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Incredible discoveries are still happening in the field of ancient and modern art restoration. We can just imagine the shocked face of the restorer that by cleaning an anonymous 17th-century portrait and by taking away the overpainting on the face, started to recognize the features of Queen Elizabeth I. 

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Attributed to Steven van der Meulen, Queen Elizabeth I, 1562. Photo: Bonhams.

 

Once arrived to the Bonhams the specialists of an auction house showed the work to the Yale Center of British art who then claimed that the portrait is attributed to the workshop of Van der Meulen and is dated around 1562, shortly after Elizabeth came to the throne. Now the newly discovered portrait is to be offered at Bonhams Old Master Paintings Sale in London on Wednesday 4 December with an estimate of £150,000 - 250,000 ($322,000 dollars). 

The painting dates from 1562, four years after Elizabeth came to the throne on the death of her half-sister Mary I. It is one of the earliest pictures of the queen specifically designed to project a fresh and sophisticated image of her as a youthful monarch radiating a sense of authority and confidence. Portraits produced in the years immediately after her accession showed Elizabeth as stiff, lifeless, and rather dour. Elizabeth was the last member of the Tudor dynasty. A powerful woman and enlightened mind, always remembered in history as the Virgin Queen, because of her decision to never have a husband.

Bonhams Director of Old Master Paintings, Andrew McKenzie, said, "This is an important and exciting discovery. The image of Elizabeth I as the strong all-powerful Virgin Queen is embedded deep in the national psyche but her early years on the throne were dogged with instability and threats from home and abroad. From her accession onwards, however, she and her court were acutely alive to the importance and possibilities of presentation, and this portrait is among the very first we know of to project a new, approved image of the Queen." (Read more on bonhams.com)

Cover image: Newly Discovered Portrait of Elizabeth 1 at Old Master Paintings Sale 

Stay Tuned on Kooness magazine for more exciting news from the art world.
 

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