Lt. Col. Richard Rouse-Boughton Orlebar [1862-1950], Hinwick House, Wellingborough, Northamptonshire. (M. Knoedler & Co., London), by 1931. (M. Knoedler & Co., New York), by 1943. Mrs. Henry R. Rea, Sewickley Heights, Pennsylvania; gift 1947 to NGA.
- Development of Portraiture, Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore, 1945, no cat.
- Elizabeth I, Then and Now, The Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, D.C., 2003, not in cat.
- Loan to display with permanent collection, The Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, D.C., 2003-2004.
- Piper, David. "The 1590 Lumley Inventory: Hilliard, Segar and the Earl of Essex. II." The Burlington Magazine 99 (1957): 299-303.
- Summary Catalogue of European Paintings and Sculpture. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1965: 20, as British School, The Earl of Essex.
- European Paintings and Sculpture, Illustrations. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1968: 13, repro., as British School, The Earl of Essex.
- Strong, Roy C. The English Icon: Elizabethan and Jacobean Portraiture. London and New York, 1969: 297.
- Strong, Roy C. Tudor and Jacobean Portraits. 2 vols. London, 1969: 1:116.
- European Paintings: An Illustrated Summary Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1975: 46, repro., as British School, The Earl of Essex
- Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. Rev. ed. New York, 1984: 158, no. 175, color repro., as The Earl of Essex by British School.
- European Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1985: 20, repro.
- Hayes, John. British Paintings of the Sixteenth through Nineteenth Centuries. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. Washington, D.C., 1992: 112-114, repro. 113.
The wood panel is constructed of three vertical members; it has been cradled. The ground is cream colored, smoothly applied and of moderate thickness. There is a thin, light-gray imprimatura, with a further thicker, overlying, reddish brown layer confined to the blue background. Infrared reflectography reveals some simple, slight contours delineating the eyes, nose, and mouth and in the region of the sitter's right arm and shoulder. The painting is executed in broad, smooth, opaque layers, thinly applied in the figure, more thickly and with some texture in the background, where the paint has the appearance of tempera; the brown hair and black cloak are painted in very thin glazes; the highlights in the belt, sword hilt, and medallion are slightly impasted. The ground and paint surfaces have suffered considerable losses along the two vertical seams and are worn and chipped along the edges. The paint surface has also been fairly severely abraded throughout, and the cloak and hat are now completely flat. There is a substantial amount of inpainting in the costume, the beard, and the edge of the brown hair. The thin natural resin varnish has not discolored significantly.