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Queen Elizabeth I

9 of 125 portraits of Queen Elizabeth I

Queen Elizabeth I, by Unknown English artist, circa 1588 - NPG 541 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Queen Elizabeth I

by Unknown English artist
oil on panel, circa 1588
38 1/2 in. x 28 1/2 in. (978 mm x 724 mm)
Transferred from British Museum, 1879
Primary Collection
NPG 541


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  • Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603), Reigned 1558-1603. Sitter associated with 125 portraits.

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This portrait was painted to commemorate the most famous conflict of Elizabeth's reign, the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588. It was originally of the same horizontal format as two other known versions of this painting. Here we can see the scenes behind the Queen showing, on the left, the English fire ships setting out in clear, calm weather and on the right the Spanish fleet being wrecked off the dark, rocky coast of Scotland or Ireland. Elizabeth's hand rests on a globe, her fingers over the Americas, indicating England's dominion of the seas and expansion into the New World.

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