Queen Elizabeth I of England, by an unknown artist

Portrait of Queen Elizabeth I of England (r. 1558-1603), by an unknown artist. Portrait of Queen Elizabeth I of England (r. 1558-1603), by an unknown artist. Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2015, acc. no. RCIN 403451

A painting by an unknown artist shows Queen Elizabeth I of England wearing a beautiful gold embroidered dress. The painting dates from between c. 1580-1603. It shows the queen towards the end of her life. She is wearing a richly bejewelled gown, headdress and veil. In her hand she has the badge of the Order of the Garter (also known as 'the Lesser George'), which is suspended from a blue ribbon.

The queen’s gown is in an off-white material, probably silk. The front of the queen’s gown is decorated with long slits on the bodice and upper sleeves. These slits are finished with black and white embroidery of some kind and then flanked by a flat gold band with applied spangles.

On either side of the gown's front opening there is a long band of gold thread embroidery. The band is outlined using a thick gold cord (S-spun). The embroidery between the bands takes the form of stylised flowers, notably Tudor roses, fleurs de lies and pomegranates (?), all connected by a trail of stylised leaves. All of these floral motifs are in a raised (padded) gold thread technique, probably using short lengths of purl of some kind. In addition to the slits and embroidery, large jewels in gold mounts were sewn to the ground material. The white collar ruff and hand ruffs are decorated with a fine, narrow band of lace, but the exact nature of the lace is not clear.

The queen’s head covering is decorated with a trellis work created from what appear to be long, narrow lengths of fine silk cloth, which are caught at the intersections of the trellis with pearls set in gold mounts.

The painting was first definitively recorded in the Royal Collection at Kensington Palace in 1818. It is now in the Royal Collection, London, acc. no. RCIN 403451.

See also: Elizabeth I of England, by Nicholas Hilliard.

Royal Collection online catalogue (retrieved 14 August 2016).



Last modified on Sunday, 22 January 2017 17:05