Queen Elizabeth I ('Elizabeth I and the Three Goddesses')

1 portrait

Queen Elizabeth I ('Elizabeth I and the Three Goddesses')

attributed to Isaac Oliver
watercolour and bodycolour on vellum, circa 1590
4 1/2 in. x 6 1/8 in. (115 mm x 157 mm)
Purchased with support from Mark Weiss and the Portrait Fund, 2012
Primary Collection
NPG 6947


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Sitterback to top

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

Artistback to top

  • Isaac Oliver (circa 1565-1617), Miniature painter. Artist associated with 71 portraits, Sitter in 5 portraits.

This portraitback to top

This previously unknown small-scale painting reinterprets the theme of Elizabeth and the three goddesses, also depicted in an oil painting of this title in the Royal Collection. The subject is a reworking of the classical legend known as the 'Judgement of Paris', in which a golden apple is awarded by Paris to the fairest of the three goddesses, the outcome of which led to the Trojan War. Here, rather than repeat Paris's folly, Elizabeth retains the golden orb for herself as she alone combines their separate virtues. The subject was designed to flatter the Queen, implying that the outcome of her reign would be peace and not war. The exceptionally high quality of this painting suggests that it may have been painted for the Elizabeth herself, or for someone close to her.

Linked publicationsback to top

Linked displays and exhibitionsback to top