Sir Francis Drake
13 of 20 portraits on display in Room 2 at the National Portrait Gallery
Sir Francis Drake
by Unknown artist
oil on panel, circa 1581
71 3/8 in. x 44 1/2 in. (1813 mm x 1130 mm)
Click on the links below to find out more:
Sitterback to top
- Sir Francis Drake (1540-1596), Admiral and circumnavigator. Sitter associated with 36 portraits.
This portraitback to top
The most famous of all English seafarers, Drake earned his fame and fortune through his skilful seamanship and outstandingly successful piracy. His circumnavigation of the globe from 1577-81 involved a number of very profitable raids on Spanish ships and ports. Drake's increasingly frequent and serious attacks during the 1580s were an important factor contributing to Philip II's decision to launch the Armada which was in turn defeated by the English fleet. In this full-length portrait Drake rests his hand on a globe which, intriguingly, is orientated the other way up from modern representations of the planet. The names of the continents are marked in French.
Linked publicationsback to top
- Audio Guide
- I-Spy National Portrait Gallery, 2010, p. 8
- Bolland, Charlotte; Cooper, Tarnya, The Real Tudors: Kings and Queens Rediscovered, 2014 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 12th September 2014 to 1st March 2015), p. 129
- Clare Gittings, The National Portrait Gallery Book of Elizabeth I, 2006, p. 21
- Cooper, John, Visitor's Guide, 2000, p. 25
- Cooper, John, A Guide to the National Portrait Gallery, 2009, p. 13
- John Cooper, National Portrait Gallery Visitor's Guide, 2006, p. 25
- Ribeiro, Aileen, The Gallery of Fashion, 2000, p. 48
- Ribeiro, Aileen; Blackman, Cally, A Portrait of Fashion: Six Centuries of Dress at the National Portrait Gallery, 2015, p. 61
- Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 186
- Schama, Simon, The Face of Britain: The Nation Through its Portraits, 2015-09-15, p. 257
- Strong, Roy, Tudor and Jacobean Portraits, 1969, p. 69
Subjects & Themesback to top
Events of 1581back to top
Current affairsSir Francis Drake is knighted on board his ship the Golden Hind.The heir to the French crown, François, Duke of Anjou comes to England to finalise marriage negotiations with Elizabeth I. He returns home unsuccessful the following year.Parliament passes legislation against Catholicism. The Jesuit missionary Edmund Campion is executed for treason.
Art and scienceThe mathematician Norman Robert publishes a pioneering study of magnetism The Newe AttractiveThe first ballet Ballet Comique de la Reine by Balthasar de Beaujoyeulx is performed in Paris.
InternationalThe Oath of Abjuration - the seven northern, Protestant provinces of the Netherlands formally renounce their allegiance to Philip II of Spain and become an independent republic, the United Provinces .Stephen Báthory of Poland invades Russia as part of the Livonian war.Akbar, Mughal Emperor of India, conquers Kabul (in present-day Afghanistan).Arjan Dev becomes the fifth of the ten Sikh Gurus.
See this portrait
On display in Room 2 at the National Portrait Gallery
Exhibitions and displays
- Framing the Face: Collars and Ruffs
Until 31 December