Monday, December 16, 2013

Robert Devereux

Born on November 10, 1565, his maternal great-grandmother was Mary Boleyn (sister to Anne Boleyn) which made him a cousin to Queen Elizabeth I. His father, Walter Devereux, died in 1576 and passed his title as the Earl of Essex unto his son. Two years later his mother married the Earl of Leicester Robert Dudley, who was Elizabeth I's favorite subject for many years. Dudley was also Devereux's godfather and introduced him formally to the Queen.

Devereux quickly became a favorite of Elizabeth's, and rose to power quickly for both his military valor and youthful charm. After Leicester's death in 1588, Essex grew wealthy with the right to collect tax on sweet wines. As his fame grew, so did his arrogance and he began to openly disobey the Queen's commands.

He was sent to Ireland to put a stop to the rebellion that had broken out, but his mismanagement of the campaign resulted in making an embarrassing truce with the rebel leader. Despite Elizabeth's orders not to, he returned to England and visited the Queen unannounced. Elizabeth, along with her Privy Council, interrogated him for several hours before ordering him to house arrest. Instead of plotting to regain the Queen's favor, Devereux began communications with Scotland's King James VI in regard to capturing the English Throne.

He further complicated matters by leading a small band of nobles in an attempt to force an audience with the Queen. Members of the Council immediately declared his actions to be treasonous, and he was arrested and brought to trial. Once found guilty, Elizabeth reluctantly signed his death warrant. The Earl of Essex was beheaded by axe on February 25, 1601.


Our life-sized replica of the Earl's freshly-severed head can be used at a table display or mounted on a wall.

The head is attached to a large basket base sparsely lined with bloodied straw. The piece is approx 10" deep, 16" tall and 18" wide.

Robert's facial features are all hand-painted. His blue eyes are glazed over in a cloudy and sickly death stare framed by painted eyebrows. He wears his chestnut-colored hair in a longish style and his facial hair in a classic fashionable Elizabethan manner. He is spattered with cast-off blood from the axe blow, and blood running from his mouth and nose. The neck reveals part of the crushed spinal column and severed trachea.

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