Arnold Bronckorst is believed to have started his career in England in association with the miniaturist Nicholas Hilliard. It seems that Hilliard sent Bronckorst to Scotland around 1578 to procure gold for their work. Bronckorst was not allowed to export the gold and was instead employed by James VI's uncle, the Earl of Morton, to paint portraits of the boy-king and his courtiers. In 1581 he was appointed painter to the king and given a yearly pension of £100. By 1583 Bronckorst was back in London, where he was described as a 'Dutch painter', but no works by him are known from this period.