Nicholas Hilliard (1547-1619)
Portrait of Elizabeth I
Watercolour on vellum, stuck to pasteboard; set into a vellum mount in the 17th century
Inscribed on the mount in Latin 'Elizabeth Queen of England'
Museum no. P.23-1975
© Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Bequeathed by Mrs Doris Herschorn
Elizabeth was now about 53.As she grew older poets and painters increasingly emphasised her supposedly divine power. Late portraits of the queen were rarely simple likenesses. Here, the crescent moon jewel in her hair symbolises the goddess Diana.