The Armada Portrait voted favourite Art Funded work of 2016

  • 20 December 2016

The Armada Portrait of Elizabeth I has been voted the favourite Art Fund-supported work of 2016, overcoming competition from works by Dieric Bouts the Elder, Gabriel Orozco, and Oscar Rejlander.

The stunning portrait was saved for the nation in July following our public appeal, along with a £7.4m Heritage Lottery Fund grant. The appeal saw over 8,000 donations from the public and contributions from several foundations, along with Art Fund’s £1m grant and a contribution of £400,000 from Royal Museums Greenwich. The total amount raised was £10.3m.

The portrait commemorates the failed invasion of England by the Spanish Armada in 1588. One of the definitive representations of the English Renaissance, it encapsulates the creativity, ideals and ambitions of the Elizabethan era and is among the most famous images of British history - an inspiration for countless portrayals of Elizabeth I.

The stunning painting triumphed in an eclectic shortlist that featured works from across the centuries, with Gabriel Orozco’s garden for the South London Gallery coming in second place, and pioneering 19th century photographic works by Oscar Gustav Rejlander at the National Portrait Gallery coming in third.

Thousands of people voted for in the poll, with the Armada Portrait receiving 31% of the final total. One lucky entrant won a lifetime National Art Pass worth £1,500.

The top five works were:

1. The Armada Portrait of Elizabeth I, c1590
English school, Royal Museums Greenwich
The portrait commemorates the most famous conflict of Elizabeth’s reign (1558-1603) and was purported to have been commissioned by Sir Francis Drake.

2. South London Gallery garden, 2016
Gabriel Orozco, South London Gallery
Gabriel Orozco's garden at the South London Gallery was created in collaboration with horticulturists from the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew.

3. Photographic works, c1862
Oscar Gustav Rejlander, National Portrait Gallery
The large-format prints, several of them previously unknown, are made from the original negatives and illustrate Rejlander's pioneering style.

4. Spirit of the Carnival, 1983
Tam Joseph, Wolverhampton Art Gallery
Spirit of the Carnival reflects the uneasy relationship that existed between black communities and the police in Britain during the early 1980s, particularly at the annual Notting Hill Carnival.

5. St Luke Drawing the Virgin and Child, c1440-1475
Dieric Bouts the Elder, Bowhill House and Country Estate & The Bowes Museum
Depicting a rare subject, Dieric Bouts' stunning painting includes portrays an ageing St. Luke and a detailed landscape beyond.

Tags: weve-helped-to-buy