Warhol’s Queen and Armada pop art portrait of Elizabeth I on display for Jubilee

Andy Warhol’s pop art print of the Queen and the famous Armada portrait of Elizabeth I are to be featured in a Jubilee display of artwork depicting queens who have reigned throughout history.

The unprecedented exhibition at Sotheby’s in London will feature paintings of each of the seven reigning queens who have been crowned in their own right, spanning from Tudor times to the Platinum Jubilee age of Elizabeth II.

Elizabeth I’s portrayal is described by Sotheby’s as “one of the most defining images of female power ever created”, and Warhol’s impression of Queen as both “glamorous” and “imposing”.

The Armada portrait of Elizabeth I (Woburn Abbey Collection/PA)

The exhibition, which runs from May 28 to June 15, will include key portraits of Mary I, Mary II, Queen Anne, Queen Victoria and Mary Queen of Scots, on loan from aristocratic and British collections.

Alongside the historic paintings are nearly 40 dazzling noble and aristocratic tiaras of British and European royal provenance – many of which have never been seen in public before – dating back to the 1830s.

It is part of the auction house’s Jubilee Arts Festival, a month-long program of events celebrating the Queen’s 70 years on the throne.

Sebastian Fahey, Managing Director of Sotheby’s EMEA, said: “We have certainly never done anything like this, or on this scale, here before, and it has been a pleasure to work in this way with so many institutions and families. important throughout the country.

“I’m sure the galleries will be absolutely spectacular, with an astonishing collection of portraits under one roof the first time around – including the Armada, which is one of the most defining images of female power ever created – alongside tiaras which span two centuries, and important manuscripts which formed part of the pageantry of our monarchy.

Andy Warhol, Reigning Queens, 1985
Andy Warhol, Reigning Queens, 1985 (Sotheby’s/PA)

The portrait of Elizabeth I, painted to commemorate the failed invasion of England by the Spanish Armada in 1588, is on loan from the Duke of Bedford’s collection to Woburn Abbey.

Julian Gascoigne, Director of Early British Paintings at Sotheby’s, said: “The most complete of three versions painted in the same year, the painting encapsulates the aspirations of the nation at a defining moment in history while carefully casting an impressive spectacle. of feminine power and majesty.

Elizabeth I, dressed in her finery with her elaborate lace ruff, rests her hand on a globe, and behind her are scenes of English ships departing in calm weather and the Spanish Armada being wrecked in a storm.

From modern times, one of the richly colored serigraphs from Warhol’s Reigning Queens series from 1985 will be on display.

Sotheby's Sale of Old, Modern and Contemporary Prints
Others in Andy Warhol’s Reigning Queens: Queen Elizabeth II portrait series (Ian West/PA)

The one that shows the image of Elizabeth II in blue tones.

The collection was based on an official photograph released for the monarch’s Silver Jubilee.

Tom Eddison, Sotheby’s senior director and specialist in contemporary art, described the piece, on loan from a private collection, as “equal parts glamorous and imposing; perfectly representing the global and celebrity era’ in which the queen reigned.

Visitors will be able to view more than three dozen tiaras, including a turquoise cabochon from the 1960s and a diamond piece from Van Cleef & Arpels.

Van Cleef & Arpels, turquoise tiara and diamonds
The Van Cleef & Arpels turquoise and diamond tiara (Sotheby’s/PA)

Another designed as a leaf crown set with diamonds dates from the 1830s and was designed as an homage to the classic designs of ancient Rome and inspired by a revival of style during the reign of Napoleon.

Among the historical manuscripts of royal significance on display will be the death warrant of the 7th Earl of Northumberland signed by Elizabeth I.

Dating from 1572, it was on loan from Alnwick Castle.

The document sets out the writs and instructions necessary for the execution of the 7th Earl after his role in the disastrous “Rising of the North”.

Commission to the Lord Keeper of the Great Seal to draft writs of execution for the 7th Earl of Northumberland in 1572
Commission to the Lord Keeper of the Great Seal for the execution of the 7th Earl of Northumberland in 1572 (Duke of Northumberland Archives, Alnwick Castle/PA)

The auction house is also holding a British Art: The Jubilee Auction on June 29.

It will include pieces by Turner, Gainsborough, Barbara Hepworth, Lucian Freud, David Hockney, Bridget Riley and Banksy.

A new work of the Queen, donated by artist Chris Levine, will also be on sale, with proceeds going to the Platinum Jubilee Pageant.

The Lightness of Being by Chris Levine
Lightness of Being by Chris Levine (Chris Levine/Sotheby’s/PA)

Titled Lightness Of Being, it depicts the monarch with her eyes closed and was based on Levin’s 2004 portrait of the Queen marking 800 years of allegiance to the Crown by the Isle of Jersey.

It is expected to fetch between £100,000 and £150,000.

The Jubilee Arts Festival at Sotheby’s, 34-35 New Bond Street in London will run from May 28 to June 15 – entry is free and tickets can be booked in advance.

Other activities include historical talks, musical performances and a family day.

More information can be found at www.sothebys.com/jubilee.

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