Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603) Reigned 1558-1603
About the work
Interpretation about this artwork is under review
The Government Art Collection recognises its responsibility to artists, colleagues and all our audiences to represent the diversity of the UK and to embed anti-racist and equitable practices throughout our work. We are taking action to address inequality in the Collection and its interpretation.
This portrait of Queen Elizabeth I is one of the so-called ‘Ditchley’ pattern portraits. It is was painted after a larger, more elaborate portrait, once in the collection at Ditchley House in Oxfordshire and now at the National Portrait Gallery, London, painted by Marcus Gheeraert the younger. Ditchley House was the home of Sir Henry Lee (1533-1611), responsible for the supply of munitions and equipment to the army and navy as Master of the Armoury under Queen Elizabeth I. Lee was a regular patron of Gheeraert the Younger and commissioned the work on which this painting is based. There are several ‘Ditchley’ pattern portraits of Elizabeth I. Others are in the collections at Blickling Hall, Norfolk; the Pitti Palace, Florence; and Burghley House in Lincolnshire.
About the artist
Marcus Gheeraerts the younger was born in Bruges and brought to England by his father, painter Marcus Gheeraerts the Elder, in 1568. He married Magdalena de Critz, sister of painter John de Critz and from c.1590 onwards, under the patronage of Sir Henry Lee, became the most fashionable portrait painter of the day. The Queen sat to him in c.1592, as did her favourite Robert Devereux, Second Earl of Essex, in c.1596. Gheeraerts also became the favourite painter of the subsequent Queen, Anne of Denmark and was receiving commissions from those within the court circle until c.1615-20. However, the painter’s career suffered with the arrival of younger artists from abroad such as Paul van Somer and Daniel Mytens.
- Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603) Reigned 1558-1603
- Oil on panel
- height: 112.50 cm, width: 89.00 cm
- Purchased from Mr George Iain Murray (later 10th Duke of Atholl), April 1957
- Collection of the Duke of Atholl at Dunkeld until 1844; Blair Castle; collection of George Iain Murray (later 10th Duke of Atholl), from whom purchased by the Ministry of Works in 1957
- GAC number