The Princess Elizabeth

About ten minutes ago I finished the last painting for this exhibition, which was Mary II. Other than some glazing and varnishing, It’s done now! I will have 24 paintings, ranging in size from tiddly little ones to rather large ones. I have to put wire on them, wrap them, and organise other things till it’s time to go hang them.

Sorry no good photo yet, I will probably replace this shot with a better one

So I’ve always loved the original for this picture, of The Lady Elizabeth, who later became Elizabeth I. This was taken when she was around 13 or so and she’s super slender.  The other day someone looked at this and said ‘Oh, so no dinosaurs in this one’ – well KIND OF, but they are a bit hidden. The dress is made up of a brocade pattern of plesiosars and pterodactyls with a ginkgo motif edging (I have a ginkgo tree in my yard – by no means extinct, but by every means, super primitive!) , the underskirt has various antiarch fishes on it, and the under sleeves have a scale pattern on them. She’s also got an allosaur on her brooch and is holding a copy of the Origin of the Species (I think the original painting she was holding a bible).

I learned with this painting that I’m never doing that sort of repeated brocade pattern again. I cut out the shapes and drew them all over her with tracing paper to get the pattern. It was never ending. Not as bad as the woodwork on the big Henry VIII portrait, but almost as annoying.

The ldy elizabeth

I was reading somewhere recently that said in order to do a successful portrait, the artist must have a good understanding of human anatomy.

I totally disagree when it comes to Tudor and Elizabethan portrait. To do a successful portrait the artist must have a good understanding of Tudor underwear – how it is shaped, worn, and done up,  and what it does to the body.

Here is me in 1993 or 4 – I am in the white – wearing an outfit I made (and embroidered) myself- i even made the ruff and the hat. Underneath this satiny goodness I have a farthingale,  bum roll, multiple petticoats, a corset, and a chemise. Everything is laced and tied in and I cannot breathe at all. I have a pretty good idea how the princess Elizabeth (down graded to Lady for political reasons) was feeling in that outfit, and you have to paint period pictures of the time knowing that the person is so pulled in and stiffened that they cannot eat too much and can only take very shallow breaths.

I like the Tudor period. They really knew how to bling it up.


I officially never want to paint another pearl, too. I know i will. I just don’t want to.


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