Andy Warhol’s pop art print of the Queen and Elizabeth I’s famous Armada portrait are featured in a commemorative exhibition of artworks depicting the queens who have ruled throughout history.
he unprecedented exhibition at Sotheby’s in London features paintings of each of the seven queens who have been crowned separately, from the Tudor period to Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee.
The portrayal of Elizabeth I has been described by Sotheby’s as “one of the most seminal images of female power ever created”, and Warhol’s impression of Queen as both “glamorous” and “domineering”.
The exhibition, which runs from May 28th to June 15th, will feature key portraits of Mary I, Mary II, Queen Anne, Queen Victoria and Mary Queen of Scots, on loan from aristocratic and other British collections.
Alongside the historical paintings, nearly 40 dazzling noble and aristocratic tiaras of British and European royal provenance – many never before seen in public – from the 1830s are on display.
It forms part of the auction house’s Jubilee Arts Festival – a month-long program of events to celebrate the Queen’s 70th jubilee.
Sebastian Fahey, Managing Director of Sotheby’s EMEA, said: “We have certainly never done anything like this, or on this scale, here before and it has been a pleasure to work in this way with so many important institutions and families across the country.
“I’m sure the galleries will look absolutely spectacular, with an amazing collection of portraits under one roof for the first time – including the Armada, which is one of the most seminal images of female power ever created – alongside tiaras spanning two centuries , and important manuscripts that were part of the splendor of our monarchy.”
The portrait of Elizabeth I, painted to commemorate the failed invasion of England by the Spanish Armada in 1588, is on loan from the Duke of Bedford’s collection at Woburn Abbey.
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Julian Gascoigne, director of early British paintings at Sotheby’s, said: ‘The painting is the most complete of three versions painted in the same year. It embodies the nation’s aspirations to a turning point in history, while delivering an awe-inspiring display of feminine power and majesty.”
Elizabeth I, dressed in her finery with her elaborate lace ruff, rests her hand on a globe, and behind her are scenes of English ships setting out in calm weather and the Spanish Armada being wrecked during a storm.
From modern times, one of the colorful screenprints from Warhol’s Reigning Queens series from 1985 will be on display.
It features the image of Elizabeth II in shades of blue.
The collection was based on an official photograph released to mark the monarch’s Silver Jubilee.
Tom Eddison, senior director and contemporary art specialist at Sotheby’s, described the piece, on loan from a private collection, as “equal parts glamorous and awe-inspiring; perfectly represent the global and prominent age” in which the Queen reigned.
Visitors can see more than three dozen tiaras, including a turquoise cabochon and a 1960s diamond piece by Van Cleef & Arpels.
Another wreath of diamond-set leaves dates from the 1830s and was crafted in homage to the classic designs of ancient Rome and inspired by a revival of the style during Napoleon’s reign.
Historical manuscripts of royal importance on display include the death warrant of the 7th Earl of Northumberland, signed by Elizabeth I.
It dates from 1572 and was borrowed from Alnwick Castle.
The document contains papers and instructions needed for the 7th Earl’s execution following his role in the disastrous ‘Rise of the North’.
The auction house is also holding a British Art: The Jubilee Auction on 29 June.
It will feature tracks by Turner, Gainsborough, Barbara Hepworth, Lucian Freud, David Hockney, Bridget Riley and Banksy.
A new work of the Queen, donated by artist Chris Levine, will also be on sale, with proceeds benefiting the Platinum Jubilee Pageant.
Entitled Lightness Of Being, it shows the monarch with her eyes closed and is based on Levin’s 2004 portrait of the Queen, which marks 800 years of allegiance to the Crown on the island of Jersey.
It is expected to fetch between £100,000 and £150,000.
The Jubilee Arts Festival at Sotheby’s, 34-35 New Bond Street in London runs from May 28th to June 15th – admission is free and tickets can be booked in advance.
Other activities include historical talks, musical performances, and a family day.
For more information, see www.sothebys.com/jubilee.
https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/warhols-pop-art-queen-and-armada-portrait-of-elizabeth-i-on-show-for-jubilee-41549259.html Warhol’s pop art Queen and Armada portrait of Elizabeth I will be on display to mark the anniversary