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Nicholas Hilliard (1547-1619)

Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603) c.1595-1600

RCIN 421029

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The ageing Elizabeth is idealised as ‘Astraea’, the goddess described in Virgil’s Fourth Eclogue as presiding over the classical golden age. Artists and poets linked Astraea’s qualities of eternal youth and justice with Elizabeth I, reinforcing by this association the cult of the Virgin Queen.

Acquired by George V in 1912