The Elizabethan Image An Introduction to English Portraiture, 1558–1603 Roy Strong

Publication date:
24 Aug 2021
Yale University Press
224 pages: 254 x 190mm
230 color illus.
Sales territories:

The new paperback edition of Roy Strong's popular introduction to Elizabethan portraiture

Written for the general reader, Roy Strong’s popular introduction to Elizabethan portraiture synthesizes scholarship and research on this subject into a concise introduction to the Elizabethan aesthetic. Strong surveysthe entirety of Elizabeth I’s reign from the Procession Picture to the Rainbow Portrait (1600–1602). A range of social aspects of Elizabethan portraiture are explored, such as patronage, symbolic self-fashioning, Elizabethan pageantry and melancholic humor. Strong reveals the Elizabethan approach to portraiture, while demonstrating a new way to look at these paintings. From celebrated portraits of the Queen and paintings of knights and courtiers, to works depicting an aspiring 'middle class’, Strong presents a detailed and authoritative examination of one of the most fascinating periods of British art.

Roy Strong is a historian, a writer, a broadcaster and a leading authority on Elizabethan portraiture. He was director of the National Portrait Gallery from 1967 until 1973 and of the Victoria and Albert Museum from 1974 until 1984.

“Britain’s great Renaissance man – in the sense both that the Renaissance is his period, and that he can turn his hand to anything – appears as spring-chickenish as he is inexhaustible. His 43rd book, The Elizabethan Image, is published this month, and its sequel, The Stuart Image, is already being written – Hannah Betts, Telegraph

“There is no better person to introduce this period afresh and to convey its richness and complexity, with the aid of the magnificent illustrations that run through this book” —Frances Spalding, Daily Mail (Book of the Week)

“[A] lavish production [. . .] Strong has always had an instinctive feel for, and understanding of, the Elizabethan mindset and aesthetic. This book is no exception — and is particularly good on the ways in which the upwardly mobile used portraiture to signal their social ascent. Learned yet accessible, The Elizabethan Image provides a rich overview of the portraiture of the period which will appeal to fans of Strong's original publications as well as to a new generation of readers” — Elizabeth Goldring, Spectator

 “Engaging overview, in portraiture, of a rich period of English history.” —The Bookseller

 “Strong returns to his specialist subject in this sumptuously illustrated book” —Apollo Magazine (Off The Shelf)

“An account rich in biographical detail”— Matthew Dennison, World of Interiors

“When an academic with such a distinguished track record as Roy Strong's publishes a new work in the field to which he has already contributed so much, it is an important event –particularly when the publisher also has a history of producing sumptuously illustrated books. Indeed, the result is a book delightful both to read and to look at, in which text and image support one another in an ideal manner” —Paul Flux, Albion

 “Thorough, but never exhausting, this is an authoritative and comprehensive interpretation that provides a wealth of historical insight as well as artistic vision and presentation” — Henry Malt, The Artist

“While many of Strong’s previous publications were beautiful artefacts, this one surpasses them all” — Helen Hackett, TLS

“[Strong] returns to his first love, revealing that he has kept up with all the developments in modern scholarship. The result is a sumptuous, beautifully illustrated volume [. . .] A book to treasure” —A.N.Wilson, Spectator (Books Of The Year)

“This beautiful book opens up to a wide audience a world of emblem and allegory, political manoeuvrings and religious conflict, serpents, sea monsters, and armillary spheres [. . .] In The Elizabethan Image Strong integrates a lifetime’s work with a synthesis of recent research by others, and the book will serve as an essential introduction to Elizabethan portraiture for many years to come”Juliet Carey, Apollo Magazine

CHOICE Outstanding Academic Titles, 2020