Portrait of Mary Rogers, Lady Harington

The provenance of this painting suggests that the sitter may be a member of the Harington family of Kelston, near Bath. In her left hand she holds strings of pearls threaded into a shape of four knots. These resemble the ‘Harington knots‘ that feature in the Hartington heraldic arms. The distinctive black-and-white pattern on her sleeves and bodice also echos the Harington arms.

The sitter’s age and the date of the painting are written in the top left-hand corner: ‘Aetatis suae 23 ¦ Ano 1592’ – that is, ‘aged 23 in the year 1592’. Although her date of birth is not known, the likeliest candidate is Mary Rogers (died 1634), wife of the poet and courtier Sir John Harington (1561-1612), a godson of Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603). In 1592, the date on this portrait, Queen Elizabeth visited the Haringtons’ house at Kelston while on her summer progress to Bath and Oxford. Harington family papers show that Sir John spent a great deal of money preparing Kelston in advance. This portrait may have been commissioned in connection with this visit.

via ‘Portrait of Mary Rogers, Lady Harington’, Marcus Gheeraerts II | Tate.

Mary Rogers was the daughter of Sir George Rogers of Cannington, Somerset.

Her Grandfather, Sir Edward Rogers was made Esquire of the Body to Henry VIII before 1534. At the Dissolution of the Monasteries, he was granted the former nunnery at Cannington in Somerset, which became the family seat. He was a Justice of the Peace for Dorset and Somerset and was elected a Member of Parliament for Tavistock in 1547, the year of Henry VIII’s death.

He was knighted at Edward VI’s coronation, and was knight of the shire for Somerset throughout most of Queen Mary’s reign (1553, 1558, 1559 and 1563). A staunch Protestant, Rogers opposed Mary’s restoration of Catholicism, and was imprisoned in the Tower of London in 1554. He was released in January 1555 and pardoned in July on payment of £1,000 to keep the peace.

On her accession in 1558, Queen Elizabeth appointed him Vice-Chamberlain, Captain of the Guard, and Privy Councillor.

The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558

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