The iconic Armada portrait of Elizabeth I commemorates the most famous conflict of her reign – the failed invasion of England by the Spanish Armada in summer 1588.
The painting is on permanent public display in the Queen's Presence Chamber in the Queen’s House, on the site of the original Greenwich Palace, which was the birthplace of Elizabeth I.
- In 2016, the Armada Portrait was acquired for the nation following a joint appeal with the Art Fund.
- Our conservators then undertook essential work to preserve the portrait's fragile painted surfaces which are over 400 years old. See the result and discover more about the conservation story.
- The Armada Portrait summarizes the hopes and aspirations of the state as an imperial power, at a watershed moment in history following the British defeat of the Spanish Armada. What were the causes of the Spanish Armada?
- The portrait was also designed to be a spectacle of female power and majesty, carefully calculated to inspire awe and wonder.
- Like many Tudor portraits, it is packed with meaning and metaphor. Find out more about the painting’s symbolism.
Elizabeth I today
The Armada Portrait of Queen Elizabeth I continues to inspire many different people today. We have been working with creative practitioners who have responded to the painting in their own unique ways.
Five works by contemporary artist Mat Collishaw currently surround the Armada Portrait of Elizabeth I. These photographic works of burning flowers and crushed butterflies encourage us to look at the Armada Portrait in new ways, and in the autumn, the space will host a specially commissioned work by Collishaw inspired by the Armada Portrait.
Performer and writer Christopher Green is bringing his unique approach to interpreting Elizabeth I inspired by the Armada Portrait. Working with a team of expert costume designers and makers led by Bronya Arciszewska and Oliver Cronk, Christopher explores how this magnificent image of Tudor royalty is assembled layer by layer.
See and share photos from his performances using #ArmadaIcon.
— Royal Mus. Greenwich (@RMGreenwich) July 11, 2018
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