1600-1602 (some time in that span) Elizabeth I "Rainbow Portrait" attributed to either Isaac Oliver or Marcus Gheeraerts The Younger (Hatfield House - Hatfield, Hertfordshire, UK)

This idealized portrait of Queen Elizabeth of England by Isaac Oliver or Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger was painted around 1600, a few years before she died.

Isaac Oliver was a Hugenot who fled France's religious wars to England; his Wikipedia article is here.

1600-1602 (some time in that span) Elizabeth I "Rainbow Portrait" attributed to either Isaac Oliver or Marcus Gheeraerts The Younger (Hatfield House - Hatfield, Hertfordshire, UK)

She wears a floating ruff, a neckline ruff, and an outer ruff. Her veil and the towering headdress are amazing. Her neckline in this idealized portrait is taking a plunge to levels characteristic of the first decade of the new century and there are three ruffs - a neck ruff detached from the rest, a neckline ruff, and and outer ruff. According to Norris, Tudor Costume and Fashion, p. 608 (Dover re-issue 1997), "...The serpent is symbolical of subtle wisdom ('as wise as serpents'), and the eyes and ears on the orange drapery or lining of the fawn outer robe imply that Her Majesty saw and heard everything. The crown mounted on a turban-like headdress of the early fifteenth century; and the bodice of linen, embroidered with floral designs, is the first example of a vogue very popular during the following reign. Contrary to her usual custom, the Queen is wearing her hair in ringlets, perhaps to give the illusion of youth, while the chin ruff serves to mask her sinewy neck." (This painting is political propaganda - gogm.)

Marileecody (http://www.marileecody.com/eliz1-images.html) has this description: "This portrait can be viewed at Hatfield House. Oliver was a pupil of Elizabeth's favorite court painter, Nicholas Hilliard, and the brother-in-law of Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger. Some historians have argued that Gheeraerts painted this portrait, but most favor Oliver.

This is my favorite portrait of the queen. It has the most elaborate and inventive iconography of any Tudor portrait.

Elizabeth's gown is embroidered with English wildflowers, thus allowing the queen to pose in the guise of Astraea, the virginal heroine of classical literature. Her cloak is decorated with eyes and ears, implying that she sees and hears all. Her headdress is an incredible design decorated lavishly with pearls and rubies and supports her royal crown. The pearls symbolize her virginity; the crown, of course, symbolizes her royalty. Pearls also adorn the transparent veil which hangs over her shoulders. Above her crown is a crescent-shaped jewel which alludes to Cynthia, the goddess of the moon.

A jeweled serpent is entwined along her left arm, and holds from its mouth a heart-shaped ruby. Above its head is a celestial sphere. The serpent symbolizes wisdom; it has captured the ruby, which in turn symbolizes the queen's heart. In other words, the queen's passions are controlled by her wisdom. The celestial sphere echoes this theme; it symbolizes wisdom and the queen's royal command over nature.

Elizabeth's right hand holds a rainbow with the Latin inscription 'Non sine sole iris' ('No rainbow without the sun'). The rainbow symbolizes peace, and the inscription reminds viewers that only the queen's wisdom can ensure peace and prosperity.

Elizabeth was in her late sixties when this portrait was made, but for iconographic purposes she is portrayed as young and beautiful, more than mortal. In this portrait, she is ageless."

Keywords:  1600, Tudor family, Queen Elizabeth, frizzy coiffure, jeweled headdress, square decolletage, floating ruff, neckline ruff, lace, outer ruff, jeweled headdress, bertha, hair jewelry, necklace, draped necklace, earrings, jeweled sleeves, full puffed sleeves, bracelets, jeweled cloak


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