Elizabeth I, Visual Icon : A Title Unintended
Stewart, Emily Ballance
This thesis explores Elizabeth I's relationship with her official state portraiture to show that she placed little value in its meaning and authority for political and diplomatic uses. Understanding her personal relationship with the state portrait is significant because there are many surviving contemporary portraits of Elizabeth and most scholars believe that she tried to control the production and dissemination of these portraits for various reasons. This thesis argues that Elizabeth did not value this type of portrait enough to be a consistent well-paying patron or to exert censorship over its creation and distribution. By comparing Elizabeth to her Tudor predecessors and Western European royal peers it is clear that she did not commission and use the state portrait to the extent that other early modern kings and queens had. When comparing Elizabeth's use of censorship in other areas of communication such as the printing press, the theatre, and the church, state portraiture received little to no censorship or royal concern. An analysis of Elizabeth's words, written, spoken, or recorded by others, also reveals Elizabeth was antithetical to the state portrait for domestic or foreign diplomatic use. Elizabeth did not value the state portrait, therefore, she was not an active agent in its production and she did not attempt to control its creation and distribution. These findings contradict Sir Roy Strong's assertion, which has been widely accepted, that Elizabeth did try to control these images based on his analysis of a draft proclamation of 1563 and a Privy Council Order of 1596. This revised assessment of Elizabeth's relationship to state portraiture is essential to righting our understanding of who commissioned and censored her portraits, their meaning, and the ends for which they were created.
Stewart, Emily Ballance. (January 2014). Elizabeth I, Visual Icon : A Title Unintended (Master's Thesis, East Carolina University). Retrieved from the Scholarship. (http://hdl.handle.net/10342/4556.)
Stewart, Emily Ballance. Elizabeth I, Visual Icon : A Title Unintended. Master's Thesis. East Carolina University, January 2014. The Scholarship. http://hdl.handle.net/10342/4556. June 13, 2021.
Stewart, Emily Ballance, “Elizabeth I, Visual Icon : A Title Unintended” (Master's Thesis., East Carolina University, January 2014).
Stewart, Emily Ballance. Elizabeth I, Visual Icon : A Title Unintended [Master's Thesis]. Greenville, NC: East Carolina University; January 2014.
East Carolina University