Power & Image:
Royal Portraiture & Iconography
Exhibition: 28 May–15 June 2022 • London

S panning the Tudor period to the present day, this exhibition shines a light on five centuries of female monarchs leveraging art to influence and awe their subjects. In celebration of Queen Elizabeth II’s 70 years on the throne, it presents portraits of Britain’s seven regnant queens and accompanying historic manuscripts to chart an evolving image of power. Featuring artworks from some of the nation’s greatest private collections, it offers a unique opportunity to view these masterful convergences of patronage and propaganda. Led by the iconic Armada Portrait of Elizabeth I, on loan from the Woburn Abbey collection, the exhibited works reflect the shifting culture and society of a dynamic Britain.

Exhibition On View

Sotheby’s London, 34-35 New Bond Street
28 May–15 June 2022
Weekdays: 9:00 AM–4:30 PM
Weekends: 12:00–5:00 PM
Closed Sunday 5 June
This exhibition is free and unticketed.

Jubilee Arts Festival

28 May, 3:00 PM | Battle of the Queens: Elizabeth I vs Victoria with Intelligence Squared

Queen Elizabeth I and Queen Victoria both put their stamp on an era, but who was the greater monarch? Debated by Daisy Goodwin, writer of ITV series Victoria, and Kate Maltby, scholar of Elizabethan literature. The queens will be brought to life by actors. The debate will be chaired by historian Anthony Seldon.

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29 May, 12:00 PM | The Power and the Throne: the Queen’s Relationship with her Fourteen Prime Ministers

From Winston Churchill to Margaret Thatcher, historian Andrew Roberts will explore the relationship between Queen Elizabeth II and her prime ministers.

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29 May, 3:00 PM | Building the Royal Collection

Explore the history of royal portraiture and the Royal Collection with Dr Amanda Foreman and Desmond Shawe-Taylor, former Surveyor of the Queen’s Pictures.

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2 June, 1:00 PM | Artist Talk: A Commonwealth Queen: Oluwole Omofemi in conversation with Helen Rosslyn, Art Editor at Tatler

A discussion on Oluwole Omofemi’s portrait of the Queen as featured on Tatler’s Jubilee edition cover, which captures both the Head of the Commonwealth and a pensive individual. The depiction references an archival photograph, captured ahead of the official visit to Nigeria in 1956, and introduces national symbols to lay claim to the figurehead as relevant and relatable.

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7 June, 1:00 PM | Expert Talk: The Armada Portrait and the iconography of female power with Sotheby’s Julian Gascoigne

An exploration of the invention of a new iconographic language in the imagery of Queen Elizabeth I and the symbolism embedded in the Armada Portrait to create a timeless image of female authority and power.

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To explore the full Jubilee Arts Festival programme and book tickets, visit Sothebys.com/jubileefestival

Works On View

Left to Right: Queen Mary I (1554), Hans Eworth © Society of Antiquaries of London; The Armada Portrait © From the Woburn Abbey Collection.
Commission to the Lord Keeper of the Great Seal for the making up of writs for the execution of the 7th Earl of Northumberland, 20 July 1572 © Archives of the Duke of Northumberland, Alnwick Castle
Left to Right: Queen Anne presenting the plans of Blenheim to military Merit (1708), Sir Godfrey Kneller © Duke of Marlborough; Queen Victoria (1838), George Hayter © Property of a Hambleden resident
Left to Right: Archbishop Parker’s binding for Queen Elizabeth I, with the letters E and R and a crowned Tudor rose in the centre. Presented by Parker in 1574 to the Queen through William Cecil, Lord Burghley; The Holy Bible, 1701, the date changed to 1702 to match the date of Queen Anne’s Coronation. A fine embroidered binding with the crowned "AR" initials of Queen Anne, attributed to William West, Master of the Company of Broderers 1696/7; Coronation Bible for Queen Elizabeth II, Oxford University Press, 1953. Binding designed by Lynton Lamb and bound by Sangorski & Sutcliffe. Number 18 of 25 special copies. Copy number 1 was used for the Coronation © Wormsley Library
Left to Right: Reigning Queens: Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, 1985, Andy Warhol © Private Collection; The Queen (2022), Oluwole Omofemi © Courtesy of the artist
Left to Right: Queen Elizabeth 11 & The Duke of Edinburgh, Windsor Castle, 2011, Thomas Struth © Private Collection; Lightness of Being (2022), Chris Levine © Courtesy of the artist


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