This powerful lesson on Tudor portraits as propaganda gives pupils the chance to appreciate that things aren’t always what they seem. Elizabeth wanted to be shown in a particular light as she grew older. Can the children explain why? There’s more to it than vanity alone! To bring this alive use the Mantle of the Expert approach. Pupils have to send advice to a hapless portrait painter who has been thrown in the Tower for not making his portraits flattering enough! Can they save him?

Learning objectives

  • children understand that Elizabeth I ruled a long time and that towards the end of her reign she controlled her image more tightly e.g. by using pouncing
  • they are able to grasp that portrait painters created an image of Elizabeth that was not necessarily as she was
  • they know that portrait painters flattered her
  • More able: understand that the monarch had to show power and that she used portraits as form of propaganda, especially in the 1590s when she ordered portraits to be painted in a particular way – pouncing.

NB You may like to add slides to the PowerPoint with full portraits of Elizabeth I.  Those provided on the accompanying PowerPoint presentation

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