The Coronation Miniature of Elizabeth I 1559

The Coronation Miniature shows a completely different hand at work than Hilliard’s. This is approximately the size of the original (Private Collection). Elizabeth is every inch the Virgin Queen, with her vibrant red-gold tresses rippling across her shoulders and down her back. Her robes carry the Tudor Rose, are lined with ermine – another symbol of virginity and the orb is set with a tiny diamond in the centre of the cross. Erna Auerbach, writing back in the 1950s, described this as being painted in the style of Hilliard, but he would have been only eleven or so years old in 1558 and the majority of art historians believe that this is the work of Levina Teerlinc. In the accounts showing the settling of various debts under Mary’s Will, there are two entries which caught my eye. Robert Brandon, the queen’s goldsmith, is repaid approximately £1500 in round figures and immediately beneath him the name Levina Teerlinc appears, and she is paid £150, which is the amount she should have received for her position as limner. I was unable to find any entries for payment to her during the reign of Mary, which is how I came to this conclusion. Dr Strong identified her as the artist of the Crampe Ring Manuscript held in the Muniment Room of Westminster Abbey, and it is generally considered that Teerlinc painted the Accession P of 1553 so it is quite possible that Mary continued to use her services as limner, but did not realise that the annuity had to be renewed on her accession. A document in the National Archives dated October 1559, in Latin, confirms Teerlinc in her position as limner and makes this a lifetime annuity of £40.


Melanie Taylor was born in Pinner, England in 1953 and brought up on the Channel Island of Jersey. On leaving school she attended the local secretarial college. With secretarial skills learned, London beckoned and Melanie returned to England. After marriage, children and divorce, in 1999 she saw an advert for part-time degrees at Kingston University in her local newspaper and enrolled to study The History of Art, Architecture & Design, graduating in 2005. Redundancy and an inheritance gave her the luxury of being able to study full-time for her Master of Arts degree in Medieval & Tudor Studies at the University of Kent, Canterbury. Melanie now lives in Surrey and lectures in art and social history.

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