Elizabeth I Pelican Portrait


Mark Cartwright
by Nicholas Hilliard
published on 22 May 2020
Elizabeth I Pelican Portrait Download Full Size Image

The c. 1574 CE 'Pelican Portrait' by Nicholas Hilliard of Elizabeth I of England (r. 1558-1603 CE). The portrait takes its name from the brooch the queen is wearing over her dress studded with pearls and square-cut jewels. The pelican was a symbol of charity and redemption since, when necessity required, the mother bird pierces her own chest so that her young may feed on her blood. The queen is, therefore, demonstrating her sacrifice in ruling, unmarried, uniquely for the good of her people. The Tudor Rose, symbol of Elizabeth's family dynasty, can be seen on the left, and on the right is the fleur-de-lis, representing England's ongoing claim to the French throne. Above both symbols is an arched imperial crown.

Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, England.

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APA Style

Hilliard, N. (2020, May 22). Elizabeth I Pelican Portrait. World History Encyclopedia. Retrieved from https://www.worldhistory.org/image/12285/elizabeth-i-pelican-portrait/

Chicago Style

Hilliard, Nicholas. "Elizabeth I Pelican Portrait." World History Encyclopedia. Last modified May 22, 2020. https://www.worldhistory.org/image/12285/elizabeth-i-pelican-portrait/.

MLA Style

Hilliard, Nicholas. "Elizabeth I Pelican Portrait." World History Encyclopedia. World History Encyclopedia, 22 May 2020. Web. 28 Feb 2024.