Unica Semper Avis: The role of emblems in Elizabethan culture, using the Phoenix as a case study in Nicholas Hilliard’s Phoenix portrait and in the Chequers ring by Mariona Ponce Bochaca
The iconic image of Queen Elizabeth I was an essential part of her authority. The myth of the Virgin Queen was deliberately created to divert the attention from her body natural and sustain such authority as she aged. This article explores the role of emblems in Elizabethan culture and, more specifically, in the creation of the royal image, using the Phoenix as a case study. It analyses the influence of Nicholas Hilliard’s Phoenix portrait in the re-fashioning of the Queen’s image in the 1570s, and the relationship between emblem, context and meaning by comparing it to the enigmatic Chequers ring.