Susan Derges has created four new photographic works in direct response to the Armada Portrait of Elizabeth I. The artist captures the wake of boats, travelling at night and the reflections of the sun, moon and stars on the water. The images are layered with the mythological figures of the constellations, believed to influence life on earth.
In 2016 the iconic Armada Portrait of Elizabeth I, commemorating the failed invasion of England by the Spanish Armada, was acquired for the nation. The painting is on permanent public display in the Queen’s Presence Chamber in the Queen’s House, on the site of the original Greenwich Palace, which was the birthplace of Elizabeth I.
Elizabeth I was often associated in both poetry and paintings with images of the moon, symbolising the purity of the virgin moon goddess, Cynthia. The moon and the sun are responsible for the rise and fall of the tides, governing fragile vessels travelling the oceans. The title of the display is taken from Shakespeare’s Sonnet, 107
The Mortal Moon hath her eclipse endur’d
And the sad augurs mock their own presage