De­pic­tion of Queen Elizabeth I and the Ar­mada could be lost to UK

Art:

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) - - NEWS - BY SHERNA NOAH

A paint­ing of Queen Elizabeth I of Eng­land watch­ing the de­feat of the Span­ish Ar­mada is at risk of leav­ing the UK un­less a buyer can be found to match its £200,000-plus ask­ing price.

The 16th Cen­tury con­fronta­tion is one of the most fa­mous events in English history.

The minia­ture, by an un­known artist, is rare as it was painted not long af­ter the naval vic­tory. Arts, Her­itage and Tourism Min­is­ter Michael El­lis has placed a tem­po­rary ex­port bar on the art­work, en­ti­tled The Span­ish Ar­mada In The Year 1588, to try to save it for the na­tion.

Pro­duced in around 1600, it shows Queen Elizabeth I watch­ing the naval en­gage­ment ac­com­pa­nied by Robert Dud­ley, Earl of Le­ices­ter.

It is thought to re­flect her per­sonal in­ter­ven­tion dur­ing the mil­i­tary cam­paign, when she ral­lied her troops with a speech at Tilbury.

Mr El­lis said: “Although the Span­ish Ar­mada is one

“This needs to be re­tained in this coun­try so that it can be stud­ied”

of the defin­ing con­flicts in Eng­land’s naval history, con­tem­po­rary de­pic­tions of it are ex­cep­tion­ally rare.

“This beau­ti­ful minia­ture com­mem­o­rates one of the most cel­e­brated events of Elizabeth I’s reign and it is es­sen­tial that we do our best to save this piece for the na­tion.”

The paint­ing was sent on long-term loan to the Ri­jksmu­seum, the Mu­seum of the Nether­lands in Am­s­ter­dam, be­tween 1975 and 1995.

It is signed in the lower right cor­ner with the un­ver­i­fied artist’s mono­gram VHE.

Peter Bar­ber, a mem­ber of the Re­view­ing Com­mit­tee on the Ex­port of Works of Art and Ob­jects of Cul­tural In­ter­est, said: “This vi­brant minia­ture is one of the ear­li­est and most vivid de­pic­tions of an episode of cru­cial im­por­tance for the history of Eng­land.

“Fa­mil­iar though the over­all story may be, the minia­ture in­cludes many in­trigu­ing de­tails that need fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

“There can be few items more justly called a ‘na­tional trea­sure’ and it needs to be re­tained in this coun­try so that it can be fur­ther stud­ied and en­joyed.”

The de­ci­sion on the ex­port li­cence ap­pli­ca­tion for the paint­ing will be de­ferred un­til De­cem­ber 13.

It can be ex­tended un­til March 13 2019 if a se­ri­ous in­ten­tion to raise funds to pur­chase it is made at the rec­om­mended £210,000 (plus VAT) price.

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