Swedes acquire Elizabeth I

June 28 2011

Image of Swedes acquire Elizabeth I

Picture: Bonhams

The National Museum in Stockholm has acquired this portrait miniature of Elizabeth I by Hilliard. It surfaced last year at Bonhams in London, where it made £40,800 (inc. premium).

The Swedes' acquisition of Elizabeth I marks a historical irony. In the early 1560s, the very mad king Erik XIV of Sweden tried desperately to marry her. He sent her his portrait by Steven van Herwijck [Gripsholm Castle], and had his ambassadors shower the populace of London with gold coins in a bid to win popular support. That plan didn't work, because the coins turned out to be fake. Erik was later deposed, and poisoned by a bowl of pea soup.

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