Elizabeth I (1533-1603) (the 'Armada Portrait')

Image credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London

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The 'Armada Portrait' of Queen Elizabeth I, three-quarter-length, in a richly gold-embroidered and jewelled dress, her left hand holding a feathered fan, her right resting on a terrestrial globe, an imperial covered crown on the table beside her, with two views of the sea beyond: on the left, the English fleet with the approaching Spanish Armada; on the right, the Armada wrecked by storms on the (mainly Irish) coast. The contrast between calm and storm is a metaphor for the good Protestant government of Elizabeth's England and the despotic Catholic rule of Philip II's Spain.

National Maritime Museum



Elizabeth I (1533-1603) (the 'Armada Portrait')




oil on oak panel


H 112.5 x W 127 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

acquired with the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund, Art Fund, Linbury Trust, Garfield Weston Foundation, Headley Trust and other major donors, together with contributions from over 8,000 members of the public following a joint appeal with Art Fund

Work type



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