Henry Percy (1564–1632), 9th Earl of Northumberland

Image credit: Royal College of Physicians, London

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Henry Percy (1564–1632), 9th Earl of Northumberland, was also known as ‘the Wizard Earl’ because of his scientific experiments with alchemy and astrology. Percy had a colourful life. He was born at Tynemouth Castle and received a protestant education, but later got into trouble when sympathising with the Catholic views of friends in Paris. He had a reputation as being a quarrelsome man and a harsh landlord. He became addicted to tobacco, made many protests about the imprisonment of the explorer Sir Walter Raleigh, and lost large amounts of money in gambling. On 4November 1605 Percy had dinner with his kinsman Thomas Percy; the following day the Gunpowder Plot was discovered, and Thomas Percy was accused as being one of the main conspirators.

Royal College of Physicians, London



Henry Percy (1564–1632), 9th Earl of Northumberland


17th C


oil on canvas


H 128.3 x W 102.9 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

gift from Charles Ernest Kellett, 1975

Work type



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