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. 

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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. 

Events & Exhibitions

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Carriage Tours with Afternoon Tea

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Step back in time at Woburn Abbey with a horse drawn carriage tour along the tracks used by the Dukes of Bedford since the 17th century. This unique, unforgettable experience begins with welcome refreshments and a fascinating talk about Woburn's bygone era.
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Woburn Abbey Garden Show 2020

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Celebrating the intrinsic relationship between humans and horticulture, the theme for this year’s Garden Show is The Plant Connection. Taking place on Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th June 2020 in beautifully landscaped gardens, the show promises to be the highlight of the horticulturalists’ calendar.
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Woburn Abbey Garden Show - VIP Enclosure Upgrade

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VIP Enclosure Tickets have now sold out.
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Special Offer for Morgan Sports Car Club Members

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Woburn Abbey Garden Show is delighted to offer Morgan Sports Car Club members a special Group Rate which includes Fast Track entry via the Deer Park, privileged parking area within the show site and breakfast.
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Off Road Deer Park Tours

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