Queen Elizabeth I

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Queen Elizabeth I

by Unknown artist
oil on panel, 1585-1590
37 1/2 in. x 32 1/4 in. (953 mm x 819 mm)
Given by wish of Sir Aston Webb, 1930
Primary Collection
NPG 2471

Sitterback to top

  • Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603), Reigned 1558-1603. Sitter associated with 136 portraits.

Artistback to top

  • Unknown artist, Artist. Artist or producer associated with 6578 portraits.

This portraitback to top

This portrait was not the result of a sitting from the life but instead reverses a version of the face pattern found in the 'Darnley' portrait. The portrait is one of a group, which together provide evidence of the increased demand for the queen's image at the time of hostilities against the Spanish.

Linked publicationsback to top

Linked displays and exhibitionsback to top

Events of 1585back to top

Current affairs

Anglo-Dutch treaty of alliance against Spain is signed at Nonsuch Palace.
Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester arrives in the Netherlands with 7,000 soldiers to fight for the Dutch Protestant cause and is appointed Governor-General of the Netherlands.
An expedition, funded by Sir Walter Ralegh and led by his cousin, Sir Richard Grenville, establishes an ill-fated colony on Roanoke Island. The area is named Virginia after Queen Elizabeth I.

Art and science

Miniature of Sir Walter Ralegh is painted by Nicholas Hilliard at about this time.
The publisher Robert Waldegrave is imprisoned for printing Puritan books.
The explorer John Davis discovers the strait named after him between Greenland and Canada while searching for the Northwest Passage to the Far East.


Henry III of France bows to pressure from the militant Catholic Henry, Duke of Guise to sign the Treaty of Nemours, which revokes all toleration of Huguenots. Opposition to the legal heir to the crown, the Protestant Henry of Navarre provokes the final French War of Religion.
Sack of Antwerp by Alessandro Farnese, Duke of Parma, the Hapsburg Governor of the Netherlands. The city's pre-eminence as a centre of international commerce is lost to Amsterdam.

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