The Armada Portrait

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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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Père David's Deer From Beijing to Woburn and Back

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Celebrate the historic return of Père David's Deer to China. 30 years ago 18 deer from the Woburn herd were reintroduced into their native habitat. The herd has grown to the thousands. Come and learn their fascinating story.
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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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Peeling Back The Years: Chinese Wallpaper

See how the wallpapers at Woburn illustrate the changing style of Chinese wallpapers, and explore how they were made, sold and hung.
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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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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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Evening Tours - Parkland and Gardens

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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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Let's Face the Music with Lance

Woburn's Sculpture Gallery is delighted to welcome Lance Ellington of BBC One's Strictly Come Dancing fame for a night of musical entertainment and fine dining.
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Woburn Abbey Garden Show 2016

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Now in its 7th year, the Woburn Abbey Garden Show is an important diary date for many keen gardeners. 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.
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Introduction to Garden Photography

A great opportunity to learn the basics of digital photography
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Woburn Abbey Gardens Tour and Lunch

Enjoy the splendour of the Woburn Abbey Gardens through the seasons with our 2016 private garden tours and lunches at The Sculpture Gallery.
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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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Looking for a brand new summer holiday activity? Come along and join the fun! We are looking for bold and daring explorers to join our expedition through the Woburn Abbey Gardens, learning about plants, bugs and animals as they go. If you're aged between 7 and 12 and are looking for a week of exciting adventures - this is the place for you!
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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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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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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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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.