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Mary, Queen of Scots

9 of 151 portraits of Mary, Queen of Scots

© National Portrait Gallery, London

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Mary, Queen of Scots

after Cornelius and William Cure
plaster cast of head, 1870, based on a work of 1606-1616
11 in. (279 mm) high
Acquired, 1870
Primary Collection
NPG 307b

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Commissioned by the Gallery in the late nineteenth century as an aid to the study of portraiture. This cast is taken from Mary, Queen of Scots' effigy in Westminster Abbey. The likeness portrayed in her tomb effigy derives from a version of her painted portrait, such as NPG 429, because it was the best image from which the sculptors could work when making the tomb monument many years after her death. It is likely that the original source was a miniature by Nicholas Hilliard, which was made during her imprisonment in England. The Italian mould maker, Domenico Brucciani, took plaster casts that were then made into electrotypes by the Birmingham firm Elkington & Co. The process used an electric current to deposit metal onto a mould made from the cast, which made an exact copy of the original sculpture.

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  • NPG 307: Mary, Queen of Scots (metal cast)

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Current affairs

The Lord Chief Justice Sir John Popham sentences Guy Fawkes to be hanged, drawn and quartered in the Old Palace Yard opposite Parliament.
Creation of a union flag of England and Scotland prompts complaints from Scottish shipowners that the St. George cross obscures the saltire of St. Andrew.

Art and science

The Stationers' Company Register, which allowed publishers to register their rights to produce printed works, notes a performance of William Shakespeare's tragedy King Lear, possibly the play's first appearance.
Benjamin Johnson comic masterpiece, Volpone, premiers at the Globe Theatre.


Three ships belonging to The London Company set sail from London, to establish colonial settlements in North America. Richard Bancroft, Archbishop of Canterbury, enlists Robert Hunt as chaplain for the expedition. Hunt probably conducted the first known holy communion service in North America.

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