Queens and Consorts: Likeness in Life and Death

Past display archive
12 June 2013 - 2 March 2014

Room 3


Queen Elizabeth I
by Elkington & Co, cast by Domenico Brucciani, after Maximilian Colte
1873, based on a work of circa 1605-1607
NPG 357

Sculptural tomb effigies offer a fascinating comparative to painted portraits. This display focuses on a small selection of portraits of sixteenth-century queens and consorts, pairing copies of the sculpted effigies from the royal tombs in Westminster Abbey with painted portraits, in order to explore the process of exchange that occurred between the images that represent the sitters in life and those that memorialise them in death.

This comparison can be explored in the Gallery through the display of electrotype copies of the effigies. These were made by the Birmingham firm of Elkington & Co. in the late nineteenth century, and were based on plaster cast moulds taken by Domenico Brucciani. For example, the electrotype copy of Maximilian Colte’s effigy of Elizabeth I can be compared both with a portrait of her as a young queen, and with the magnificent image presented in the ‘Ditchley’ portrait by Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger.

© National Portrait Gallery, London