Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603) Reigned 1558-1603

British 16th century unknown

Oil on panel

  • About the work
    Country: Portugal
    City: Lisbon
    Place: British Embassy

    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.

    Daughter of Henry VIII and his second wife, Anne Boleyn, the Protestant Queen Elizabeth I succeeded her Catholic sister Mary I to reign for 44 years, during which time England attained a powerful position on the world’s stage.

    This mass-produced image is thought to be based on a three-quarter length portrait of the Queen by Antwerp painter Quentin Massys the Younger (c.1543-1589), now in the Pinacoteca Nazionale, Siena. Known as the ‘Sieve’ portrait, Massys’ painting shows the Queen holding a sieve: a symbol of chastity. The Sieve portrait may in turn be related to a full-length portrait of the Queen painted by Roman Mannerist painter Federico Zuccaro (c.1541-1609) on his visit to England in 1575, for which a study drawing survives in the British Museum.

    This work is probably the product of a relatively humble workshop. It was made using a standard face pattern, derived from the Sieve portrait, which was transferred to the prepared panel by means of a cut-out stencil.

  • Explore
    Elizabeth I
    Materials & Techniques
    panel, oil, oil painting
  • Details
    Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603) Reigned 1558-1603
    Oil on panel
    height: 55.00 cm, width: 43.50 cm
    Purchased from Christie's, 9 July 1948
    Collection of Sir George Wombwell; by descent to Captain V. M. Wombell of Newburgh Priory, Coxwold, Yorkshire; by whom sold through Christie’s, London, on 9 July 1948 (Lot 22), as ‘attributed to Gheeraedts’; from which sale purchased by ‘Hawes’ on behalf of the Office of Works
    GAC number