Armada Portrait of Elizabeth I

10 August 2016

The iconic Renaissance portrait of Elizabeth I has been saved for the nation with a £7.4m Heritage Lottery Fund grant and thousands of public donations. The portrait, possibly commissioned by Sir Francis Drake, but certainly owned by his descendants, was painted when the queen was in her fifties and commemorates the failed invasion of England by the Spanish Armada in 1588. The conflict is depicted in the background of painting with illustrations of the English fleet engaging the Armada in the Channel and Spanish ships being wrecked on the Irish Coast. Her hand on a globe with a finger indicating the New World clearly indicates her imperial ambitions.


The portrait will hang in the Queen’s Palace, which is the site of the original Greenwich Palace, where Elizabeth I was born.