King Edward VI and the Pope and Elizabeth I: Drawing Parallels in Tudor Group Portraits and Texts, Chelsea Swales
For over fifty years, ‘King Edward VI and the Pope or An Allegory of the Reformation under Edward VI’ has posed a mystery. The anonymous painting was originally thought to have been created during the reign of
Edward VI—a time in which parallels were being drawn between the young king and Josiah, the boy king of Judah found in Old Testament scriptures. Recent studies, however, have concluded that the image was
produced during the reign of his sister, Queen Elizabeth I. During this time, William Leigh was preaching about the parallels between Elizabeth and other Old Testament patriarchs. Leigh would later publish these
sermons under the title ‘Queene Elizabeth, paraleld in her princely vertues, with Dauid, Iosua, and Hezekia’ in 1612. In light of the recent dating of this painting and the dedicatory epistle of Leigh’s published sermons, this article will seek to investigate the relevance of this image and the Tudor tradition of parallelism to Elizabeth’s reign.