Gallery’s Detective Work Shows Two Portraits Painted at the Same Time

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LONDON.- New scientific detective work has revealed that two renowned 16th century portraits of Queen Elizabeth I belonging to two different galleries were painted on wood panels from the same tree. The portraits were first associated with Hilliard in 1933, and the new findings support the attribution as it is now known that both portraits were painted in the same studio. The paintings of Elizabeth I, known as the ‘Phoenix’ portrait and the ‘Pelican’ portrait, will be shown together for the first time in more than 25 years, for one week only, at the National Portrait Gallery from 13 to19 September 2010 as part of the Making Art in Tudor Britain project led by Dr Tarnya Cooper. The two portraits of Elizabeth I (1533-1603) were painted when the queen was in her early forties, almost half way through her reign. Their names derive from the jewels worn by the queen at her breast in each picture: in one a phoenix and in the o