The Armada portrait

By | Category: Travel rumblings
he Tyrwhitt-Drake Armada portrait that needs saving for the nation

the Tyrwhitt-Drake Armada portrait that needs saving for the nation

You will instantly recognise what is called the Armada portrait. The image of Queen Elizabeth I is one of the famous pictures akin to Holbein’s portrait of her father Henry VIII. It is how we “see” both monarchs.

But will we able to see the picture of Good Queen Bess much longer?

Widely believed to have been linked with Sir Francis Drake, whose successors may have commissioned the portrait, those successors have now decided to sell the portrait.

The Art Fund has set up a special campaign to save the picture for the nation but as you will be aware, the price of art can be quite high – in this case £16.25 million. But, thankfully, that sum doesn’t have to be raised as some funds have been committed. What is needed is £8.6 million or a tad less than 14.5p for every man, woman and child living in the UK. Put it like that and it is a small price to pay for our heritage and this picture is definitely part of our heritage. A number of donors have already agreed to match fund any sums given so your donation will immediately be doubled. When acquired it will hang in the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich.

There are three versions of the Armada portrait, one in Woburn Abbey, a cut-down down version in the National Portrait gallery and this one owned by the Tyrwhitt-Drake family. So if there are three why should we be concerned about saving it when the other two will remain in the UK?

For a start the Drake connection making this important in linking to of the larger-than-life figures in our history. Secondly it is by an English hand and we don’t have many portraits or paintings this early that we think are by English artists. Thirdly, it is different to the other two in having a different view of the Armada which can be seen in the background images. But the key is the link with Drake making it the most historically interesting and important one.

We are supporting the appeal and urge you to do likewise. To donate, click here or go to

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