Lucy Russell 1581-1627
Lucy RUSSELL, Countess of Bedford 1581-1627
Daughter of John Harington, 1st Baron Harington of Exton, Rutland, (1539/40-1613) and Anne Harington (c.1554-1620). Married Edward Russell in 1594. Following the accession of James VI and I, Anne of Denmark made Russell a Lady of the Bedchamber. She became a trusted confidant and retained the post throughout the queen’s life. At court, Russell performed in masques and was a patron of major Elizabethan and Jacobean literary figures, including Ben Jonson, Michael Drayton, Samuel Daniel, George Chapman, and John Donne. She was a shareholder in the Somers Isles Company and was included in the list of ‘adventurers’ in the letters patent for further plantations in Virginia in 1612.
A number of surviving books with variant forms of the Russell armorial crest indicate the existence of a library which has been suggested to be “a joint interest” (Armorials database). Lucy bequeathed books from her own (Harington) family to Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge.
- British Armorial Bindings.
- Hearn, Karen, A question of judgement: Lucy Harington , Countess of Bedford, as art patron and collector, in E. Chaney (ed), The evolution of English collecting, New Haven, 2003, 221-39.
- Payne, Helen. "Russell [née Harington], Lucy, countess of Bedford (bap. 1581, d. 1627), courtier and patron of the arts." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.