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Queen Elizabeth I is depicted holding up the Lesser George, the emblem of the Order of the Garter (the highest English order of chivalry), which is suspended from a blue sash around her neck. Her hair and dress are embellished with jewels and pearls and neat lace ruffs decorate her neck and wrist. This portrait is one of several similar portraits, known as 'Darnley Pattern' portraits after an early version once owned by John Bligh, 1st Earl of Darnley (1687–1728), and now in the National Portrait Gallery. Other versions of the image follow the same basic pattern, although each differs in some respect. In the three-quarter length Darnley portrait, painted from life, Elizabeth holds a fan made of coloured feathers.
Elizabeth I (1533–1603)
oil on panel
H 53.5 x W 42 cm
purchased from John H. Frere, 1951