The x-ray in the centre and the infrared reflectogram on the right reveal both the changes in the composition in the portrait of Elizabeth and the portrait of the woman underneath. Infrared reflectography shows that the snake that was originally painted in Elizabeth’s hand was fully modelled before being overpainted with the flower. The reserve (or unpainted area), left for the rose in the hair is also very evident. The eyes and nose of the portrait underneath are very clear in the infrared reflectogram but a clearer sense of the portrait can be seen in the x-ray.

© National Portrait Gallery, London