IPERION HSIntegrating Platform for the European Research Infrastructure

The Armada Portrait of Elizabeth I is returning to the Queen’s House at Greenwich after extensive conservation treatment that has returned it closer to its original 16th century condition.
Royal Museums Greenwich says the long conservation treatment removed several layers of old varnish and retouchings, more fully revealing the painting’s intricate detail and vibrant colours. Specialist technical analysis has also provided important new information about the two background seascapes framing the figure of the Queen, and confirmed that they were repainted in the early 18th century.
The conservation has included paint analysis, new X-ray imaging and Macro XRF scanning – the latter by the Italian-based MOLAB team. In particular, the detection of Prussian blue in some minor repairs and in the two reworked scenes demonstrates that they are likely to date to about 1710. Both are painted over earlier versions, showing 16th-century ship types: these can still be seen in the only other complete version of the painting (by another unidentified artist) in the Bedford Collection at Woburn Abbey.