Elizabeth I

Elizabeth I

about 1570
Artist
George Gower, 1540-1596
painting
Oil paint on panel
Gift of the Berger Collection Educational Trust
2021.21

George Gower
British, about 1540–1596
Elizabeth I, about 1570
Oil paint on wood panel
Gift of the Berger Collection Educational Trust, 2021.21

This object is currently on view
Dimensions
image height: 20 1/4 in, 51.4350 cm; image width: 16 1/2 in, 41.9100 cm; frame height: 36 1/2 in, 92.71 cm; frame width: 31 3/4 in, 80.645 cm; frame depth: 5 in, 12.7000 cm
Department
European and American Art Before 1900
Collection
European Painting and Sculpture before 1900

Elizabeth I (1533-1603) was the daughter of Henry VIII by his second wife, Anne Boleyn. She was crowned queen in 1558 upon the death of her half-sister, Mary, and reigned nearly forty-five years. This is one of the first likenesses of Elizabeth to portray her as she actually looked. It was painted when the queen was thirty-seven and had just been excommunicated by the Pope. Her sober black velvet dress, so unlike the lavish gowns she wears in portraits of the later 1570s and 1580s, seems to match her austere demeanor. George Gower was named Serjeant Painter to the queen in 1581.

Known Provenance
Probably part of the collection formed by John Rushout, 2nd Baron Northwick (1769–1859); by descent; Northwick Park sale, Christie’s, London, June 25, 1965, lot 4 (as by Hans Eworth); private collection; sale, Sotheby’s, London, April 3, 1996, lot 17 (as attributed to Steven van der Meulen); from which acquired by William M. B. and Bernadette Berger, Denver; Berger Collection Educational Trust; on loan to the Denver Art Museum, TL-16735. Provenance research is on-going at the Denver Art Museum and we will post information as it becomes available. Please e-mail provenance@denverartmuseum.org, if you have questions, or if you have additional information to share with us.
Exhibition History
  • “Treasures from the Berger Collection: British Paintings 1400-2000” — Denver Art Museum, 10/2/2014 – 9/9/2018

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