Portraits of a Queen: Elizabeth Tudor

portraits-of-a-queen-elizabeth-tudor

 

Elizabeth Tudor, Queen Elizabeth I of England is by far one of the most recognizable monarchs in history. From birth she was the apple of her father’s eye and expected to be the sister of Henry’s longed for male heir with Anne Boleyn. Unfortunately, two and a half years after her birth, her mother was executed and her father re-married declaring her a bastard.

The birth of Elizabeth on 7 September 1533 was a bitter disappointment to Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, who had desperately wanted a son. Nonetheless, until she was two and a half years old the baby enjoyed the title of’princes’ and lived in her own household, where she had precedence over her half-sister Mary. In 1536, however, Elizabeth’s bastardization and demotion followed Anne’s execution. The next year, Elizabeth joined the household of her newborn half-brother Edward, where she remained, except for short visits to court, until Henry died. In 1544, she and Mary were restored to the succession although the taint of bastardy was not removed.” – The Tudor Chronicle 1485-1603, by Susan Doran

Elizabeth had many portraits made of her during her long reign – here are just a few that I was able to gather, in no particular order:



associated with Nicholas Hilliard, oil on panel, circa 1575
associated with Nicholas Hilliard, oil on panel, circa 1575

 

Zuccaro, Federico; Elizabeth I (1533-1603); Historic Environment Scotland; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/elizabeth-i-15331603-183147
Zuccaro, Federico; Elizabeth I (1533-1603); Historic Environment Scotland; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/elizabeth-i-15331603-183147

 

British (English) School; Elizabeth I (1533-1603); National Trust, Plas Newydd; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/elizabeth-i-15331603-102141
British (English) School; Elizabeth I (1533-1603); National Trust, Plas Newydd; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/elizabeth-i-15331603-102141

 

British School; Elizabeth I (1533-1603); St John's College, University of Cambridge; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/elizabeth-i-15331603-139308
British School; Elizabeth I (1533-1603); St John’s College, University of Cambridge; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/elizabeth-i-15331603-139308



by unknown artist circa 1560; © National Portrait Gallery, London

 

British (English) School; Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603); Compton Verney; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/queen-elizabeth-i-15331603-54706
British (English) School; Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603); Compton Verney; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/queen-elizabeth-i-15331603-54706

 

Zuccaro, Federico; Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603); Warwick Shire Hall; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/queen-elizabeth-i-15331603-55625
Zuccaro, Federico; Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603); Warwick Shire Hall; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/queen-elizabeth-i-15331603-55625

 

de Heere, Lucas; Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603); Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, Civic Collection; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/queen-elizabeth-i-15331603-27485
de Heere, Lucas; Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603); Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, Civic Collection; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/queen-elizabeth-i-15331603-27485

 

British (English) School; Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603); The Richmond Collection; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/queen-elizabeth-i-15331603-10101
British (English) School; Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603); The Richmond Collection; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/queen-elizabeth-i-15331603-10101



British (English) School; Elizabeth I (1533-1603), with a Miniature Sieve; National Trust, Charlecote Park; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/elizabeth-i-15331603-with-a-miniature-sieve-130221
British (English) School; Elizabeth I (1533-1603), with a Miniature Sieve; National Trust, Charlecote Park; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/elizabeth-i-15331603-with-a-miniature-sieve-130221

 

unknown artist; Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603) and the Cardinal and Theological Virtues; Dover Collections; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/queen-elizabeth-i-15331603-and-the-cardinal-and-theological-virtues-76166
unknown artist; Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603) and the Cardinal and Theological Virtues; Dover Collections; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/queen-elizabeth-i-15331603-and-the-cardinal-and-theological-virtues-76166

 

Elizabeth c. age 13 NPG, London
Elizabeth c. age 13 NPG, London

 

rainbow
The Rainbow Portrait. Attributed to Isaac Oliver

 

elizahever
Painted by John Bettes the Younger

 

elizasieve
“The Sieve Portrait”.

 

British School; Elizabeth I (1533-1603); Government Art Collection; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/elizabeth-i-15331603-27816
British School; Elizabeth I (1533-1603); Government Art Collection; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/elizabeth-i-15331603-27816

 

British (English) School; Elizabeth I (1533-1603); Queens' College, University of Cambridge; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/elizabeth-i-15331603-194553
British (English) School; Elizabeth I (1533-1603); Queens’ College, University of Cambridge; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/elizabeth-i-15331603-194553

 

British (English) School; Elizabeth I (1533-1603); National Trust, Westwood Manor; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/elizabeth-i-15331603-99998
British (English) School; Elizabeth I (1533-1603); National Trust, Westwood Manor; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/elizabeth-i-15331603-99998

 

Sonmans, Wilhelm; Elizabeth I (1533-1603); Bodleian Libraries; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/elizabeth-i-15331603-228661
Sonmans, Wilhelm; Elizabeth I (1533-1603); Bodleian Libraries; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/elizabeth-i-15331603-228661

 

Faithorne, William; Elizabeth I (1533-1603); National Trust, Croft Castle; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/elizabeth-i-15331603-131617
Faithorne, William; Elizabeth I (1533-1603); National Trust, Croft Castle; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/elizabeth-i-15331603-131617

 

Hilliard, Nicholas; Elizabeth I (1533-1603); Jesus College, University of Oxford; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/elizabeth-i-15331603-222125
Hilliard, Nicholas; Elizabeth I (1533-1603); Jesus College, University of Oxford; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/elizabeth-i-15331603-222125

 

unknown artist; Elizabeth I (1533-1603); Jesus College, University of Oxford; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/elizabeth-i-15331603-222147
unknown artist; Elizabeth I (1533-1603); Jesus College, University of Oxford; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/elizabeth-i-15331603-222147

 

Riehe; Elizabeth I (1533-1603); Hull Guildhall; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/elizabeth-i-15331603-79974
Riehe; Elizabeth I (1533-1603); Hull Guildhall; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/elizabeth-i-15331603-79974

 

patternmin
A pattern miniature by Isaac Oliver from about 1592

 

Zuccari, Taddeo; Elizabeth I (1533-1603); Plymouth City Council: Museum and Art Gallery; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/elizabeth-i-15331603-148253
Zuccari, Taddeo; Elizabeth I (1533-1603); Plymouth City Council: Museum and Art Gallery; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/elizabeth-i-15331603-148253

 

Hilliard, Nicholas; Elizabeth I (1533-1603); National Trust, Hardwick Hall; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/elizabeth-i-15331603-172271
Hilliard, Nicholas; Elizabeth I (1533-1603); National Trust, Hardwick Hall; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/elizabeth-i-15331603-172271

 

The Hampden Portrait of Elizabeth I, by Van Der Meulen, 1560s
The Hampden Portrait of Elizabeth I, by Van Der Meulen, 1560s

 

elizamin
Miniature of Elizabeth by Nicholas Hilliard. Case set with diamonds

 

armadalarge
Armada Portrait.

 

ermine
The Ermine Portrait”. Painted in 1585 by Nicholas Hilliard

 

pelican
“The Pelican Portrait” c. 1575-1580. Attributed to Nicholas Hilliard

 

by Unknown artist, oil on panel, late 17th century or later
by Unknown artist, oil on panel, late 17th century or later

 

Burghley House Collection, Lincolnshire, UK
Burghley House Collection, Lincolnshire, UK

 

by Unknown artist, oil on panel, late 16th - early 17th century (circa 1559)
by Unknown artist, oil on panel, late 16th – early 17th century (circa 1559)

 

by Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, oil on canvas, circa 1592
by Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, oil on canvas, circa 1592

 

by Unknown artist, oil on panel, circa 1575
by Unknown artist, oil on panel, circa 1575

 

contemporary portrait now in Westminster School
contemporary portrait now in Westminster School
by Nicholas Hilliard, watercolour on vellum, 1572
by Nicholas Hilliard, watercolour on vellum, 1572

 

Nicholas Hilliard (c. 1547–1619)

 

by Unknown artist, pencil and watercolour, circa 1595
by Unknown artist, pencil and watercolour, circa 1595

 

attributed to George Gower, oil on panel, circa 1588
attributed to George Gower, oil on panel, circa 1588

 

Unknown artist, circa 1620
Unknown artist, circa 1620

 

by Unknown artist, oil on panel, circa 1585-1590
by Unknown artist, oil on panel, circa 1585-1590

 

by Unknown artist, oil on panel, 1580-1590
by Unknown artist, oil on panel, 1580-1590

 

Portrait of Queen Elizabeth I, the ‘Drewe Portrait’, late 1580s. 1580s /George Gower, Attributed to d.1596

 

about 1575 at Reading Museum
about 1575 at Reading Museum

 

Burchett, Richard; Elizabeth (Elizabeth I); Parliamentary Art Collection; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/elizabeth-elizabeth-i-213756
Burchett, Richard; Elizabeth (Elizabeth I); Parliamentary Art Collection; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/elizabeth-elizabeth-i-213756

 

British School; Elizabeth I (1533-1603); Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/elizabeth-i-15331603-161682
British School; Elizabeth I (1533-1603); Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/elizabeth-i-15331603-161682

 

unknown artist; Elizabeth I (1533-1603); Old Schools, University of Cambridge; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/elizabeth-i-15331603-195458
unknown artist; Elizabeth I (1533-1603); Old Schools, University of Cambridge; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/elizabeth-i-15331603-195458

 

unknown artist; Elizabeth I (1533-1603); Christ Church, University of Oxford; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/elizabeth-i-15331603-228975
unknown artist; Elizabeth I (1533-1603); Christ Church, University of Oxford; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/elizabeth-i-15331603-228975

 

British School; Elizabeth I (1533-1603); National Maritime Museum; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/elizabeth-i-15331603-172711
British School; Elizabeth I (1533-1603); National Maritime Museum; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/elizabeth-i-15331603-172711

 

unknown artist; Elizabeth I (1533-1603); Christ Church, University of Oxford; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/elizabeth-i-15331603-229064
unknown artist; Elizabeth I (1533-1603); Christ Church, University of Oxford; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/elizabeth-i-15331603-229064

 

Hilliard, Nicholas; Elizabeth I (1533-1603); National Trust, Anglesey Abbey; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/elizabeth-i-15331603-169943
Hilliard, Nicholas; Elizabeth I (1533-1603); National Trust, Anglesey Abbey; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/elizabeth-i-15331603-169943

 

British (English) School; Elizabeth I (1533-1603); Magdalen College, University of Oxford; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/elizabeth-i-15331603-222443
British (English) School; Elizabeth I (1533-1603); Magdalen College, University of Oxford; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/elizabeth-i-15331603-222443

 

British School; Elizabeth I (1533-1603); Government Art Collection; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/elizabeth-i-15331603-27777
British School; Elizabeth I (1533-1603); Government Art Collection; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/elizabeth-i-15331603-27777


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11 thoughts on “Portraits of a Queen: Elizabeth Tudor

  1. Roy Strong published Portraits of Q E I in 1963 then an updated version in 1987. Other paintings have since then resurfaced. I have been collecting images of Elizabeth I for nearly 50 years and as a portrait painter see things differently to other scholars. She definitely sat for at least 3 or 4 portraits, Hilliard recorded painting his miniature now in the NPG, the phoenix, pelican and Rothschild portraits are derivations of that sitting. She sat for Isaac Oliver at the end of her life, the miniature is in the V&A, she also sat for the drawing by Zucharo and probably for one of the Arbury hall type paintings. At one point there was a decree that all bad paintings of her had to be destroyed, and they were to follow a pattern. There are a few patterns throughout her reign. The last is the rainbow Portrait with the the un lined face. But she obviously sat for the Ditchley portrait and all the other’s in that dress are fairly bad copies except the one in the Pitti palace which has the face of the masque of youth and she is wearing many more pearls. This portrait she sent to the Medici family, so I expect more pearls were added to show her wealth. She actually bought over a million imitation pearls, from Portugal. glass beads dipped in fish scale paste. real pearls in that quantity would have sunk her to the floor as they are quite a weight. Official portraits have always been copied , there are 169 versions of Ramseys state portraits of George III and queen Charlotte, and they vary considerably, all will have been done by different artists. My art master painted 5 official copies of the Herbert Gunn’s State portrait of Queen Elizabeth II in the 1950’s. There were over 60 made for embassies etc.

  2. You can have no idea how many years I have been longiing to see that portrait of Elizabeth . from the Cambridge Old Schools ( seventh from the bottom on this page) in colour. You have made me very happy. These are not all the portraits of her, by any means. There must be a couple of hundred of them,of varying quality. Enough are good likenesses, allowing us to trace her image from the wary-eyed teenaged girl to the red-wigged Gloriana.

  3. Loved the paintings. The dresses were stunning. The amount of work at time must have been pain staking. I loved all the shapes of pearls used. I am in awe of it all. She looked very similar in all the painting so it must a true likeness.

    1. I have seen several people state that she did not sit for all those paintings, that her likeness was a copy of one. That would explain why her face looks so similar in the paintings.

      1. So many people wanted portraits of her that instead of sitting for painter after painter she had a face pattern made every few years and distributed. This eliminated the need to sit for endless portraits while at the same time it allowed her to control how the people saw her.

    2. How splendid. Many of the portraits I have not seen before. Some are certainly better executed than others, even to my untrained eye, but marvelous to get an overall
      Indication of her features from them . Also was there a glimpse of her actual hair (rather than a wig) in some?

  4. There is at least one more portrait of Elizabeth I. It was displayed at the US National Portrait Gallery in a special exhibition about 10 years ago. In it, Elizabeth is younger and dressed in black–presumably when her brother, Edward was the king. I believe it was in a private collection and only loaned out for this special exhibit.

  5. Diese Sammlung ist fantastische Darstellung von grossten Majestat der Epoche. Manche Bilder stellen auch echte, reine Menschlichkeit vor, zB unnbekanter Maler , 1620, im Barockcharakter – wir sehen alte Konigin die dachte von Rechnungsleben . Danke fur Idee der Ausstellung.

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