Title: Portrait of Queen Elizabeth I
Date: between about 1573 and 1575
Artist: Nicholas Hilliard
Date of birth:
Nationality: British: English
Date of death:
Materials: Oil; Cloth
Information: In this portrait of the queen, aged about 41, she is treated almost like a religious icon. Elaborate symbolism and rich detail show off her status and royal qualities. Her figure is stylised and her face mask-like. She is shown against a flat background with little attempt to convey spatial depth.
The mother pelican on her brooch is a traditional Christian symbol of Christ's sacrifice. It was believed that the pelican fed her young with her own blood. Here such a symbol refers to Elizabeth's role as a mother to her people.
Hilliard was miniature painter to Elizabeth I (a style also known as 'limning'). This work relates closely to his miniature portrait of 1572 but might be by a follower using Hilliard's designs.
Accession no: WAG 2994
Credit line: Presented to the Walker Art Gallery by Alderman E Peter Voues in 1945
Location: Walker Art Gallery, on display