The portrait shows Margaret Tyrrell, wife of Thomas Tyrrell of Herongate near Brentwood. She was related to Heron Family who owned the manor of Aldersbrook in Little Ilford in the early 16th century. In the top left hand corner of the portrait the artist has painted its date, 1581 and her age at the time, 38 years. She is dressed in her finest clothes. Notice the pearls and gold thread on her head-dress, the fine lace ruff at her neck and the silver and gold thread embroidery on her bodice beneath her heavy gold chains.
Very few 16th century people would have been able to afford to have a portrait painted. The fact that she could and the richness of her fashionable clothing show that she came from a wealthy family.
The portrait was painted in oils on a wooden panel by John Bettes the Younger. He was working between 1578 and 1599. He seems to have begun his career painting scenery and effects for the ‘revel's, spectacular events at the royal court.
From the collection of Newham Heritage Services.
Accquired with the help of a Victoria and Albert Museum Purchase Grant Fund.