Queen Elizabeth I
1 portrait by Nicholas Hilliard
Queen Elizabeth I
by Nicholas Hilliard
watercolour on vellum, 1572
2 in. x 1 7/8 in. (51 mm x 48 mm) oval
Click on the links below to find out more:
Sitterback to top
- Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603), Reigned 1558-1603. Sitter associated with 127 portraits.
Artistback to top
- Nicholas Hilliard (1547-1619), Miniature painter. Artist associated with 34 portraits.
This portraitback to top
This remarkable picture is the earliest known miniature of the queen, painted when she was 38 years old. It may be the portrait that the artist, Hilliard, describes painting in his treatise, The Arte of Limning, in which he relates recommending to the queen an 'open light' for miniature painting, with no shadow, for which he says she chose to sit in 'the open alley of a goodly garden, where no tree was near'. The reverse of the playing card (which is no longer visible) is documented as using the figure of a queen.
Linked publicationsback to top
- 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. 142
- Clare Gittings, The National Portrait Gallery Book of Elizabeth I, 2006, p. 18
- Cooper, John, Great Britons: The Great Debate, 2002, p. 32
- Cooper, Tarnya; Fraser, Antonia (foreword), A Guide to Tudor and Jacobean Portraits, 2012, p. 12
- Piper, David, The English Face, 1992, p. 51
- Rogers, Malcolm, Master Drawings from the National Portrait Gallery, 1993 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 5 August to 23 October 1994), p. 23
- Saumarez Smith, Charles, The National Portrait Gallery: An Illustrated Guide, 2000, p. 44
- Saumarez Smith, Charles, The National Portrait Gallery, 1997, p. 44
- Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 200
- Strong, Roy, Tudor and Jacobean Portraits, 1969, p. 101
- Various contributors, National Portrait Gallery: A Portrait of Britain, 2014, p. 50
- Walker, Richard, Miniatures: 300 Years of the English Miniature, 1998, p. 16
Linked displays and exhibitionsback to top
Events of 1572back to top
Current affairsThomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk is executed for his part in the papacy-backed Ridolfi Plot to overthrow Queen Elizabeth I. The French prince Francis, Duke of Anjou becomes a potential candidate as Elizabeth I's husband as Parliament makes repeated calls for an heir.Sir Francis Drake plunders Spanish treasure in the West Indies and returns to Plymouth with his spoils the following year.
Art and scienceMiniature of Queen Elizabeth I painted by Nicholas Hilliard. The Archbishop of Canterbury Matthew Parker publishes De Antiquitate Britannicae Ecclesiae (Ecclesiastical Antiquities of Britain), which charts the history of Christianity in Britain from the apocryphal arrival of Joseph of Arimathea. Birth of the poet and playwright Ben Jonson.Birth of the metaphysical poet and churchman John Donne.
InternationalSt Bartholomew's Day Massacre of French Protestants (known as Huguenots) takes place in Paris. Under the orders of the queen mother Catherine de Medici and Henry, Duke of Guise, the Huguenot leader Admiral Gaspard de Coligny and thousands of his supporters are killed. Dutch Protestant privateers (known as Sea Beggars) capture the port of Brill, which becomes the first stronghold of the Dutch revolt against Spainish rule.
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