The ‘Rainbow Portrait’ (above) of Queen Elizabeth I was commissioned by Robert Cecil for the Queen’s visit of 1602, and is thought to have been painted by Isaac Oliver.
Despite being painted near the end of the Queen’s reign, the portrait as always shows her as young. As with many of the portraits from this era, this painting is full of symbolism.
The eyes and ears shown on her cloak indicate the Queen sees and hears everything. The serpent of wisdom is embroidered on her sleeve. The Queen holds a rainbow with the motto ‘non sine sol iris’ (“no rainbow without the sun”).
The Portrait is on display at Hatfield House in Hertfordshire.
*Hatfield House will reopen for the 2018 season on Saturday 31st March.
Categories: Art & Culture