Concealed and Revealed: The Changing Faces of Elizabeth I

Past display archive
13 March - 26 September 2010

Room 2

Free



Queen Elizabeth I, by Unknown artist, 1580s-1590s - NPG  - © National Portrait Gallery, London; photograph National Gallery, London

Queen Elizabeth I
by Unknown artist
1580s-1590s
NPG 200

A snake with a curling tail and the face of a mysterious unknown young woman hide beneath a portrait of Queen Elizabeth I. Why were these hidden images painted and and what can they tell us about the portraiture of England's best known queen? The snake was part of an original design for a portrait of Elizabeth I dating from the 1580s, but was painted out before the picture was finished. This picture is included in a new display highlighting recent research on several remarkable portraits of Elizabeth I.

This picture is included in a new display highlighting recent research on several remarkable portraits of Elizabeth I. This research has been undertaken as part of the project, Making Art in Tudor Britain project.

In focus - Elizabeth I with hidden serpent
In focus - Elizabeth I 'Darnley portrait'
In focus - Elizabeth in her early years and a posthumous portrait

Find out more about Making Art in Tudor Britain