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Armada portrait - fragile beauty and contemporary interpretations

Next month, the Queen's House, Greenwich (part of Royal Museums Greenwich) will host a new work by the artist Matt Collishaw inspired by the Armada Portrait.

This important painting of Elizabeth I has been recently restored by the conservator Elizabeth Hamilton Eddy following fund-raising by Art Fund to keep it in the UK.

At our January forum on 'Art and Cities' held at RIBA, discussions took place around the funding of art and how the UK's art heritage is closely bound with the modern tourism economy.

The contemporary artist Matt Collishaw (in the image above) has looked at the highly detailed finery of Elizabeth's dress which in his mind suggests the textures and fragile beauty seen in butterfly wings.

The Armada Portrait according to the Queen's House, shows Elizabeth at the height of her power but for Collishaw the life and beauty of the ageing Queen are as fleeting as butterflies and flowers, all captured in the moment by the artist.

Collishaw's photographic work of burning flowers and crushed butterflies is being use to encourage visitors to look at the Armada Portrait in new ways. Collishaw's work - an artist regularly shown at Blain Southern in Hanover Square - is part of a three year HLF-funded programme of events and exhibitions related to the portrait and Elizabeth I.

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