Michael Drayton (1563-1631)

There have been two memorable artists associated with Clifford Chambers: the 16th/17th century poet Michael Drayton and, more recently, the fabric designer and weaver, Tibor Reich. They both developed the art forms of their day in an ambitious and inspired manner that we hope our arts fellows will also achieve.

Michael Drayton
Michael Drayton engraved by William Hole to accompany the publication of his Poems, 1613. By permission of the British Library (King’s Library 80.i.3.)

Michael Drayton Esquire (1563-1631) was a prolific poet who spent his summers in Warwickshire as did Shakespeare, his legendary friend and contemporary. His best-remembered complete work Poly-Olbion was a great topographical poem on England, ‘its tracts, rivers, forests and other parts’; it is here he mentions Clifford Chambers, which is forever associated with him as he stayed annually at the Manor House. He was attended by Dr John Hall, Shakespeare’s son-in-law.

Drayton was ‘a pious poet, his conscience having command of his fancy, very temperate in his life, slow of speech and inoffensive in company.’ At his death his effects were valued at under £25 but his alabaster portrait monument in Westminster Abbey was paid for by his patron, and his epitaph is supposedly by Ben Jonson. Drayton valued his title ‘Esquire’ so we have included it.

‘…dear Clifford’s seat (the place of health and sport)
Which many a time hath been the Muse’s quiet port
Michael Drayton, Poly-Olbion, book ivx, 1612-22.