Queen Elizabeth I
Original Author: Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger
Created: ca. 1592
Medium: Oil on canvas

Queen Elizabeth I

Queen Elizabeth I stands atop a map of England, her feet planted in Oxfordshire, in this portrait made circa 1592 by Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, a prominent court artist. Known as the Ditchley Portrait, this painting was probably made to commemorate an entertainment for the queen arranged by Sir Henry Lee, who lived with his mistress, Anne Vavasour, at Ditchley, his country estate in Oxfordshire. Lee, a longtime champion of Elizabeth I, commissioned the portrait. His relationship with the queen had been strained over his relationship with Vavasour, and he was eager to placate the monarch. According to curators at the National Portrait Gallery in London, the overarching theme of this painting is forgiveness, as indicated by the sun breaking through the clouds at left, supplanting the stormy sky, as well as the Latin inscriptions on the painting, one of which reads, in the English translation, "She can but does not take revenge."