Mary, Queen of Scots

1 portrait on display in Room 2 at the National Portrait Gallery

Mary, Queen of Scots, after Nicholas Hilliard, late 16th century (1578?) - NPG 429 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Mary, Queen of Scots

after Nicholas Hilliard
oil on panel, late 16th century (1578?)
31 1/8 in. x 35 1/2 in. (791 mm x 902 mm)
Purchased, 1876
Primary Collection
NPG 429


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  • Nicholas Hilliard (1547-1619), Miniature painter. Artist associated with 34 portraits.

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This portrait, which was once in the Royal Collection, is probably based on an image from the life. The Latin inscription records that she has been a prisoner for ten years. The cross attached to her rosary bears the letter 'S' (possibly for Stewart) on each of its arms. At its centre is an enamelled scene of Susannah and the Elders surrounded by a Latin motto which can be translated as 'troubles on all sides'. Although this portrait was once thought to be later, recent analysis of the panel support has dated the wood to the mid-sixteenth century, indicating that it was made during her lifetime.

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