ditchley portrait

The Procession Portrait of Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603), painted c. 1600-1603. The artist is unknown, but it is assumed that they were Anglo-Dutch, due to the Dutch-like landscape in the background (and, let’s face it, since when have you ever seen buildings like those in the upper left background in England?!). Such portraits of processions are quite rare, especially if there is a story behind it. The story isn’t certain, but it is possible that the portrait depicts the wedding procession of Henry Somerset, Lord Herbert of Chepstow and his bride, Lady Anne Russell in June 1600, an event which Queen Elizabeth I attended.

The dress that Elizabeth is wearing in this painting is the same as the one seen in the Ditchley Portrait (painted 1592, by Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger). Like most portraits of her at this time, Elizabeth is shown as a young and fair woman (despite the fact she would have been in her mid-late sixties by the end of the 16th and beginning of 17th centuries). Her youthful appearance here contrasts greatly to her appearance in the Ditchley Portrait, however. And, having stared at the Ditchley Portrait quite a lot recently, there are a few differences between the dress in that portrait and the dress here, but overall it is strikingly similar. As usual, her white dress symbolises Elizabeth’s purity and virginity, harking back to her cult of the Virgin Queen.

Elizabeth is sitting on what seems to be some sort of vehicle (perhaps a litter), pushed by three grooms dressed in red behind her. Some gentlemen (about four – some are dressed in white/silver) carry the beautifully embroidered canopy over Elizabeth’s head. Six Knights of the Garter walk ahead of the Queen, while some of Elizabeth’s ladies walk behind her. 

It is said that this portrait was painted to display the power and influence held and had by Elizabeth’s courtiers (and to an extent, Elizabeth herself). Many of the courtiers shown in this portrait can be named. [This paragraph is extremely long and only deals with who’s who in the painting. If you wish to skip ahead to the next point, you can cut out the rest of this paragraph. ;)] 

To our extreme left, the gentleman in red can be identified as Edmund Sheffield, 3rd Baron Sheffield; the gentleman beside him in silver-white (i.e. that guy standing in a sassy pose with a white beard and rosy cheeks) is the Lord Admiral, Charles Howard, Baron Howard of Effingham (a.k.a. that dude who was in charge of combating the Spanish Armada and worked with Sir Francis Drake at that time); the man in red-orange behind the Lord Admiral is George Clifford, 3rd Earl of Cumberland; George Carey, 2nd Baron Hudson is seen also (I think he’s the man with the silver sword, walking on the Lord Admiral’s left side, but I’m not super certain). The man carrying the sword of state (just in front of Elizabeth) is Gilbert Talbot, 7th Earl of Shrewsbury (a.k.a. that one who was in charge of keeping Mary, Queen of Scots in captivity for a while). The man in the middle foreground (in faded red) is supposedly Edward Somerset, 4th Earl of Worcester; while the gentleman in silver-white to Elizabeth’s left (he appears to look out of the painting at the observer) is said to be Henry Somerset, Lord Herbert of Chepstow (the Earl of Worcester’s son). His left arm directs us towards his newly-wed wife, Lady Anne Russell.

What I find amusing about this portrait is the fact that most of the men seem to be wearing the exact same pair of shoes, and I must say some of the expressions on various figures’ faces are absolutely priceless. XD (I’ll reblog with close-ups of my favourites :P)

I don’t know if you can tell in this picture of the painting or not, but there are two swans swimming on the river before the front reddish building in the upper left background. (Again, I’ll add close-ups if you can’t see - just tell me {TBH I’ll probably add them anyway.}) Also, if you look closely, Elizabeth’s right hand seems to be missing. It could be tucked underneath her stomacher/bodice, but *shrugs* idk. 

NOTE: Most of this information came from ‘Elizabeth I and Her People’


Oh, I couldn’t resist. I had such a hard time picking an Elizabeth R still to match with a portrait on my other post, so I figured why not just give it its own post.

All stills from BBC’s Elizabeth R, 1971.

Picture 1: Glenda Jackson as Princess Elizabeth, E:1 / “Elizabeth I when a princess”, William Scrots, 1546.

Picture 2: Daphne Slater as Mary I, E:1 / “Mary I of England”, Antonis Mor, 1554.

Picture 3: Glenda Jackson as Elizabeth I, E:4 / “The Sieve Portrait”, Quentin Metsys, 1583.

Picture 4: Glenda Jackson as Elizabeth I, E:5/ “The Darnley Portrait”, Federico Zuccaro (?), 1575.

Picture 5: Glenda Jackson as Elizabeth I, E:5/ “The Armada Portrait”, George Gower, 1588.

Picture 6: Glenda Jackson as Elizabeth I, E:6/ “The Ditchley Portrait”, Marcus Gheeraerts, 1592.

Picture 7: Vivian Pickles as Mary Queen of Scots, E:2/ “Mary Queen of Scots in White Mourning”, Francois Clouet (?), 1560.

Picture 8: Vivian Pickles as Mary Queen of Scots, E:4/ “Mary Queen of Scots in captivity”, unknown artist, c. 1580.

(Also can we just appreciate how all the actors play their characters all the way through, i.e. Glenda Jackson played Elizabeth from ages 15 - 66 when she herself was like 30.)

Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger - Queen Elizabeth I (‘The Ditchley portrait’)

circa 1592

oil on canvas

National Portrait Gallery, London