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Trinity House, A military role

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Elizabeth I (1533-1603).
© National Maritime Museum, London
Repro ID: BHC2680
Description: A three-quarter length portrait slightly to the left, seated of Queen Elizabeth I. Wearing a black dress sewn with jewels, Elizabeth also wears a crown set with pearls and a large jewel in her ring. She wears a cape of silk, a large ruff and three rows of pearls and two rows of pearls with precious stones around her waist. Her left hand, with two rings rests on a table covered with a red velvet cloth fringed in gold thread. The sleeves of her white under-dress are thickly sewn with jewels. Elizabeth holds a sceptre in her right hand and, seated on a red throne, she is set against a background of green tiles with a gold decoration. The 45 years of her reign that followed were a period of national resurgence and of maritime adventures and discovery. In this portrait, the importance Elizabeth attached to her public image is expressed in the sumptuous clothes and rich setting, and is emphasized by holding the sceptre as a symbol of office and power. The portrait functions as a regal icon rather than a human portrait, intended primarily to convey a sense of courtly magnificence and authority, telling more about the image cultivated around her, than about her true physical appearance.
Creator: John Bettes the Younger
Date: c.1570
Credit line: National Maritime Museum, London
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National Maritime Museum/Royal Observatory Greenwich New Opportunities Fund National Grid for Learning SeaBritain 2005  
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