The Armada Portrait

Image for The Armada Portrait The Armada Portrait

Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603)

The Armada Portrait, c.1588.  Attributed to George Gower (c.1546-1596).

 

The Armada Portrait, displayed in the Long Gallery, is a must see for visitors to Woburn Abbey. An impressive picture, it is a statement of power and authority with Queen Elizabeth I portrayed as Empress of the world and commander of the seas.

This portrait of Elizabeth I is attributed to George Gower in 1588 and is an oil painting on an oak panel. It is known as 'The Armada Portrait' because it commemorates the great sea battle of 1588 when the English fleet defeated the invading Spanish Armada sent to overthrow Elizabeth. The view of the battle in the two windows behind the Queen conveys messages of Elizabeth's victory. 

Symbolism

This is probably the most iconic portrait of Elizabeth the Virgin Queen (and is one of three versions in existence). Her hand is firmly on the globe and the Imperial crown reflects her equality with the Holy Roman Emperor and her status as Empress of the world, whilst the mermaid hints at her command of the seas. Her dress, in her preferred colours of black and white, also proclaims her rank and is covered with her favourite gems and precious pearls from the sea, a sign of virginity.

The Long Gallery

The Long Gallery is a space that served several purposes. It could be used for displaying collections of art and for exercise by walking up and down the room when the weather discouraged a visit to the gardens. It is still used by the family when entertaining guests. 

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Events & Exhibitions

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Oakley House Doll's House

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New for 2016, visitors to Woburn Abbey can now peek behind the curtains of a wonderful, historic doll’s house. Beautifully furnished and skilfully made by members of the Russell family at the beginning of the 20th century.
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Bee Walk

Discover the importance of attracting bees to your garden and, more importantly, how to do so.
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Garden Safari Week

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Calling all Garden Explorers! Come and join us on our Garden Safari this summer holiday.
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Summer of Sports Trails

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Celebrate a summer of sports with us at Woburn Abbey and Gardens. We have delved into our archives and created interesting displays of historic sporting items and photographs related to Woburn Abbey and the Russell family.
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Family Sundays: First weekend of every month

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Spend some quality family time in Woburn Abbey Gardens and let the children explore and get creative.
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Evening Tours - Parkland and Gardens

New for 2016 - experience the grounds of Woburn Abbey in a whole new light on this exclusive out-of-hours tour of the parkland and gardens.
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Bat Walks

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Take an exclusive tour of the Woburn Abbey Gardens at night and learn about the nocturnal activities of the bats living in the gardens.
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Head Gardener's Guide

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Our Head Gardener will be on hand on selected dates throughout the year to provide free advice and tips on planting and propagation.
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Humphry Repton Study Day

Take an in-depth look at the career of Humphry Repton and what made him such a remarkable landscape gardener.
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tri for life triathlon

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tri for life presents The Woburn Abbey Triathlon. One of the UK’s most loved triathlons, it has become famed for its iconic venue and unrivalled family experience. Highlights of the event include stunning views of The Abbey and deer park, great event village and the closed road cycle route through the picturesque roads surrounding Woburn.
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Pruning Study Day

Explore basic pruning, pruning for shape and technical pruning skills
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Vivaldi's Four Seasons by Candlelight

We are delighted to welcome the Altamira Chamber Orchestra to The Sculpture Gallery in the grounds of Woburn Abbey to perform Vivaldi's Four Seasons by Candlelight, directed by Mr Robert Atchison.
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Off Road Deer Park Tour

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Join the Deer Keepers for a 1.5 hour tour of the Woburn Abbey Deer Park where you will able to get up close to the beautiful deer.
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NSPCC Luxury Gift Fair

The NSPCC Luxury Gift Fair is an annual event and a highlight of the Woburn calendar. Browse over 50 stalls of inspiring gift ideas beautifully displayed in the Woburn Sculpture Gallery. All proceeds from the event tickets will go to the NSPCC.
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NSPCC Luxury Gift Fair Evening Champagne Reception

This exclusive Evening Champagne Reception will be hosted by Her Grace, The Duchess of Bedford. Browse over 50 stalls of inspiring gift ideas whilst enjoying a glass of Champagne and canapés. All proceeds from the event tickets will go to the NSPCC.
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Christmas Flowers with Jonathan Moseley

A masterclass in Christmas flower-arranging with floral expert, Jonathon Moseley.
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A Touch of West End

Woburn's Sculpture Gallery is delighted to welcome back A Touch of West End this December for a fabulous evening of fine dining and musical entertainment.
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Woburn Abbey Garden Show 2017

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After the huge success of the 2016 Garden Show this June we are pleased to announce that tickets can now be purchased for the 8th Woburn Abbey Garden Show taking place on 24th and 25th June 2017. Set against the stunning backdrop of Woburn Abbey, ‘The Gardener’s Garden Show’ offers visitors the best location of any show in the UK, taking place within the 42 acres of Abbey Gardens.