Anyone up in town during the next few weeks should visit the National Portrait Gallery (NPG) in London WC2, where an intriguing new acquisition, the postcard-sized Elizabeth l and The Three Goddesses, will be revealed in a major exhibition, now open until January 5, 2014. ‘Elizabeth l and Her People‘ reflects how, in a time of economic boom, the prosperous sought to shore up their flourishing careers by commissioning portraits-other subjects include William Cecil, Bess of Hardwick, John Donne and Francis Drake-plus jewellery, costumes and other artefacts.
The miniature, which was discovered in a private collection, is a reinterpretation of a Hans Eworth painting of the same name that is in the Royal Collection. Elizabeth is portrayed as both judge and winner, keeping the prize of the golden apple, in the Judgement of Paris upon the goddesses of marriage, war and love. The artist has reworked the landscape and costumes, changed the Queen’s appearance and added a peacock.
According to curator Tarnya Cooper, it’s attributed either to Isaac Oliver, painted circa 1590, or to another European follower of Nicholas Hilliard, due to the Continental style. ‘Elizabeth’s rounded face and small features are usual, but it is meant to be a flattering portrait, showing the Queen as perpetually youthful,’ explains Dr Cooper. ‘It is difficult to speculate about who this cabinet miniature might have been produced for-the provenance provides us with no further clues-but the small scale and remarkably high quality of this work indicate that it would have been painted for a patron close to the court.’
The NPG has acquired a portrait of another strong woman, the entrepreneur, patron and feminist Lady Anne Clifford who, at the time of her death in 1676, was probably the wealthiest woman in England. It was painted in 1618, when she was 28, by William Larkin and was sent to her cousin. Art dealer Mark Weiss discovered it in a European private collection and the NPG bought it for £275,000, aided by £70,000 from the Art Fund and £45,000 from private donations. It will be displayed next spring (020-7312 2463; www. npg.org.uk).
Also opening in London this month is: ‘An American in London: Whistler and The Thames’ at Dulwich Picture Gallery (Exhibition, page 112); Philip Hicks at Messum’s (October 16 to November 16, 020-7437 5545; www.messums.com); Nicolas Granger- Taylor at Jonathan Cooper’s Park Walk Gallery (until November 2, 020- 7351 0410; www.jonathancooper. co.uk); the annual Maritime Exhibition at the Rountree Tryon Gallery (October 14 to November 8, 020- 7839 8083; www.rountreetryon.com); Paul Klee at Tate Modern (October 16 to March 9, 2014, 020-7887 8888; www.tate.org.uk); the Royal Society of Marine Artists’ annual exhibition at the Mall Galleries (October 16-27, 0207-930 6844; www.mallgalleries. org.uk); the Animal Art Fair at a popup venue at 273, Fulham Road (October 14-21, 020-8144 5979; www. animalartfair.com); and ‘Daumier (1808-1879): Visions of Paris’ in the Sackler Wing, Royal Academy (October 26 to January 26, 2014, 020-7300 8000; www.royalacademy.org.uk). Catch also the last days of ‘Lowry: The Painting of Modern Life’ at Tate Britain (until October 20).
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