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Elizabeth I

Hardwick portrait

US$5,000 excl. shipping

Taken from the portrait by Nicholas Hilliard, circa 1592. This remarkable portrait of Elizabeth I (1533–1603) wearing a dress decorated with land and sea creatures appears to have been acquired by Elizabeth Talbot (‘Bess of Hardwick’), Countess of Shrewsbury and was almost certainly on display at Hardwick Hall in the Queen’s lifetime.


It concurs with others painted after 1588, in which the Queen is characterised by a rigid and hieratic expression and depicted almost as an impersonal image. It is thought that it was Bess herself who masterminded the design of the embroidery on the Queen’s dress, and possibly worked on it herself, intending it to be a spectacular New Year’s Day gift to the Queen. It is typical of the extravagant and sometimes bizarre late-Elizabethan style of embroidery which mixed together all manner of motifs taken from the natural world. A variety of flowers, including roses, irises and pansies, are interspersed with a lively depiction of insects, animals and fish.

Standing 84cm (33in) tall, this is a 'one of a kind' original.  All moulds have been destroyed. Both the dress and period underclothes can be removed so the doll can be dressed and undressed.

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