Unknown woman, possibly Queen Elizabeth I

1 portrait matching 'npg 2825'

© National Portrait Gallery, London

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Unknown woman, possibly Queen Elizabeth I

by Unknown artist
pencil and watercolour, circa 1595
6 in. x 7 1/4 in. (152 mm x 184 mm)
Purchased, 1936
Primary Collection
NPG 2825

Sitterback to top

  • Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603), Reigned 1558-1603. Sitter associated with 138 portraits.

Artistback to top

  • Unknown artist, Artist. Artist or producer associated with 6577 portraits.

This portraitback to top

It is very difficult to identify the sitter in this drawing with certainty; however, it is possible that it is a late pattern for the face of Elizabeth I as it bears some resemblance to a few surviving portraits.
If it does represent Elizabeth I, it is a unique and important survival of the type of working drawing that would have been made by an artist as a pattern to produce multiple portraits of the queen. It is one of a small group that probably originally came from an artist's workshop.

Linked publicationsback to top

  • Clare Gittings, The National Portrait Gallery Book of Elizabeth I, 2006, p. 19
  • Cooper, Tarnya (introduction) Banville, John (character sketch) Chevalier, Tracy (character sketch) Fellowes, Julian (character sketch) McCall Smith, Alexander (character sketch) Pratchett, Terry (character sketch) Singleton, Sarah (character sketch) Trollope, Joanna (character sketch) Waters, Minette (character sketch), Imagined Lives: Portraits of Unknown People, 2011 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from December 2011 - June 2012), p. 45
  • Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 689
  • Strong, Roy, Tudor and Jacobean Portraits, 1969, p. 107

Linked displays and exhibitionsback to top

Events of 1595back to top

Current affairs

The Nine Years War begins in Ireland. The Earl of Tyrone leads an uprising against the Protestant Queen Elizabeth I. He appeals to the Catholic Philip II of Spain for assistance.
Spanish ships land in Cornwall sparking fears of a new Armada. They burn Penzance and Mousehole but then flee.
The Jesuit poet and Catholic martyr Robert Southwell is executed for treason. His Saint Peter's Complaint and Other Poems is posthumously published.

Art and science

Sir Walter Ralegh sets out on a voyage to Guiana (now Venezuela) to find the mythic land of 'El Dorado' where there was said to be large amounts of gold. His search is unsuccessful.
Sir Francis Drake sails for the West Indies.
William Shakespeare writes Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Night's Dream at about his time.
Portrait of the poet and clergyman John Donne is painted at about this time.

International

Battle of Fontaine-Française- Henry IV of France defeats the Spanish army and the remnants of the French Catholic League under Charles, Duke of Mayenne.
Sigmund Báthory, Prince of Transylvania and Michael the Brave, Prince of Wallachia defeat the Ottoman army at the Guirgevo (in present-day Romania).
Mehmed III succeeds Murad III as Sultan of the Ottoman Empire.

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