This year has seen so many brilliant exhibitions today I saw a small but perfectly formed on with @alicemartha.
I have to say that I thought I was so lucky to get to see the Mary Queen of Scots exhibition this summer in Edinburgh but London has put a show about her cousin and rival, Elizabeth I and her court at the National Portrait Gallery. My preference has always been the National Gallery next door however I feel that the next time I’m in town I should make the effort to explore the portrait gallery in more dept.
The entrance of the exhibition has a picture of Elizabeth in procession. The picture shows the court showing off its splendour; it’s a tantalising taste of what’s to come.
The next room was exclusively dedicated to the Lady of the exhibition,
Elizabeth I. Many of the images on canvas don the best selling books on Elizabeth I and are familiar to me. To see the originals is thrilling.
The next section had lesser well known faces of court in their portrait best this leads on to the main space were you get up and personal with Sir Walter (Flash Heart) Releigh, Bess of Hardwick business woman multiple wife and gaoler of Mary Queen of Scots, and my favourite William Cecil, Lord Burghley riding a mule. Cabinets hold trinkets such as Burghley’s tankard with Venetian glass and a purse shaped like a frog.
The last room had gloves, images of the court and right at the end an interesting sailors outfit in brown and more patch than original. It was a stunning and although humble reminded the exhibition goes that although most of Elizabeth’s the courts were peacocks, the humble man was the queen subject as well.
A small show, with sadly no audio guide, art fund card holders get in for half price. The gift shop holds small selection of associated merchandise however definitely not on the same scale as its London rivals like the BritishMuseum or V&A. Had I paid full price I would have been disappointed due to the size of the exhibition however sometimes quality out weighs quantity and this exhibition has quality in the bucket load!