- Autograph letter signed ("Notingham"), to Dr Julius Caesar, Judge of the Admiralty
Informing him that "at my coming home I found my wife very extreme seke soo as if the world lay on it I wold not goo from her tell I saw her better," and asking him to inform fellow members of the Admiralty that he will not be able to attend a coming meeting but "the cause is gret therfoe it weer good you kept the tyme and day," one page, folio (290 x 195 mm), integral autograph address leaf, "this Sonday the last of Ja" [i.e., 31 January 1602]; neat repairs, slight adhesive residue from former mount. Housed with two other items in a green cloth folding-box and morocco-backed slipcase.
Enys family of Enys, Cornwall (Bonhams, 28 September 2004, lot 73). acquisition: Purchased at the foregoing sale through Bernard Quaritch
Both the Earl of Nottingham — best known as the hero of the Armada — and his wife were at the heart of Queen Elizabeth's court; Katherine (née
Carey), Countess of Nottingham, was a cousin of the Queen and one of her closest confidantes for more than forty years. The countess died a year after this anxious letter was written, and her death was a cause of great grief to the Queen. In his Memoirs
Robert Carey recalls coming to court two weeks after the Countess's death:
"I found her in one of her withdrawing chambers, sitting low upon her cushions. She called me to her, I kissed her hand, and told her it was my chiefest happiness to see her in safety and in health, which I wished might long continue. She took me by the hand, and wrung it hard, and said, 'No, Robin, I am not well,' and then discoursed with me of her indisposition, and that her heart had been sad and heavy for ten or twelve days, and in her discourse she fetched not so few as forty or fifty great sighs. I was grieved at the first to see her in this plight; for in all my lifetime before I never knew her fetch a sigh, but when the Queen of Scots was beheaded."
Queen Elizabeth herself died two weeks later.