Thank you to Tudor Life regular contributor, Rioghnach, for asking this question:
“Claire’s most recent chat on the subject of smallpox during the Tudor era has piqued my curiosity.
Elizabeth’s portraits always make her skin look flawless. Obviously, this was not the case, but I can understand why her painters used tact and diplomacy in their works. Does anyone actually know for certain, what Elizabeth actually looked like under the layers of white lead etc?”
Although there are many portraits of Elizabeth I painted in her lifetime, it is impossible to use them as evidence of what the queen really looked like, particularly towards the end of her reign, because portraits of a monarch at this time were not meant to be accurate representations, they were propaganda.
Elizabeth was twenty-five when she came to the throne in November 1558 and she ruled until March 1603, when she was sixty-nine, but let’s have a look at some of the portraits painted late in her reign, when she covered her greying and thinning hair with wigs and used layers of ceruse to make her “mask of youth”.
Thank you so much to Waddeson Manor for sharing this news with us. There will be details and images in the June edition of Tudor Life magazine, but I wanted to alert you to this exciting news and give you advance warning of this special tour and exhibition at Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire.
Tudor Society art historian Melanie V. Taylor has written a very detailed article on the Tyrwhitt Drake Armada Portrait that has been in the news recently due to the campaign that has been launched to save it and to put it on public display at Greenwich. Please do consider helping the campaign to save this piece of history, it would be so sad if it ended up leaving the UK or being hidden in a private collection somewhere.
In this week’s Claire Chats, I talk about the famous Elizabeth I Armada Portrait and the campaign to save the Tyrwhitt-Drake version of it.
In my Claire Chats video a couple of weeks ago I talked about pets and animals in Tudor paintings so just had to share this article by Christina Hartweg:
The Peace Portrait: The Significance of the Little Dog - http://allthingsrobertdudley.wordpress.com/2014/09/30/the-peace-portrait-the-significance-of-the-little-dog/
What a beautiful painting and an interesting article.