An End Which Preceded a Beginning: A comparative study into the incorposation of allegory in a posthumouse portrait of Queen Elizabeth I and Aemilia Lanyer's dedicatory poem to Queen Anna of Denmark by Claire Ashwell
This short study attempts to examine how and why allegory was incorporated into two pieces of material culture that were created c. 1611, a pivotal moment in English history when England was still acclimatising to the end of the House of Tudor and the birth of the House of Stuart. A visit to Corsham Court provided the inspiration for this study as a most unusual posthumous portrait of Elizabeth I (1533–1603) can be seen in the State Bedroom. Unlike the images of Elizabeth painted whilst she was alive, this composition includes Time and the Skeleton of Death. In contrast the dedicatory poem to the new Queen Consort, Anna of Denmark (1574–1619), wife of James 1 (1566–1625), written by the poet Aemilia Lanyer (1569–1645), includes veiled figurative language which conveyed her desire to gain patronage from Queen Anna. Even though the portrait and painting shared some allegorical traits, the adaptability of this trope led to significant and varying interpretations.