Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Request to view at the Prints & Drawings Study Room, level C , Case MB2A, Shelf DR84

Queen Elizabeth I

Engraving
1592 (printed)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Object Type
This is a type of print called an engraving. It is one of a series of engravings of the Queen commissioned by Hans Woutneel, a book and printseller from The Netherlands who settled in London in 1592. The model for the image of the Queen in this print was taken from a portrait 'pattern' in miniature produced by the miniaturist Isaac Oliver which is now in the V&A. Woutneel possibly commissioned the design from Oliver which was then forwarded to de Passe in the Netherlands to engrave.

People
In 1592 Elizabeth I was nearly sixty when she sat for the portrait on which this print is based. However the portrait was not favoured by the Queen or her government who preferred images that focussed on her iconic status as Queen rather than her mortality as an ageing woman. The succession had not been decided at this time and the government was anxious about the threat of instability after Elizabeth's death.

Ownership & Use
Prints were a more affordable form of image to own than oil paintings or miniatures. Due to the changing political and religious climate in Europe in the 1580s threats to the Queen's safety increased, especially from Spain. People acquired portraits of the Queen to demonstrate their devotion and loyalty.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Engraving
Brief Description
Print, portrait of Queen Elizabeth I, engraving by Crispijn de Passe I, probably after Isaac Oliver, 1592.
Physical Description
Print, portrait of Queen Elizabeth I, half-length, facing slightly left, crowned and holding an orb and sceptre, with the crowned arms of England in the upper right corner.
Dimensions
  • Height: 18.1cm (cut)
  • Width: 12.4cm (cut)
Dimensions checked: Measured; 03/03/1999 by sp
Marks and Inscriptions
  • 'Elisabet D.G. Ang. Fran. Hib. Et Verg. Regina Fidei Christianae Propugnatrix Acerrima / Tristia dum gentes circum omnes bella fatigant Caecique errores toto grassantur in Orbe, Pace bneas longa, vera et pietate Britannos Justitiae, moderans sapienter habenas O Flors labe carens fidei santisima cultrix Char domi, celebrisque foris, spectatae Diuis Lux pietate nitens, tua virtus et inclyta fact Sic faciant tandem te Caelica Regna videre.' (Lettered below with verse)
  • 'Anglorum diadema tenens sceptrumque paternu Hac forma Insigni fortis Elisa nitet / 'Posui Deum Adjutorem Meum / Honoris ipsius causa aeri incidebat Crispianus Passaeus Belga.' (Lettered with title, engraver's name etc.)
Gallery Label
British Galleries: This print is based on a portrait by the miniature painter Isaac Oliver (about 1558-1617). Although Elizabeth had sat for the portrait, she disapproved of his emphasis on her ageing face. Elizabeth's government attempted to suppress such realistic images, because they undermined the myth of an ageless queen.(27/03/2003)
Credit line
Given by Edgar Seligman
Production
This portrait is probably based on a miniature by Isaac Oliver. An unfinished miniature by Oliver with the same facial types is in the Department of Paintings, P.9-1940.
Subjects depicted
Summary
Object Type
This is a type of print called an engraving. It is one of a series of engravings of the Queen commissioned by Hans Woutneel, a book and printseller from The Netherlands who settled in London in 1592. The model for the image of the Queen in this print was taken from a portrait 'pattern' in miniature produced by the miniaturist Isaac Oliver which is now in the V&A. Woutneel possibly commissioned the design from Oliver which was then forwarded to de Passe in the Netherlands to engrave.

People
In 1592 Elizabeth I was nearly sixty when she sat for the portrait on which this print is based. However the portrait was not favoured by the Queen or her government who preferred images that focussed on her iconic status as Queen rather than her mortality as an ageing woman. The succession had not been decided at this time and the government was anxious about the threat of instability after Elizabeth's death.

Ownership & Use
Prints were a more affordable form of image to own than oil paintings or miniatures. Due to the changing political and religious climate in Europe in the 1580s threats to the Queen's safety increased, especially from Spain. People acquired portraits of the Queen to demonstrate their devotion and loyalty.
Associated Object
E.3001-1960 (Version)
Bibliographic References
  • Franken, Daniel. L’Oeuvre grave des Van De Passe. Amsterdam and Paris: F. Muller & Co., 1881.
  • O'Donoghue, Freeman. British Museum: Catalogue of Engraved British Portraits. London: Printed by order of the Trustees, 1908-25.
  • Hind, Arthur Mayger. Engraving in England in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries. London: Cambridge University Press, 1952-5, 3 v.
  • Hollstein, F. W. H. Dutch and Flemish Etchings, Engravings and Woodcuts ca. 1450-1700. Amsterdam: M. Hertzberger, 1949.
  • Strong, Roy. Portraits of Queen Elizabeth I. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1963. xiv, 173 p. illus.
  • O’Donoghue, Freeman M. A Descriptive and Classified Catalogue of Portraits of Queen Elizabeth I. London: B. Quartich, 1894.
  • Victoria and Albert Museum Department of Prints and Drawings and Department of Paintings, Accessions 1960: Volume 2, Edgar Seligman Gift. London: HMSO, 1966.
Collection
Accession Number
E.3000-1960

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record createdMarch 27, 2003
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