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An intimate and minute portrait of Queen Elizabeth I (1553-1603)


Wearing a dark coloured dress and fine high lace ruff, a gold and jewelled crown in her upswept hair, blue background with gold border
set in the original gilded frame with pierced spiral cresting

According to Hilliard himself, Elizabeth wanted her portraits painted in an almost shadow less style. Many of the Queen's portraits are not so much likenesses as symbolic representations of the monarch, emphasising her rich costumes and jewellery.

However, in this instance the portrait does not concentrate upon any symbolic representation of the monarch but instead it is a powerful representation of the Queen's face alone. Whilst she is shown wearing a few gold jewels in her hair, Hilliard does not depict any other richness of costume or jewellery in this image. This would suggest that the purposes of this miniature was to present it to someone dear to her, close to her heart, someone who did not need to be reminded of her powerful state but more importantly someone to whom she wanted to share a token of affection for.

The size of the portrait, being only 2.6 cm high, reminds one that this portrait would have been commissioned to be worn - perhaps on a ribbon around the neck, or even as a ring, again this suggests that the portrait was an intimate and true likeness of the Queen rather than a shadow less representation of a Monarch.

Apart from minor flecks missing from the ruff and spot missing from the border above the sitter's head, this miniature is in remarkable condition for its. age.
More Information
Year                 Circa 1586/87
Literature                 The Comerford Collection: Portrait Miniatures (Dublin, privately published, 2009), pp 7, 25 (# 70) 67 (sitter # 22).
Exhibition                 Comerford Collection at the Irish Architectural Archives in Dublin, in 2009.
Condition                 Minor flecks missing from the ruff and spot missing from the border above the sitter's head.
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