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About the Book
Art Clues on...
Vlad Dracula
Richard III
Henry VIII
Anne Boleyn
Anne of Cleves
Mary Queen of Scots
Elizabeth I
Louis XIV
Peter the Great
Marie Antoinette
Napoleon Bonaparte
Catherine the Great
George III

Art Detectives

Elizabeth: Forever young
Elizabeth with fan Painting the queen was serious business. Painters had to have a license to paint her and their work was often thrown away if it did not meet Elizabeth's approval. For this reason, she commissioned very few artists to paint her portrait and used those selected works as the master for all artists to copy. Because artists were often copying younger depictions of the queen, very few paintings show Elizabeth's true age. At one point, Elizabeth even had images showing her older self destroyed. It was not entirely due to vanity that Elizabeth was so careful of her image on canvas. She needed her portraits to show her as a strong, yet chaste, "virgin queen" married to her kingdom. This was an age where women were positively dried up at the age of 35. No one must ever doubt that the queen still held the reigns of England steady in her aging hands.

It's also important to remember that very few people would ever meet the queen in person, but they could hang a copied painting on their walls. In an age where we are bombarded with images of our leaders from internet, print and tv media, we take for granted that portraits were often a queen's only chance for public exposure.

A close up of the eyes and ears on Elizabeth's dress from the Rainbow portrait (above).

As powerful propaganda messages, these portraits contained symbols of the monarch's reign. Elizabeth is often shown wearing pearls or holding a white ermine, both symbols of her virginity. In other paintings, she has eyes and ears covering her dress to show that she was constantly watching her enemies. You wouldn't want to mess with a queen who had a thousand eyes and ears on her dress!

Elizabeth's Favorite Things
On page 38 of The Raucous Royals, the mouse is wearing the crown that Elizabeth wore at her coronation. Seen here

Elizabeth with fanOn page 36, Elizabeth is shown holding a feathered fan. Elizabeth loved presents, but she let it be known that her favorite gift was a feathered fan. In many of Elizabeth's portraits she is seen holding a fan made of ostrich or peacock feathers. Marie Antoinette later also used feathered plumes in her hair to give her royal dos towering heights.


Elizabeth's pottage

Princess Elizabeth

There are only two paintings that historians can say for certain depict Elizabeth as a teenager. Read More about the recent discovery of a painting once believed to be Lady Jane Grey>>

Elizabeth's pottage

Breakfast of Champions

Elizabeth often ate succory porridge or "pottage" for breakfast. Succory tastes like dandelions and was used to flavor beef or mutton.

To make your own succory porridge boil the following ingredients in a big pot and enjoy: Mutton or Beef, Water, Violet leaves, Endive, Succory, Strawberry leaves, Spinach, marigold flowers , Scallions, Parsley, Oatmeal.

Elizabeth the Heartbreaker

Why did Elizabeth never marry? Read more about Elizabeth and her favorite bachelors>>
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