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The daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, Elizabeth came to the throne on the death of her half-sister, Mary I. Her long reign, beginning in 1558, saw the secure establishment of the Church of England. It was characterised by relative peace and prosperity, a great increase in foreign trade and exploration, and a flourishing literary culture. Despite receiving many proposals of marriage, Elizabeth remained single and became legendary as the 'virgin queen'.
oil on panel
H 97.8 x W 72.4 cm
Transferred from the British Museum, 1879. On long-term loan to Montacute House, Somerset