Sir Francis Drake
1 portrait on display in Room 2 at the National Portrait Gallery
Sir Francis Drake
by Unknown artist
oil on panel, circa 1581
71 3/8 in. x 44 1/2 in. (1813 mm x 1130 mm)
Click on the links below to find out more:
Sitterback to top
- Sir Francis Drake (1540-1596), Admiral and circumnavigator. Sitter associated with 38 portraits.
This portraitback to top
The public clamoured for Drake's likeness. The demand was met in court circles by grandiose full-length portraits such as this one. Drake is fashionably dressed in a satin doublet with slashed sleeves and brilliant red jerkin and hose. The crest above his coat of arms shows the hand of God leading his ship, the Golden Hind. Technical analysis shows that the head and upper body were painted on a single board which was later extended. The painting of the tiled floor was designed to imitate marble.
Linked publicationsback to top
- I-Spy National Portrait Gallery, 2010, p. 8
- Audio Guide
- 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. 129
- Clare Gittings, The National Portrait Gallery Book of Elizabeth I, 2006, p. 21
- Cooper, John, A Guide to the National Portrait Gallery, 2009, p. 13
- Cooper, John, Visitor's Guide, 2000, p. 25
- John Cooper, National Portrait Gallery Visitor's Guide, 2006, p. 25
- Ribeiro, Aileen, The Gallery of Fashion, 2000, p. 48
- Ribeiro, Aileen; Blackman, Cally, A Portrait of Fashion: Six Centuries of Dress at the National Portrait Gallery, 2015, p. 61
- Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 186
- Schama, Simon, The Face of Britain: The Nation Through its Portraits, 2015-09-15, p. 257
- Strong, Roy, Tudor and Jacobean Portraits, 1969, p. 69
Linked displays and exhibitionsback to top
- Face of Britain: Fame (14 September 2015 - 4 January 2016)
Subjects & Themesback to top
Events of 1581back to top
Current affairsSir Francis Drake is knighted on board his ship the Golden Hind.
The heir to the French crown, François, Duke of Anjou comes to England to finalise marriage negotiations with Elizabeth I. He returns home unsuccessful the following year.
Parliament passes legislation against Catholicism.
The Jesuit missionary Edmund Campion is executed for treason.
Art and scienceThe mathematician Norman Robert publishes a pioneering study of magnetism The Newe Attractive
The first ballet Ballet Comique de la Reine by Balthasar de Beaujoyeulx is performed in Paris.
InternationalThe Oath of Abjuration - the seven northern, Protestant provinces of the Netherlands formally renounce their allegiance to Philip II of Spain and become an independent republic, the United Provinces .
Stephen Báthory of Poland invades Russia as part of the Livonian war.
Akbar, Mughal Emperor of India, conquers Kabul (in present-day Afghanistan).
Arjan Dev becomes the fifth of the ten Sikh Gurus.
See this portrait
On display in Room 2 at the National Portrait Gallery
Exhibitions and displays
- Life, Death and Memory
Until 4 February 2018
- Portrait of the Day: Henry VIII & Katherine of Aragon
17 December, 12:30
Tell us more
Help us conserve a portrait of a female adventurer, poet and medical pioneer