A 16th century portrait of Queen Elizabeth I in Parliament robes has taken centre stage at the reopening of Dover Museum.
The painting, called “Elizabeth with the Cardinal and Theological Virtues” was purchased by the Corporation of Dover in 1598 for 25 shillings.
It is one of very few known portraits purchased for a civic setting and was displayed in Dover Town Hall as evidence of the town’s loyalty to the Crown.
Elizabeth I, also known as Good Queen Bess, reigned from 1558 to 1603 although very few of her subjects would have ever seen her in person.
The portrait shows her as a young woman but was painted in the 40th year of her reign.
Cllr MJ Holloway, Dover District Council cabinet member for tourism, said: “We’re delighted to welcome visitors back to Dover Museum to see our remarkable collections telling the history of Dover and the wider district.
“The portrait of Queen Elizabeth I is one of the finest paintings in the Museum’s collections and a fitting centrepiece of our re-opening as the country prepares to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II in 2022.”
Dover Museum, now in Market Square, was founded in 1836 and is one of the oldest museums in Kent.
It reopened on May 17 following the third lifting of the present coronavirus lockdown.
Visits now need to be booked online so that visitor numbers can be managed to maintain social distancing.
Read more: all the latest news from Dover