The Rainbow Queen

The Rainbow Queen - Queen Elizabeth I portrait

“…It was painted preseumably when Elizabeth I was already in her sixties, yet depicts her with the smooth face of youth.  Rife with symbols, it is one of the most beautiful and mystical depictions of any monarch.  Note the eyes and ears embedded in the queen’s dress, the coiled snake on her left arm, the rainbow in her right hand, the crescent moon in her crown.  The inscription, NON SINE SOLE IRIS, translates to “No rainbow without the sun.”  The painter of this portrait is unknown (though attributed to everyone from Robert Peale, Isaac Oliver, and Marcus Gheeraerts II), which adds to its delicious mystery….”

Phantasmaphile

Queen E the first was steeped in magic. So odd it is not really portrayed in any of the movies about her. Her close friend, spy and confidante was a major magician and gifted astrologer-alchemist. Dr John Dee‘s code name for his espionage was 007. Yes, true. Ian Fleming was being a smart arse when he gave his James Bond character the same code name.

18 thoughts on “The Rainbow Queen

  1. my first thought was: that’s a rainbow???? looks grey to my eyes…

    maybe that’s what you need the magic for.

  2. Lovely painting. Thank you Mystic. Something about it reminds me of the modern surrealist painter Remedios Varo.

    Can anyone tell what the little item in her collar is (on her right hand side) and what it symbolises?

    The inscription, NON SINE SOLE IRIS, translates to “No rainbow without the sun.” I wonder if this morphed into the modern saying “No rainbow without rain”?

    • I can’t tell what that little thing is. Looks kinda like a mini peregrine falcon to me, but that’s unlikely…
      Also looks a bit like a ceramic doll’s arm detached from body, which would be really cool, but even more unlikely.

    • A bit of zooming and it looks like a gauntlet to me. Seriously, it’s trying to work out what the hat represents that’s bothering me. At first I thought some kind of arachnid. I am even imagining I can see some shapes like faces forming in the sheer fabric of her cloak or veil …

  3. I think that little object is a Hindu symbol or similar – I’ve seen it before – an arm with a jewel in the palm – perhaps something to do with Krishna and Arjuna the warrior. I’m not sure tho. The serpent looks Indian too as do the eyes on the dress ………..

    • i thought a falconer’s glove. You know, for the bird to alight. Falconry was an aristocrat’s pastime, and the falcon is a hunter, lethal and loyal, and beautiful in its high flight. It symbolises also exceptional perception, from its accurate aim and broad vista. Thus, exalted the person who can master the falcon.

  4. I think we can see where Beatrice and Eugenie got their taste in hats -_-
    It is a beautiful painting – lots to look at for sure. Have only just re-watched Cate Blanchett’s two Elizabeth films and can just imagine her character actually wearing something like that.

  5. as mentioned somewhere I have had some spooky past life stuff to do with around her time and something close to the court/church. Love Queen E the original. Didn’t know that about her. Interesting indeed. I get the strongest chills walking around the tower to the other side of the bridge when I was living in London. its all still there.

  6. Pingback: Magical Nowness | Mystic Medusa

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