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Portraits & Dress



Shakespeare for Kids

This portrait of Elizabeth is one of the Folger Shakespeare Library's most treasured works of art.

 

The painting shows us what the queen may have looked like. But did you know that it also tells us about her role as the ruler of England?

 

Discover what the images symbolize.

 

Elizabeth dressed to be seen; her rich clothes and jewels made a statement about her power as a female ruler and about the strength of her nation. They were noticed especially by foreign visitors to court.

 

From Germans we hear of her "red robe interwoven with gold thread," and her "pure white satin, gold-embroidered" gown.

 

From a Frenchman, report of "a chain of rubies and pearls about her neck," and pearl bracelets, "six or seven rows of them."

 

 


George Gower. The "Sieve" portrait of Elizabeth I. Oil on panel, 1579.




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