The Armada Portrait of Elizabeth I
The iconic Armada portrait of Elizabeth I commemorates the most famous conflict of her reign and the failed invasion of England by the Spanish Armada in summer 1588. One of the definitive representations of the English Renaissance, encapsulating the creativity, ideals and ambitions of the Elizabethan era, it is amongst the most famous images of British history.
Painted when Elizabeth was in her late 50s, the Armada Portrait is among the greatest of contemporary eulogies to this celebrated queen. The figure of the queen dominates the picture, shown three-quarter length, in a rich gold-embroidered and jewelled dress, as the epitome of regal magnificence, her right hand resting on a globe showing the Americas, an imperial covered crown on the table behind, a fan made of ostrich feathers in her left hand, and beside her a throne. The two seascapes in the background show on the left the English fleet in calm waters with the approaching Spanish Armada, and on the right the Armada ships wrecked on the Irish coast in a storm. The theme of the painting is the defence of the realm, personified by the queen; in her most famous speech to the troops at Tilbury she declared that while she had 'the body of a weak and feeble woman', she had 'the heart and stomach of a king'.
The painting is on permanent public display in the Queen's Presence Chamber in the Queen's House, on the site of the original Greenwich Palace, which was the birthplace of Elizabeth I.
Artist: English School
Date :circa 1588
Shop for sumptuous gifts inspired by the British Kings and Queens, from the Tudors to Windsors. Discover engaging books full of insightful facts about the monarchs who have shaped 500 years of British history.
Tudors to Windsors: Royal British Portraits will be at the National Maritime Museum from 28 May - 31 Oct 2021. It will feature works by some of the most important artists to have worked in Britain, from court painters Sir Peter Lely and Sir Godfrey Kneller to photographers Cecil Beaton and Annie Leibovitz and artists such as Andy Warhol.
+ Read more - Show less