Elizabeth I 'Armada Portrait' bought for the nation

August 8 2016

Video: You Tube / The Art Fund

Excellent news that the National Maritime Museum has bought the Tyrwhitt-Drake 'Armada' portrait of Elizabeth I for £16m. The picture was being sold by the descendants of Sir Francis Drake, and it was the first time the picture had ever been put on the market. Christie's handled the sale, and the Heritage Lottery Fund made by far the largest contribution to the campaign (run the Art Fund) with a grant of £7.4m.

The intervention of the HLF is more evidence of the dramatic impact brought about by the last government's change in policy for Lottery 'good cause' money. When the HLF was first established, the purchase of objects was effectively forbidden. Now, however, more money is available to buy pictures for UK institutions than ever before. Donations from members of the public were £1.5m, which is another healthy sign of the public's acquisitional appetite in these uncertain times.

You can read more about the picture here in AHN's first reporting of the appeal. 

In the above video, made for the Art Fund's fundraising campaign, the Tudor historian Dr. David Starkey (of whom AHN is exceedingly fond) tells us why the picture is so important.

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