Elizabeth I
Size matters
in Goddesses and Queens
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This chapter suggests how the Elizabethan dialogue between great and small actually constitutes a meditation upon the dynamics of Elizabethan power, which wavers, compellingly, between the monumental and the human, the awesome and the pocket-size. Inspired by the smallness of the princess in the portrait, which has been attributed to William Scrots, David Starkey composed Elizabeth: Apprenticeship: a book about the queen when she was little. The portrait, which Starkey believes Elizabeth I 'gave to her father just before his death', provides an emblem for his project, which offers an alternative to the prevailing vision of Elizabeth as goddess Astraea or Gloriana. As they rework the visual markers of Henrician magnificence, portraits of Elizabeth reflect debates concerning women and power motivated by Protestantism and by the presence of a woman on the throne of England.

Goddesses and Queens

The iconography of Elizabeth I

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