map of gallery 10


Gallery 10
National Museum Cardiff